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Kingsmen push final opponents to the end in first state tourney berth in 40 years.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - The Putnam girls basketball team poses with its fifth-place trophy — the Kingsmen made their first tourney appearance in 40 years — at the Class 5A state tournament at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis on Saturday, March 12.The Class 5A girls state basketball tournament may not have ended the way Putnam wanted it to, but that did little to steal the luster from the best Kingsmen season in 40 years.

No. 11 Putnam, which opened the tournament — held Thursday through Saturday, March 10-12, at Gill Coliseum on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis — with a 30-point upset of No. 3 Crook County, ended the tourney with back-to-back losses, falling 41-34 to No. 7 Springfield in its Friday semifinal, then dropping a 58-43 decision to No. 4 Ridgeview in the third-place game on Saturday.

Despite those setbacks, the Kingsmen — who took home the fifth-place trophy — said they enjoyed every minute of their team's first state tournament appearance since 1982.

"I felt like I was cheated out of a season last year, so I'm glad we were able to put a plaque into our trophy case at least," said point guard Maddie Olma, the team's lone senior. "I do believe they'll be back next year — they'll be a team to be looking out for — I just wish we had another shot at these last two games."

Springfield 41, Putnam 34

Coming off their 74-42 victory over Crook County, the Kingsmen hoped to pull off another big upset, but struggled mightily with their early-game shooting against Springfield. Olma knocked down a jumpshot to give Putnam a 2-0 lead 54 seconds into the game, but the Kingsmen missed their next 12 shots in a row and fell behind by as many as 12 points in the first half.

"(That) was tough. We had a really tough first quarter," said Putnam junior Riley Greenleaf. "I think we only had two points and only made one field goal. We picked it up after that, but it just wasn't enough to get it to what it needed to be."

"It was pretty bad," added sophomore Rylee Lemen. "We went into the game with confidence, and we had a chance to win — and we did — we went in strong, but after a couple of possessions, we just slowly started going downhill."

The Kingsmen still trailed 17-9 at the half, but didn't fold. Instead, they rallied within 30-25 in the third quarter when Greenleaf took an Olma pass and scored inside with 47 seconds to go.

Putnam got even closer in the fourth quarter, eventually cutting the Springfield lead to 32-29 when junior Kayla Kasubuchi made a steal and Olma converted a layin with 5:27 left in the game.

But the Millers salted the game away at the free throw line, hitting 7 of 10 from there — three of those by sophomore Danaeja Romero-Ah Sam — in the final 3:39 to win.

Olma led her team with 16 points (on 7 of 19 shooting from the field including two 3-pointers), along with seven rebounds, one assist and two steals. Lemen added seven points (on 2 of 8 shooting from the field and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with nine rebounds and one blocked shot.

Romero-Ah Sam led Springfield with 16 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Freshman Juju Henderson added 14 points, eight rebounds, one assist and one steal.

Ridgeview 58, Putnam 43

While Ridgeview ended up winning by 15 points, all of the Ravens' edge came in the game's final six minutes. Until then, however, the Kingsmen — who had to play large stretches of the game without Olma due to a rolled ankle — matched Ridgeview shot for shot and point for point.

"I think we came out really strong," Greenleaf said. "They have a really strong defense — it's tough to play against — (but) I think we did a really good job."

"Our defense, everybody collectively was on point," Lemen said. "We had an amazing game. We were talking. We were playing how we play. We were just going for it. Mostly we were just having fun."

While the Ravens started fast and led 18-11 at the end of the first quarter, the Kingsmen came back strong in the second and tied the contest at 23-23 on a Kasubuchi layin — all while Olma was sidelined with her ankle injury.

That stretch started when junior Sophia Lambert took a Greenleaf pass and buried a "three," continued thanks to Lemen — she hit a layup, knocked down a jumpshot, then drilled a 3-pointer of her own — before Kasubuchi's layin.

Putnam kept battling in the second half, trailed just 41-37 at the end of three quarters and knotted the score at 41-41 when Lemen hit Kasubuchi for a layin with 6:10 left in the game.

But Ridgeview — led by junior Kyrah Daniels' 31 points — took over down the stretch, outscoring Putnam 17-2 in the final 5:53 to win.

"We put up a good fight. We probably should have had that one," Olma said. "I think at full strength, we would have gotten them."

For the game, Lemen led Putnam with 13 points (on 6 of 9 shooting from the field including one 3-pointer), along with four rebounds and one assist. Greenleaf had 12 points (on 6 of 7 shooting from the field), along with two rebounds, one assist and one blocked shot.

For Ridgeview, Daniels hit 12 of 19 shots from the field (including two 3-pointers) and five straight foul shots, along with six rebounds, four assists, one block and seven steals. Senior Jenna Albrecht added 10 points, two rebounds, two assists and one steal.

With the loss, the Kingsmen finished their year at 20-8 after finishing second in the Northwest Oregon Conference. Ridgeview ended its year at 21-7 after winning the Intermountain Conference.

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