Scappoose girls fall to Valley Catholic 45-31 in season opener
Say this at least about the Scappoose and Valley Catholic girls basketball teams — they got their money's worth out of their 2018-19 season opener on Wednesday.
They went at each other hard for 32 minutes, took turns forcing each other into turnovers and missed shots, then saw the Valiants rack up a 16-point lead that set the table for their 45-31 victory at Valley Catholic High School.
"For the first half, we definitely should have pushed it more and passed up the court because we had a lot of open people at the bottom (of the court)," said Scappoose senior guard Sarah Mills, who finished with seven points and four assists in the loss. "But in the second half, I think we did a lot better job at that and looking ahead instead of just trying to dribble through traffic."
"(They were) really aggressive, but I think we just tried our hardest pushing the ball," said Indian senior wing/guard Lillie Ramsey, who had three points, a block, an assist and a steal. "The communication, we had to step it up a little bit on our passing."
With the loss, Scappoose fell to 0-1 on the season, while Valley Catholic moved to 1-0 overall with the victory.
On their side, the Valiants — who scored 24 points off 30 Scappoose turnovers — knew that their fullcourt pressure had played a big role in their victory.
"We came out with a whole bunch of energy and we wanted to maintain that through the whole game and we did it," said Valley Catholic senior guard Jamie Justice, who scored four points in her team's victory. "We came out and completely shut them down."
They also helped first-year head coach Pat Thomas — a longtime VC assistant — get his first win as head coach.
"We definitely wanted to win — for our team and also for our coach," said Valiant senior guard Callie Kawaguchi, who finished with six points, five steals and two assists. "But it's a new team … a new team with a new coach so we wanted to establish our team and who we're going to be this year."
The Valiants started fast on Wednesday, scoring on five of their first six possessions to grab an early 11-3 lead, getting two baskets from Cameron Wilder, the second of those a putback of an Amber Co miss for that eight-point lead with 3 minutes, 48 seconds left in the first quarter.
The Indians tried to stay close with 3-pointers from Mills and Sierra Stafford, but saw the Valiants extend their lead to 15-6 when Katelyn Snook made a steal in the backcourt and scored with 33 seconds left in the period.
Scappoose closed within 15-8 at the end of the first quarter, but saw Valley Catholic push its lead to 26-10 in the second as the Indians struggled with their shooting (they hit just one of their first seven shots in the period) and ball control (they turned the ball over six times in the first five minutes of the stanza).
On VC's end of the court, Kawaguchi made a steal in the backcourt and scored, then took a pass from Mariella Gunther and drilled a 3-pointer before Justice drilled a "three" of her own for that 26-10 edge with 2:50 to go in the half.
The Indians answered with a Payton Fisher 3-pointer, but the Valiants closed the half with a Wilder baseline jumpshot and a Gunther foul shot for a 29-13 halftime lead.
The second half, however, was a different game. The Indians, after turning the ball over eight times in each of the first two quarters, gave it away just five times in the third and scored on four of their first six possessions of the period. Ramsey got things started with a 3-pointer from the right wing, Mills scored in the lane, Allison Wills hit a jumpshot assisted by Gaby Dague, and Wills scored again on the fast break off another Mills pass to close within 31-22.
"They came out and they were trapping our wings and that was a lot of pressure we weren't expecting," Kawaguchi said. "But our coach talked about how it's the beginning of the season and we might be a little bit of out of shape … so we might not have our endurance up."
Valley Catholic answered with a 7-0 run that included four points from Lauren Snook that gave her team a 38-22 lead at the end of the frame.
But Scappoose wasn't done yet. The Indians came back once more, opening the fourth period with a 7-0 run of their own to close within 38-29. Emily Kopra connected from the left side off a Mills assist and had a chance for a three-point play, but when she missed her foul shot, Dague rebounded it and set up Mills' inside basket. Dague scored on a putback a minute later and Ramsey added one free throw to cut her team's deficit to 38-29 with 4:58 left on the clock.
"It's like a domino effect," Mills said. "Once one person starts making it, then the next person starts making it and it's one after the other."
The Indians went cold down the stretch, though, and didn't score again until just 53 seconds remained on the clock. At the other end, Gunther scored five points in a span of 1:47 to put the game on ice.
"(We were) feeding off of our team, the bench was just going wild, and when you're on the floor, that's just something that's inexpressible," Justice said.
"We just need to get in the gym and get some more shots and we'll be good for the rest of the season," Ramsey added. "We just need to be more aggressive on rebounds and finish at the rim."
Wilder led Valley Catholic with eight points and Gunther added seven more. For Scappoose, Allison Wills led the way with eight points while Mills added seven.
Next up, Scappoose hosts Astoria at 7 p.m. Friday and plays at Banks at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Scappoose plays at Gladstone at 7 p.m. Friday and hosts Blanchet at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
An earlier version of this story misreported the name of a player in a photo caption. The Indians girls basketball player appearing in the top photo is Payton Fisher.
The Spotlight regrets the error.