No. 3 Huskies claim victories over top-10 teams Banks, Hidden Valley heading into home tournament

PHIL HAWKINS - North Marion sophomore Mya Hammack (pictured) and teammate Mar Verastegui were named to the all-tournament team at the Hidden Valley Tournament.The No. 3 North Marion girls basketball team has surged up the 4A rankings after winning four of their last five games after a season-opening loss, including two of three in a recent trip to southern Oregon for a tournament hosted at Hidden Valley High School.

The Huskies (4-2) opened the tournament with a 47-39 loss to the Del Norte Warriors (10-1) out of Crescent City, California on Dec. 13. Though North Marion was able to close the score to within one point with two minutes left in the contest, the Huskies couldn't take the lead and were forced to foul in the closing minutes, adding to the Warriors' final margin of victory.

Senior Mar Verastegui led the team with 12 points in the loss, followed by 10 from sophomore Mya Hammack.

In the follow up game on Dec. 14, North Marion scored a 50-49 overtime victory over the No. 7 Banks Braves (6-3) in a match-up of last season's third-place game in the state tournament that the Huskies won. Led by 13 points from Verastegui and 12 points each from Hammack and junior Katie Ensign, the Huskies won a taut back-and-forth contest as both teams swapped leads throughout the extra period. Verastegui sealed the victory with one second left, hitting the first of two free throws before a lane violation negated her second attempt. Banks was unable to get a shot off at the buzzer.

In the final game of the tournament, North Marion picked up another victory over a team they beat in last year's state playoffs, defeating the hosting No. 6 Hidden Valley Mustangs (5-5) 44-28 on Dec. 15.

North Marion led 10-1 after the first period and were able to hold the Mustangs to a season-low scoring by allowing just 14 points in each half. Verastegui led the team with 17 points, while Ensign and senior Raymee Boese each scored eight.

Verastegui and Hammack were each named to the All-Tournament team following its conclusion.

After nearly a week off, North Marion was scheduled to host games on Friday and Saturday at the team's home tournament. Due to an early production schedule, results were not available at press time.

The Huskies return to action this week in a trip to Palo Alto, California to take part in the Eastside College Prep Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament.

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