By Jeremy McDonald
COOS BAY, Ore.– Stayton gotten to the fourth/sixth-place game Saturday morning after eliminating the third-seeded Marshfield Pirates Friday, outpacing the tenth-seed the Eagles were seeded out of the regular season.
Rising to the challenge faced with and came with elimination day following their tough defeat to rival Cascade on Thursday.
“Yesterday was great, after a blowout loss to Cascade we faced with a lot of adversity for our seniors. But we bounced back good,” Gavin Berning said of the win.
Jacob Axmaker led Stayton with 24 points in the win Friday, but was held to nine points Saturday morning as the Eagles faced Philomath for the third time this season.
Stayton hung around the first ten minutes of the game, battling through Day 3 fatigue being down 17-15 to the Warriors. But they couldn’t find a groove as Philomath turned momentum into their favor over the final six minutes of the half, leading 27-17.
Momentum that the Eagles couldn’t swing back into their favor in the second half as Stayton couldn’t overcome the deficit as they took sixth following the 49-34 defeat at Marshfield High School
“It’s a pretty good feeling, we’ve been working hard all season. Obviously we wanted first, sixth-place isn’t too bad. We were underrated all season,” Axmaker said. “We kept it close in the beginning and then things began to fall apart about the middle of the second quarter. We had a couple of bad plays that kind of took us out of it.”
But as this experience helped an Axmaker back his freshman year with Stayton, this opportunity has helped the returners like a Garett Callsen and a Berning who return in the Winter as the Eagles look to make another trip to the Elite Eight in 2023.
“This loss hurts, sixth isn’t kinda good so this kind of hurts. This drives us to come into next season to do better than sixth next year,” Berning said.
Berning finished with three points, two rebounds and two blocks. Callsen led Stayton with 12 points and seven rebounds in 31 minutes of play. The Eagles wrapped up the season 19-7.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald