By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Gervais sought out and succeeded in getting revenge on Country Christian Saturday afternoon to close out the Crusader Classic. Defeating the 1A Cougars 54-51 to win the Girls Green Bracket.
But it wasn’t easy. Nor has been their whole preseason. It’s just the way the 2A Cougar Head Coach Kyle Buse wanted it to be as they re-enter Tri-River Conference play 10-2 on the year.
In Saturday’s game, a rematch from December 6 where Country Christian defeated Gervais 41-38, it was a back-and-forth game. Gervais rallied from seven-down to take a 22-21 halftime lead before the 1A Cougars took a 37-32 lead as mental toughness became key as it came down to the final eight minutes of the championship game.
“I think it was definitely good to end on a challenge to go back into the league. We definitely had to be mentally tough, especially when we had two players with four fouls. We really had to hang in there without getting the fouls and had to play as a team,” Olivia Boyd said.
Boyd’s sister Izzy and Sofia Contreras both had four fouls by games end as the younger Boyd in Olivia (12), Josie Schultz (10) and Ava Sellers (14) all scored in double-figures. They had to play efficiently and smart with a short bench, with only seven girls at least the last two games they couldn’t afford to lose anyone to fouls.
“Buse did a pretty good job with the subs. When he saw us getting a little bit tired, he subbed us and sometimes it was just for a minute which is all you need to get that little bit,” Sellers said.
Gervais used a 6-0 run to end the third quarter, taking a 38-37 lead to the fourth. And the 2A Cougars moved their way through the chaos to walk away with the win as Mayra Perez hit an insurance free throw to help seal Gervais’ ninth consecutive win before traveling to Kennedy on Wednesday night.
“We just got to keep up the intensity, mental toughness and not underestimate any opponent that we’ll face,” Sellers said.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald