By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– It’s was one if those opening halves that would give any coach an aneurysm.
By the end of the first half of North Marion’s 39-32 win over Madras, North Marion’s Katie Ensign missed three lay-ins in the closing seconds that could have pulled the Huskies to within two of Madras entering halftime down 21-17, capping a half that featured turnovers and rebounding woes by the Huskies against the White Buffaloes zone-defense. Both teams realistically missed offensive opportunities that could’ve separated the two squads in the close game.
For North Marion Head Coach Trevor Bodine, the Huskie Head Coach was not happy about the missed lay-ins as his squad went 8-for-28 in lay-ins, leaving points on the table as they won their 13th-straight game in an eye-opening experience.
“In the first four minutes, we missed seven lay-ups and uncontested. So that’s 14 points right there that we’re not getting and they come down and we can’t defend the three and they hit three’s, and now we’re behind the eight-ball,” said Bodine. “We just got sped up. That’s what they do, that’s their style. They try to speed you up and make mistakes and we made them.”
The press and occasional trap-game by the White Buffalo had rushed North Marion into making turnovers and committing uncharacteristic fouls, leading into four three-pointers in the first half. Three coming from Jiana Smith-Francis, Smith-Francis scored 11 of her 13 points in the first half.
With the target on their backs, the Huskies settled in a bit during the second half as Mya Hammack tied the game at 32 with 4:29 left in the game. With a two-game lead over both Madras and Gladstone, the Huskies playing the Gladiators Friday on the road, North Marion didn’t want to leave it to risk surrendering a game at this point in the league season.
“It was really helpful and as Trevor said, we needed this (eye-opener). We’ve been cruising a little bit and this helped us,” said Mya Hammack of the game. “Everyone’s trying to come after us. We just need to step up and play our best game every time because anyone can win on any day.”
Hammack finished with a game-high 17 points and converted a steal to the go-ahead lay-in with 2:53 left in the game. The Huskies finishing the game on a 7-0 run, pulling off their 15th win of the year in ugly game fashion.
“I think this was good for us,” starts Bodine. “We’ve been kind of coasting. Big win against Molalla, I think we felt we were getting complacent and a little bit too full of ourselves. So I think this was good. I think we needed a tough grinder, we got Gladstone coming up at their place and that’s going to be just as tough.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald