Hosting a play-in game against No. 20 Phoenix, Molalla, ranked No. 12, was expected to advance to the Class 4A playoffs.
However, the Pirates had other plans.
Behind 34 points from junior post Josie Bolstad, Phoenix upset the Indians 60-48 Saturday at Molalla.
"Sometimes it's easier when you've got nothing to lose and they had nothing to lose," Molalla coach Phil Wiesner said, trying to explain the loss. "Sometimes the weight of expectations can get in the way of what you want to accomplish and I think the weight of expectations got us. They had no weight and they had nothing to lose, and I think that was the big difference."
The Pirates also did not perform like the No. 20 team in the state, racing out to a 26-12 lead with 3:23 remaining in the second period.
"You've got to give a lot of credit to Phoenix," Wiesner said. "They came in ready to play. They played with a lot of heart and they played very determined ball. Today they shot well and some of that was with us not out there on them and sometimes it was even when we had people in their face, they still shot well. They get confidence early and then that builds."
The game appeared to turn with 2:30 remaining in the first half when Bolstad picked up her third foul and Molalla senior Maddy Lisac scored a 3-point play.
With Bolstad on the bench for the rest of the second quarter, the Indians were able to get within 33-21 at halftime.
But the Pirates, with Bolstad back on the court, stretched their lead out to 45-22 in the third quarter.
Molalla closed the third period on a 10-2 run, but still trailed 47-32 entering the fourth.
Lisac buried a 3-pointer to get the Indians within 53-42 with 1:52 remaining in the game, but Molalla could not get any closer to Phoenix, who advances to play No. 1 Philomath Friday, March 6 in the first round of the playoffs.
"I could see real early that it was going to be a tough game," Wiesner said. "They came ready to play and if we didn't right the boat in a few areas we were going to have problems, and that's exactly what happened."
Kaityn Curry scored 12 points to lead the Indians. Lisac and Rubie Burge each had 10 points.
"I'm always proud of these girls, extremely proud of them," Wiesner said. "My two seniors, Audri (Greer) and Maddy (Lisac), they've been great kids for four years. They're a couple of great girls. They're going to do well in life, I know it."
More photos at derekwiley.smugmug.com.
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