The playoffs are a different animal. More pressure, heightened expectations and a higher level of intensity on both ends of the floor. Unfortunately that pressure, and those (likely internal) expectations, along with a more intense version of the regular season game proved too much for the Hillsboro Spartan girls basketball team in their first round playoff game with No. 7-ranked Corvallis.
"Corvallis was the better team tonight," Hillsboro head coach Sara Harsin said. "For some reason we just couldn't shake the nerves and play our game. It wasn't that Corvallis put pressure on us or they did anything we weren't prepared for, we just didn't play our game."
Corvallis, whose mascot is also the Spartans, led by seven after a quarter, 13 at the break and 22 after three quarters en route to a 55-41 win Friday night, March 6, at Corvallis High School. Harsin said there was no doubt that the desire and effort from her team were there, they were just out of sync against a team they needed one of their best efforts to beat.
"The ball movement was not like it has been, the defense was a step late, we took our eyes off the rim, we needed to have just a little more trust in the work that we had done and the outcome would have been different," the coach said. "I think the kids wanted it so bad, and as coaches we weren't able to get them to channel that energy and desire in the right direction."
Instead of focusing on the negative, Coach Harsin chose to focus on the valuable lessons afforded her team in defeat, and urged them to use them in both their athletic and academic endeavors going forward.
"After the game I told them it sucks, but we can always learn something from every situation," she said. "Learn from it, move on, and next time you are faced with pressure handle it a little differently so you can get the outcome you want.
"Unfortunately, there won't be an opportunity to show that you have learned from it this year in basketball, but you know you are going to face a pressure situation this spring in softball track and tennis. The goal is still to get better every day. The important part is that we reflect and learn so next time we don't make the same mistake. It is about the process not the outcome, and the process of getting to the playoffs was a lot of fun."
Hillsboro was led by Kylie Fernstrom, who scored 15 points and grabbed six rebounds.
Corvallis was led by Elka Prechel's 23 points.
Other Hilhi scorers included: Dylan Kem 9, McKenzie Staub 9, Rien Porter 5 and Margaret Shively 3.
Hidden Valley 55, Banks 39
It was supposed to all be gravy for a young Banks girls basketball team traveling to Hidden Valley for a playoff game versus the No. 3-ranked Mustangs. But despite only a few prognosticators giving them a shot against the heavy favorites, expectations changed after the upstart Braves took a 2-point lead to the locker room. Yet the lead, and ultimately Banks' season, went up in flames in a 55-39 road loss last Friday night, March 6, at Hidden Valley High School.
"The first 12 to 14 minutes of the game we executed the game plan perfectly," Banks head coach Brandon Begley said. "We got up nine by playing with energy and attacking on both ends of the floor. We allowed them to go on a run at the end of the first half to get within two, and that completely changed the game and ultimately decided our season."
In the second half the Braves wilted over the final 16 minutes, falling behind by eight after three quarters, then caving in the fourth against what was ultimately a much more seasoned opponent.
"We just came out flat to start the second half and just didn't have the energy and legs to come back from that," Begley said. "We knew Hidden Valley would be a tough place to play and it was. All the credit in the world to them."
Hidden Valley's Jaaden Steele led the Mustangs with 18 points, and was the catalyst of what was a potent Mustang attack, particularly in the second half.
"I left really impressed with her because she plays the game the right way," the Banks coach said. "She had a spectacular game and was the difference in the game."
Banks was led by junior Camila Narvaez, who tallied 12 points in defeat. Begley spoke glowingly of the guard's play this season, and her value. In addition, freshman Alex Saunders proved her worth and her potential going forward by scoring 10 points and showing her defensive prowess versus the Mustangs.
"Alex Saunders showed she is one of the best defenders in the state with her spectacular defensive run in the first half," Begley said. "When she plays that way and gets us easy baskets, we are a completely different team."
With the season now behind them, Begley has had a chance to reflect on the year and said he couldn't have been more impressed by his team. Despite a roster with seven freshmen and sophomores, along with a schedule that included games against 12 top-10 teams, the coach said he was pleased with the way things went.
"Overall, I couldn't be more proud of this group of girls this year," Begley said. "From the outside people may look at the record and think it wasn't a successful season, but it was. We're excited about the future of this program, and feel like the program is in a better place than it has ever been.
"Our varsity team was incredibly young and still made the playoffs, and our JV team only lost one game this year, so the future is bright. What gets us even more excited is what we saw in the locker room after the game. The girls are ready to get to work and put in the time to get better so that we can build on what we accomplished this year."
Banks scorers included: Narvaez 12, Saunders 10, Madison Walker 6, Hailey Evans 6, Betta Minervini 4 and Nya Johnson 1.
Beaverton 80, Glencoe 26
The No. 1-ranked Beavers were too much for the No. 32-ranked Crimson Tide, rolling to a 80-26 victory Tuesday night, March 3, at Beaverton High School.
Glencoe finished the year with a 7-17 overall record and were fifth in the Pacific Conference.
Beaverton went on to defeat St. Mary's Academy in the second round and will face Southridge in the state quarterfinals, with the winner facing the winner of Liberty/Mountainside in the semis.
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