PREPS: St. Mary's will play for trophy
Many didn't believe the St. Mary's Academy Blues would reach the Chiles Center this season. Which makes that they will be playing Saturday for fourth place at the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A girls basketball tournament even more special.
"We knew we had doubters, and we wanted to prove all the doubters wrong," Bendu Yeaney said after turning in a strong all-around performance Friday morning in a 65-55 win over South Medford in the consolation semifinals.
St. Mary's, seeded No. 25 at the start of the playoffs, will face Sunset in the fourth-place game at 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The Apollos (21-7) defeated Clackamas 45-33 on Friday.
Yeaney, a 5-9 senior who is committed to Indiana as a point guard, finished with 20 points, 18 rebounds, five assists and four steals against the No. 5-seed Panthers to ensure that her high school career would last into the weekend.
Sophomore Mya Brazile added 10 points, and eight different players scored points as the Blues improved to 14-12.
The win followed a 40-point loss to top-ranked Southridge in the quarterfinals. Yeaney said the Blues were nervous in the quarterfinals and came out Friday determined to give a better performance.
"We knew we had to come out harder than we did yesterday," Yeaney said. "We're used to (the Chiles Center) now. So we just wanted to come out and play strong."
Yeaney scored 10 points in the third quarter, including consecutive end-to-end layups in a 7-2 burst to close the period and give St. Mary's a six-point lead.
Early in the fourth quarter, senior Sally Luciano and freshman Marley Johnson knocked down 3-pointers for the Blues. Midway through the period, Yeaney scored on a difficult drive and then Brazile scored a pair of run-out layups to push the lead to 12.
South Medford, which finished the season 21-7, battled foul trouble. Three Panthers starters picked up their fourth foul in the third quarter, limiting their ability to pressure St. Mary's down the stretch.
Brazile said the Blues focused on playing for each other.
"A lot of people didn't think we'd get this far," she said, "so that really pushes us to continue to prove those people wrong."