By Jeremy McDonald
JEFFERSON, Ore.– Free Throws. Got to make them.
Jefferson found themselves hanging on by a thread up 39-36 with 2:32 left in the game against East Linn Christian. Free throws had helped them stay ahead to this point, going 2-for-3 amidst the Eagles rally back into the game.
“It was really nerve-racking because every time we did the court down on (East Linn’s) end, it was like ‘eh’ because they were hitting their shots and we weren’t making strong passes for a while,” said Baylie Campau. “Then we got it back together and we did pretty good.”
The Lions had built a 32-21 lead on East Linn Christian going into the fourth quarter. Breaking the half-court press when they inbounded the ball, found the open pocket in the backcourt zone for open shots.
Cassie Cheever hit four of Jefferson’s five three-pointers. Their success from mid-range and from deep in spurts against the Eagles had eventually opened up their inside game during the second half.
Staying focused compared to the first time the two squads met down at East Linn back on May 27. Slowly hitting their stride as they battled to close out their fourth win-in-a-row.
“We’re starting to play as a team, we’re all stronger with the ball. We’re getting better at breaking the press and not getting stressed out when there is pressure, hit good shots,” Cheever said. “(Defensively) we’re trying to force them to kind of stress themselves out and not put us in a position to foul. It was good, we played really great.”
A 15-7 run had made things interesting with the Lions ahead by three. Cheever pushed the lead to four hitting the front-end of the one-and-one. Campau collected the rebound on the second free throw, was fouled and hit both of her free throws only to follow it up with a steal and lay-up. Increasing the difference to eight with a minute to play.
In total in the fourth quarter, the Lions went 8-for-12 in the final frame from the free throw line and were 11-for-17 in the game as a whole.
“It was great, we lost to East Linn by a great amount so it was great to beat them this time and turn it around. We weren’t giving it all that first time, we were all tired, didn’t feel good and we just kind of gave up after the first half,” Campau said. “But now we decided that we can’t be doing that and making it a habit. It really helped. It felt great knowing you can change it with your head.”
Cheever finished with 17 points, Nashea Wilson had nine and Campau contributed seven. Brooklyn Garber led East Linn with 13 points.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald