But Scappoose shows fight in its Tuesday home finale against Valley Catholic

SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: JOHN BREWINGTON - Scappoose's Shaylan Smith battles for a rebound during her team's Tuesday home loss against Valley Catholic.The hole was simply too deep and the time a bit too short for the Scappoose girls basketball team on Tuesday.

A spirited fourth-quarter rally on Tuesday was a nice way to finish off the home schedule for the 2017-18 Indians, but it wasn't quite enough to overcome visiting Valley Catholic.

Trailing by 20 points early in the fourth quarter, Scappoose pulled within five late before losing 42-35 to the Valiants.

Indians coach Joe Girres was encouraged by the fight his team showed, which he said was lacking in a 21-point loss earlier in the season at Valley Catholic.

At 2-7 in the Cowapa League (6-16 overall), the Indians face a busy stretch. They closed their league schedule on Thursday with a game at Astoria and will travel to Seaside on Monday for a league playoff game. If they win, it's back to Astoria on Tuesday for another playoff contest.

If Scappoose plays with the energy it showed in the fourth quarter against Valley Catholic, some playoff success is possible. The Indians came up with nine steals and forced Valley Catholic into 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter, the result a 15-0 run that might have had the Valiants in trouble had the game lasted one more minute.

Kaylee Wegner, one of three Scappoose seniors who played her final home game on Tuesday, scored seven of her eight points during the fourth quarter. Senior Lea Brodala made two steals and scored five of her team-high 11 points to help turn the tables in that fourth quarter.

Defensively, senior guard Krystal Easterly was particularly disruptive in the fourth quarter, making two steals and helping force several other Valley Catholic giveaways.

Scappoose junior Payton Fisher scored all five of her points in the fourth quarter, hitting a 3-pointer with 45 seconds left to get her team within seven.

"The girls were playing incredible defense and just scrapping for everything," Girres said. "They knew that they had to. We gave (Valley Catholic) a little bit of a cushion in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter, there was no quit. We just kept battling, which was fun to watch."

The 17-point fourth quarter was not quite enough because Scappoose scored only 18 points through the first three quarters and trailed by 18 with one quarter to play.

Valley Catholic's full-court press was especially troublesome early in the game. The Valiants led 23-10 at halftime, largely because its full-court press forced 10 of the Indians' 15 first-half turnovers.

"I just felt like we weren't getting in the right places and we panicked a little bit. When you turn the ball over and give them easy looks, it makes it that much tougher," Girres said. "We'll get better at (handling pressure defenses). It's just understanding that we need to have a little bit of patience, have some poise and use ball fakes. When we did that, we got the ball where we needed to."

Senior guard Noelle Mannen led the way for Valley Catholic with 17 points, 10 of them in the first quarter, when she opened the game with two 3-pointers.

The Valiants (7-2 in Cowapa play, 17-6 overall) will finish second in the league behind Banks.

Even in defeat, Girres saw something from his team that wasn't there earlier in the season.

"There was no quit in us. Even when we got down 18, we knew that we could battle back," he said. "I could see it in the girls' eyes."

Banks 42, Scappoose 24

Turnovers were also part of the story in the team's Feb. 9 home loss to the Braves, the Cowapa League leaders.

The other key to that game was the second-half play of Banks junior Aspen Slifka. After going scoreless in the first half, Slifka came alive for 16 second-half points as the second-ranked Braves outscored the Indians 32-11 after halftime.

"She really got it going in the second half. That's just a bona fide athlete and she's tough to stop when she gets going," Girres said.

Brodala scored a team-high nine points, seven of them helping Scappoose to a 13-10 halftime lead. Kopra scored five points, Sierra Stafford and Payton Fisher had three points apiece, and Kaylee Wegner and Shaylan Smith each had two points.

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