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Indians pitch a defensive gem, get unexpected contributions in final league game win Thursday night

The Molalla High girls found themselves embroiled in yet another close basketball game Tuesday night, eventually falling to host North Marion by a 48-41 count.

Coach Phil Wiesner's team has played a ton of close ones this season and with his squad within four points in the last minute, here was another one.

"With time running out we were forced to foul," Wiesner said of the game's final minute. "With the exception of being blown out once this season, we've had a bunch of close games but have come up on the short end more than we'd like.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - The Molalla High girls basketball team used a stellar defensive effort to beat North Marion on June 17, its last conference outing of the shortened season.

"It was pretty simple in this game, they shot better than us and executed just enough better," Wiesner added. "The two teams match up pretty well. It was a hard-fought game and very physical."

The Huskies got out to an 11-7 first quarter lead, then extended it to 22-17 by the half.

"That was pretty much the spread throughout," Wiesner said. "They couldn't distance themselves and we couldn't narrow it."

Rubie Burge led the Indian offense with 14 points and rebounded well, according to Wiesner. Kylie Brownlee came off the bench to contribute 10 points in a good second half run.

The Indians (3-6) face off with the Huskies on Thursday in the final league game of the season. They also have a non-league title slated for Friday at Country Christian.

Molalla 38, North Marion 29

The battle that North Marion and Molalla began Tuesday night continued for a second round Thursday, this time with Molalla coming out on top 38-29. A key change on defense helped propel the Indians to a hard-fought win in their league finale.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Molalla used a strong defense and solid play on the boards to hold North Marion's offense under control in the win. "After letting North Marion guard Megan Netter go off for 19 points Tuesday, we changed it up on defense, assigning our best deny defender, junior Ashley Goetz, to dog Netter all night and not come off to provide help to teammates," Wiesner said of his defensive strategy. "Ashley did a great job, really limiting Netter's looks and then when she did have the ball being right there in her face.  It ultimately made it so others had to make plays for them." Netter, clearly frustrated with Goetz's attention, would pick up her fourth foul with 1:30 to go in the first half. She would sit out the entire third quarter, then fouled out early in the fourth when Indian guard Anna Parker drew a charge, essentially denying the Huskies their top offensive weapon. For the game, Goetz would record one 3-pointer on the evening. "We had a great night of defense and taking care of the boards," Wiesner said. "Without floor leader and leading scorer Hannah Nelzen out of town on a graduation trip, others needed to pick up the slack and they did. Kaityn Curry provided great leadership all night. She stayed focused on rebounding and defending, plus also handling the ball when North Marion tried to press." Senior Jackie Parker had a big night for Molalla, recording 15 points, including a trio of treys from beyond the arc. Julia Watson, an undersized post, had a key bucket down the stretch as well. "With a strange twist of the Covid-19 modified season due to work schedules, vacations and weddings," Wiesner said. Molalla finished the season with a 4-6 record.

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