By Jeremy McDonald
STAYTON, Ore.– Mannahouse Christian Academy had did their homework on Stayton.
Their Box-and-one wasn’t something that the Eagles were expecting as the Lions tried to take out KJ Nyquist with their ‘one’s defender on her and playing a zone with everyone else.
For a young team and a first-year head coach that has seen game-winners and big sound wins, it was an opportunity to get better as they pulled off a 46-25 win over their 2A opposition in the SCTC opener Thursday night.
“With our kids, everytime we step on the court, we see something new,” said Head Coach Wendi Nyquist. “The most important thing is that we learn from it, we adjust and we continue to move forward and we put that in our pocket…so if we see it again, we’ll be ready and that’s how we’re taking every game is ‘how can we get better today?’”
How can we get better today with a young team has helped the Eagles to a 7-2 start to the season with Karlee Tyler their lone height at nearly six-foot.
While their athleticism led by KJ Nyquist showed glimpses, i.e. in the first quarter when they rallied from 11-2 down to pull within four by quarters end 15-11, Tyler helped spark Stayton’s rally further with eight second quarter points.
They were patient yes, but by halftime the slow start and being patient was crucial in not hitting the panic button, the Eagles stormed to a 28-15 halftime lead and carried that into the third quarter, taking advantage of the Lions Awek De Piok’s absence in the second quarter to start the run. Stayton led as much as 36-15 before the Lions Emiliee Owen snapped the then 25-0 run with a shot at the 4:15 mark of the third quarter.
“We were together at the beginning, but we weren’t as together until the third quarter when we knew we had it,” said Tyler. “The team really helped me with those open passes that I was making, they really saw me and they knew where those open spots were for me (and) the team for those open shots.”
Tyler finished with 14 points for Stayton, Miley Mitchell scored 12 points (four three-pointers), as the Eagles led 41-21 after three quarters against the fifth-ranked Mannahouse Christian team. Keeping their composure was the answer for sure to the question of how they can get better, and the Eagles showed their composure through the adversity of the defense in front of them.
“We practice like that all the time. We just got to keep our composure when against it,” said Mitchell. “It was hard, they were a good team. They have a good defense and offense, but we got it.”
The Lions, who play Warrenton Friday at noon at Stayton, saw Owen finished with 13 points and De Piok finished with eight in the game. Stayton plays Ridgeview at 6pm Friday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald