Molalla girls basketball team falls to No. 2 Astoria
Molalla came up short of knocking off Astoria, ranked No. 2 in the Class 4A girls basketball coaches poll.
But the Indians continued to show they can play with the best teams in the state.
"They've got pieces. They can shoot. They can drive. They've got bigs inside. They're a good team," Molalla coach Phil Wiesner said after Friday's 46-43 loss. "I don't think they're overrated by any stretch, and as we proved we're right there with them."
After getting within 46-41 of the Fishermen on two free throws by sophomore Rubie Burge, Molalla went 2-for-8 from the foul line down the stretch and missed two tying 3-pointers in the final minute.
Early on, the game was headed for a blowout as Astoria used its press to go on an 18-0 run in the first quarter to take a 20-6 lead.
"We weren't getting people in good position to get the ball, and we were telegraphing some passes," Wiesner said. "We're generally pretty solid against the press and we were tonight except for the four or five minute run. That was a mess and then we started taking care of the ball again."
Molalla also got a boost from its bench as Burge scored seven points to get Molalla within 29-23 at halftime.
"The most impressive thing that came out of the game was we got ourselves a hole there, bench kids came in, gave us fire, got us some energy and that energy got contagious, and once that got going we maintained that for the rest of the game," Wiesner said. "It would have been real easy at that point for that thing to blow into a 30 or 40 point game. The kids just battled."
Astoria stretched its lead back to double digits, 35-25, to start the third quarter. But the Indians ended the period with a 3-point play by Kaityn Curry and a fast break layup by Zoe Wood to get within 41-36 to start the fourth.
Audri Greer then banked in a 3-pointer to get Molalla within 42-39 with 5:10 remaining, but the Indians did not make another field goal for the rest of the game.
"Everybody in that (locker) room wanted (to win) the game but we proved we are right there and need to be in the conversation," Wiesner said. "I'm more concerned where we are at the end of February. We've got room for growth. We've got some young kids coming along. They're growing fast and that will bode well for us."
Burge finished with 13 points to lead the Indians. Senior Maddy Lisac had 10 points.
"It was very challenging, but we just kept our heads in the game," Burge said. "If you just play a team that's been losing a lot it's not as much fun as a real competition. We're really close so we work together really well and when there's a hard team we really talk through it and figure out what to do."
Molalla, which entered the game No. 7 in the coaches poll, dropped to 6-6 with the loss.
The Indians other five losses have come to Silverton, the No. 3 team in 5A, La Grande and Baker, the No. 4 and 5 teams in 4A, Clatskanie, the No. 1 team in 3A, and Kennedy, the No. 1 team in 2A.
Molalla begins league play Tuesday, Jan. 21 at home versus North Marion.
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