By Jeremy McDonald
GERVAIS, Ore.– Colton has been a tough challenge for Gervais in past years, throwing monkey wrenches in each of the last two years for the Cougars by splitting their league games.
Entering the second quarter of their 54-31 win in the Tri-River Conference League playoffs, they were an Olivia Haines missed shot from the free-throw line from being down three. But they would take the 9-8 deficit to the Vikings as a shaking off the rust period for the Cougars.
What is strange about those eight Gervais points was that, it’s the most points in the first quarter they’ve scored against Colton this season. The Cougars had defeated the Vikings 47-18 and 34-14 already entering the ‘Win-and-you’re-in’ game for the second automatic qualifier out of the league.
Gervais Head Coach Kyle Buse tipped his hat to Colton in their way of slowing down his squad, but admits that they can’t put up eight points in a quarter against Kennedy on Saturday night with the top-seed out of conference at stake.
“Colton does a good job coming out and getting us out of our rhythm and once we got past that, we settled in, we kept our heads down and kept going,” said Buse. “We got to be able to score, if we can do that consistently. We can’t put up eight points against a Kennedy-team, that’s probably not going to be enough.
“I got a feeling there’s going to be offense and we got to be able to bring out our offense. So we’ll spend tomorrow, working on shooting and do final game prep for them and hopefully come out like the last time we played them.”
The Trojans will be on a similar nine-day lay-off since their game against 3A Rainier last Thursday when the two team’s meet Saturday night at 6pm.
And after their own nine day lay-off and a quarter, a quarter in which Buse said it was a good first quarter against the upcoming Vikings squad across the way despite the score, the Cougars went on a 17-4 run in the second frame to take a 25-13 halftime lead.
“Defensive breakdowns,” Katie Hanson said of the first quarter. “We knew we were doing bad so we just put it together within ourselves like, ‘we need to do better. We can play better than this’ and we started chipping away slowly. We just attacked wherever we could.”
The strategy to slow down Olivia Haines worked as the six-foot sophomore finished with four points in the game. Madie Beguelin scored a team-high 13 points for the Vikings in contrast to the 14 points Bell Vasquez and 13 points Hanson scored for Gervais Thursday night at home.
The Cougars led as much as 22 points in the third quarter before Colton cut it to 15 by the end of the first quarter before Gervais pushed the lead back out to 20-points by games end.
Come Saturday however, it’s going to be important for the Cougs to execute in order to steal the top-seed out of the conference from their next-door neighbors in Kennedy coming up.
“Those kind of games it’s more are we able to execute in the half-court? We just need to come to practice and make sure to focus on our shots. Focus on making our lay-ins, making sure we’re executing our plays the way we’re supposed to,” said Hanson.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald