Winning The Battle

By Jeremy McDonald

SALEM, Ore.–  The calendar says September.  The intensity was that of November.  Instead of six-girls on the court on a typical night, there were four.

A three-set battle followed where a champion was crowned in the first session of the NPJ Quads in favor of the Fantastic Four 25-24, 24-25, 7-5.

The Fantastic Four, featuring Santiam Christian’s Emily Bourne, Wilsonville’s Clarissa Klein, Sliverton’s Alexis Huary and Kennedy’s Haley Arritola were up against Sweet Home in the Championship finale with the second Quad session starting Wednesday.

The Huskies overcame having to replace Graci Zanona, who dislocated her elbow earlier in September as Central Linn’s Josie Nealon stepped in for the Sweet Home Senior as they won the semi-final bout to meet up with the Fantastic Quartet.

“With either one of them it would have been a great game,” said the Huskies Bailee Hartstook of Zanona and Nealon.

Sweet Home and the Fantastic Four squad’s featured seven of eight girls who have played deep into the post season in 2019 (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

With the expectation of Huary, who just started her freshman year at Silverton this Fall, seven of the eight girls on the court had State Finals experience.  For Huary, who was setting up for power hitters in Bourne and Klein on the outside, it’s hard to imagine watching her that she was a frosh on the court as she stepped up her game to the environment around her.

“It wasn’t really hard at all because all of our are really fun and really competitive, so I was just having fun,” said Huary.

The rules all along were two-sets, first to 25 no matter if it’s by one or 25.  Klein had a four-serve streak going as the Four took a 24-23 lead on Sweet Home, the Western Oregon-commit in Hartstook tied it up to snap the rally.  But the Oregon State-Commit in Bourne would ice the first set 25-24 win with a monstrous kill.

Bourne and Klein had the hard fastballs, the Huskies saved them.  Sweet Home answered, Arritola and Huary led the scooping defensive saves.  It’s what you would expect in a Forest Grove, a Ridgeview, a Hillsboro battling for the Blue Trophy at the end of the road.

“It was good, it was more consistent play and not all over the place.  I thought the game was really intense throughout the whole game,” said Hartstook. “I felt like we played really well together, we just had more errors than them.  But overall, I thought it was a good game.”

Baylee Hartstook (left) goes up for a block on Emily Bourne’s tip during the second set of the squads three-set battle Monday night at The Hoop (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

Sweet Home built a 17-14 lead on the Fantastic Four, but the dynamic quartet mounted a little bit of a rally late in the set before the Huskies shut the door in the set, taking it 25-24.  But there was momentum that

“That momentum carried over into the third game and so that helped us a little more than when we came into the second game,” Huary said.  “And I think that’s probably why we won that game; it could’ve gone either way.  They were a great team.”

Both squads went back-and-forth in the third set.  It was even ten-points in at five apiece.  The difference in the 7-5 set for the Fantastic Four was a Bourne service ace and a hitting error by Sweet Home that sealed the victory Monday night at The Hoop, closing out the first wave of quad games.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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