By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– The expectation was to come out strong every game.
But 48-11 1:14 left in the third quarter strong? Unfathomable.
Gervais knew in their 67-28 win over Yamhill-Carlton that the Tigers were going to come out strong and they needed to do the same. And behind their defense, offense and their speed the Cougars used those three to not win the rebounding game, but finish their opportunities on their other end.
“We came out strong, we started talking and we knew what we had to do. We had to shut (Yamhill’s Aliysa Seibel) down and just play good defense on her which we did a pretty good job,” said Gervais’ Celi Vasquez.
Seibel, who scored 18 points Monday night at Willamina in the Tigers 31-26 loss to the Bulldogs, was held to six points in the game.
“It was huge. That was our goal to shut her down and we worked together,” said Vasquez, who finished with 19 points and four three-pointers.
The 3-0 start doesn’t surprise the team that finished second in the Tri-River Conference last season and reached the 2A State playoffs, having starting the 2018-2019 season 5-1, it’s an expectation as they look to make a push for Pendleton this year.
Little spurts during the first half of Wednesday’s game with turnovers and fouls during the half are fixable as they travel to Blanchet Catholic Friday evening in Salem before starting league Monday at Chemawa.
“We need to continue to work our defensive helping, so we’re not reaching with our hands,” said Gervais Head Coach Kyle Buse. “And just offensively, we just need to be able to run something in the half-court. Even though the end-result of back-end lay-ins were pretty to see, we got the basket…it wasn’t nesscarly good and it got a little sloppy at the end when our bench came in. If we could clean up those little things, I think we could play a little bit better moving forward.”
Free throws, which were a struggle last season for the Cougars, were falling for Gervais Wednesday. In the first half they went 13-for-17 at the line in building a then 37-11 lead by the halftime break as they went 20-for-28 in the win.
“It was good, we work on them at practice every day and we know we have to do to get better,” said Vasquez.
Cheyenne Kelly had five points for Yamhill-Carlton as they host Waldport Wednesday, Gervais freshman Izzy Boyd contributed 13 points off the bench and Cougar teammate Bella Vasquez added 11 points against the Tigers.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald