By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– You couldn’t help but to think ‘hit your free throws’ as it came down to them for Gervais in their 41-39 win over Sutherlin. A win that handed the Bulldogs just their second loss in their last 24 games as the Cougars capped a relatively ugly game by both teams on the second day of the Crusader Classic.
“It just shows that we’re ready and that when we get down in these droughts that we can push through and compete,” Sofia Contreras said. “It definitely shows how bad we want it.”
The not-so-upstart Cougars went toe-to-toe with the established Sutherlin squad Friday afternoon on New Year’s Eve as neither team could’ve found their groove. Gervais built the initial lead, turning a brief 12-11 deficit into a 23-17 halftime lead.
The Bulldogs evened the game at 27 in the third before the Cougars pulled ahead going to the fourth, but couldn’t build a lead as they did going into the halftime break as Sutherlin came ready to play in the second half. Playing stronger and sharper than they did during the initial 16 minutes of the game.
“We really demonstrated a lot of mental toughness finishing those last couple of minutes. I was nervous with how close it was; we did a really good job. I’m really proud of us,” Izzy Boyd said. “It was really big when it came down to it. All of those free throws and ‘And-one’s’, those were really important when it came down to it.”
Boyd led Gervais with 15 points with Contreras contributing another 12. Contreras’ final three points were the deciding points at the line as the Cougs found a way to advance to the Crusader Classic Green Bracket Championship game against Country Christian Saturday at 3:30pm.
“It was definitely nerve-racking, but it was just so fun…it was a team effort. I’m still so amped up, it was an awesome game. It was fun to play,” Contreras said. “We’ll definitely get some rest and hopefully we’ll be relaxed before. We’re all definitely amped up and ready to play them again and get another chance at them.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald