By Jeremy McDonald
AURORA, Ore.– For a real brief moment in Monday afternoon’s game against Gold Beach, the Panthers had Gervais on their heels in the intense start to the game. The 6-2 lead early on felt closer than the four-point spread at the moment.
But just as intense as the start of the game was, it was the Cougars that quickly found their equilibrium in the chaos and rather quickly separated themselves from Gold Beach. Striking gold with their defense and quickly turning it into points on the offensive side of the court in their 63-12 victory. Advancing to the second-round of the 2A State Playoffs.
“We knew it was going to be tough going into this game because we knew we wanted to move on. We knew we had to play our game and just go out there and play as a team,” said Isabel Contreras. “We turned it on and it was just like that. We all know about our third quarter comebacks but (today) we turned it on from the start and we need to do that every game.”
Tri-River Conference Co-Player of the Year Celi Vasquez led the offensive charge with 14 points, Lilly Welburn contributed 11 points as 11 Gervais ballplayers scored at least a basket in the game. It’s just the start on the trek they are on in hopes to make a run at the State Title coming off of how last season ended in Pendleton.
The only team that is standing in their way now for a chance at the State Title and the final site in Redmond/Sisters will be Heppner. The Mustangs had defeated Vernonia 44-43 to set up the Round of Eight meeting on Wednesday.
“From last year we knew that we had to work harder to get where we wanted to be so we’re working more as a team and came out more as a team. We knew what we had to do to go farther to where we wanted to be,” Vasquez said. “We’ll do what we did today and work as a team and together.”
The time and location have yet to be announced, but will be on Wednesday with the Final Four Friday and Saturday.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald