By Jeremy McDonald
HOOD RIVER, Ore.– Call it fatigue from sitting on a bus all morning into the early afternoon traveling up to Horizon Christian in Hood River to play Heppner in the 2A State Semi-Final Round.
But nonetheless, when they needed a spark-plug, Gervais got it from their bench in their 58-24 victory over the Mustangs Wednesday afternoon.
“It feels really great to come off the bench and bring up the energy and put a hold on the fouling, we had some foul trouble there,” said Olivia Boyd.
Boyd contributed with her length to go with Izzy Boyd’s aggression. Sofia Contreras’ vocal leadership on the bench translated onto the court as the Junior led the team with 15 points. All leading the bench charge in a game in which it was 9-6 midway through the first quarter.
Contreras pointed towards a saying that Head Coach Kyle Buse has said before. The starters bring the experience, the bench brings the energy and the fire. In practice, the Seniors and the younger athlete’s in the Cougars program go to battle and it’s paying dividends here when it counts in the postseason.
“The bench, we’re ready. We’re prepped and we’re ready to make the Seniors proud because it is their final season and we’re going for that Championship,” said Contreras. “I feel like us on the bench, we’re doing it for the starters. We’re doing it for the team. We just love the game.”
Slowly Gervais began to pull away. 11-6 after one quarter. 26-14 at the half. By the fourth quarter start, it was 43-18.
The Cougs, in their two playoff games going into their Semi-Final game Friday, have outscored their opposition 121-36 as they head to Redmond.
“I think now the team realizes we’re playing at a higher-level and now we just gotta push it. I think we realize that we can’t settle. We gotta keep pushing it and once we create a big enough gap, don’t even stop there and just keep going,” Contreras. “I feel like the bench, we got up and realized we got to start this game up because I felt like it didn’t start until the second quarter and even further than that.
“We always start off slow. We always start off slow and we don’t want that. We need to start from the beginning and I think the last game we played all the way through. This game was a little bit of a slow start, but then we picked it up.”
Katie Hansen and Celi Vasquez each scored eight points for Gervais and Lilly Welburn contributed seven points in the victory.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald