Updated: Putnam girls basketball upsets Crook County 74-42 in Class 5A quarterfinals
The Class 5A girls state basketball tournament began with an absolute earthquake when ninth-ranked Crescent Valley upset No. 1 Willamette in the tournament's first game on Thursday, March 10.
Suitably inspired, Putnam's girls decided to create a significant aftershock of their own — the 11th-ranked Kingsmen (the lowest-ranked team in the field) knocked off No. 3 Crook County 74-42 in their quarterfinal matchup at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
"We came in with a lot of confidence," said Putnam sophomore forward Rylee Lemen, who finished with 15 points (on 6 of 12 shooting from the field and a 3 of 5 day at the free throw line), along with five rebounds and two steals. "(It wasn't) like we came here not expecting to win, but knowing that we can. We have the drive."
"I think that the team came out very strong in the beginning which helped motivate the rest of us to not let up," said junior guard Emma McDonald, who finished with 18 points (on 8 of 10 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers), along with four rebounds, one assist and one steal. "We played as a team and we had fun while doing it."
"The key to today's success was our defensive effort," said senior guard Maddie Olma (the team's lone senior), who added 18 points (on 7 of 11 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers and a 2 of 3 day at the foul line), along with six rebounds, six assists, one blocked shot and three steals. "We made them uncomfortable and turn the ball over a lot. … Overall we had a great shooting day and played some solid defense."
With the win — Putnam's sixth straight — the Kingsmen improved to 20-6 overall after finishing second in the Northwest Oregon Conference. Next up, Putnam will face seventh-ranked Springfield — a 29-20 winner over No. 2 Silverton on Thursday — in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Friday, March 11.
The Cowgirls, meanwhile, saw their four-game winning streak snapped and fell to 21-4 after finishing second in the Intermountain Conference. Crook County was led by senior guard Josie Kasberger's 13 points (on 5 of 10 shooting from the field and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds and one assist. Senior post Emma Bales added 10 points (on 3 of 7 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with 11 rebounds and one assist.
The Kingsmen tried to leave the Cowgirls behind early, pushing ahead 19-10 when Lemen hit a free throw with 2 minutes, 19 seconds left in the opening quarter. Crook County battled back within 19-15 on a jumpshot by junior Katelynn Weaver in the quarter's final minute, but the Kingsmen extended their edge to 24-15 on a 3-pointer by junior Kayla Kasubuchi and an Olma steal that set up McDonald's late layin.
Putnam's defense set the tone in the second quarter, keeping the Cowgirls scoreless for the first 3:48 of the period, while at the other end, McDonald tacked on five more points, with her 3-pointer boosting the Kingsmen lead to 32-15 with 4:34 left in the half.
Already in complete control, Putnam saw junior Riley Greenleaf hit a late "three" to give her team a 40-21 edge at the half.
Crook County got no closer than 17 points — at 40-23 on a Kasberger jumper on the first possession of the second half — in the final two quarters as the Kingsmen rolled to victory.
"I'm pretty pleased with our defense, but personally, I know there are some things I can do better," Lemen said. "There is always room for improvement, but I'm still proud of how we played."
For the game, Putnam held Crook County to 27% shooting from the field and forced 16 turnovers. On offense, the Kingsmen shot 55% from the field and turned the ball over just nine times.
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