The Banks Braves proved their deserving of the No. 5 spot with a 25-13, 25-14, 25-11 win over the Tribe.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior middle blocker Abby Kessi does her best to tap the ball past the outstretched hands of Banks' Megan Bunn, who was a monster for the Braves up front. The No. 5 Banks Braves showed why they may contend for a state volleyball title on Tuesday evening, traveling to Scappoose and silencing the fans in a straight set victory over the Indians. Hope lingered early in the first set as Scappoose (8-9, 4-4 Cowapa) took a 7-1 lead, but no lead is safe against Banks (14-3, 8-0 Cowapa), and the Braves stormed back to win 25-13, 25-14, 25-11 in a game with few positives for the home team.

For the first several minutes, though, Banks looked lost. They struggled to receive serves, and Scappoose made short work of nearly everything thrown at them. Once the Braves woke up, it was a far different story, and the Tribe fell to pieces.

There were times that some things worked. Scappoose might get a great dig, but the pass would go awry and force a desperate shot into the net. Banks quickly caught the Indians at eight points, and didn't look back. Riding a 19-4 run, the Braves buried the memory of their earlier mistakes and easily took the first set.

The second game left little doubt. Tied at four apiece, Banks pulled away as Scappoose got more and more frustrated. It wasn't all powerful kills from the Braves. A mixture just about everything kept the Tribe guessing, and Banks pounced on every mistake.

By the time the third set rolled around, the fire from head coach Mark Sprenger seemed to have gone out. He and the rest of the team sat quietly on the bench, looking for something good to take from the imminent loss. A few of the girls smiled and hi-fived one another to take their minds off of the game, but most sat sullenly waiting for the final score.

“I don't think we ever give up,” said Sprenger. “At some point you know your serve receive is in the tank, and we just try to do some things and make some changes.”

Sprenger made those changes, but nothing really worked. The Indians moved a player backward to have four across the back line, hoping to receive serves better, but Banks continued to steam ahead. Afterward, Sprenger was as sullen as before, and searched to find something the team had gained from playing one of the state's best squads.

“I wouldn't say there were too many positive things that happened for us tonight,” he said.

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