Gervais girls win, lose at the buzzer
The Gervais girls basketball team couldn't have had a more exciting week of basketball if they tried, after playing back-to-back games that came down to the final possession last week.
The Cougars used a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to steal a 39-38 victory on the road against No. 9 Santiam on Jan. 7, only to fall in a 43-42 upset loss at home two days later to Colton when Gervais failed to connect on a similar shot.
Gervais (10-5, 4-2 Tri-River Conference) wrapped up its week with a 41-25 win at Western Christian on Friday to maintain a slight half-game lead in the crowded race for second place in the league standings behind the No. 1 Kennedy Trojans (16-1, 6-0).
The Cougars kicked off the week with their most exciting victory of the season to date. Traveling to Mills City, Gervais was looking to rebound from a 51-43 non-conference loss to the 3A Yamhill-Carlton Tigers in their first game of 2019.
The Wolverines (10-5, 2-3) entered the contest ranked No. 7 among 2A teams and were looking to knock off the Cougars to build their resume as the second-best team in the Tri-River.
Gervais built a 10-2 lead in the opening minutes of the first quarter, but the Wolverines reduced the deficit to 21-17 at halftime, and came roaring back in the second half.
Santiam held a 37-33 lead when sophomore guard Celi Vasquez used a screen from junior Mary Davidson to create an opening on the left side of the perimeter, knocking down her fifth 3-pointer of the game to pull Gervais within 37-36 with just over a minute remaining.
The two teams traded possessions over the final minute, neither squad able to take advantage of opportunities at the free throw line until Santiam's McKenzie Dodge hit 1-of-2 with 20 seconds left to give the Wolverines a 38-36 lead.
After taking a timeout, Gervais inbounded the ball at half court and ran out the clock for the final shot. Vasquez took the opening pass and gave it to sister Bella Vasquez before moving inside the paint. Celi Vasquez emerged five seconds later, without her defender and took a pass from Katie Hanson at the exact spot in which she hit her previous 3.
She let fly with the shot as time expired, sinking the game winner with 0:00 reading on the block.
Celi Vasquez finished with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-16 shooting, including 6-of-13 from three-point range.
Mary Davidson was second on the team with seven points and four rebounds. Bella Vasquez added five points, five steals, three assists and three rebounds, while Hanson pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
But the elation was short-lived after the Cougars struggled to find the same magic while hosting a struggling Colton Vikings team (5-9, 3-3) that had lost seven-consecutive games heading into the two teams' Jan. 9 match.
Gervais struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the opening quarter, falling behind 11-6 to the Vikings. The Cougars' picked up their pace in the second quarter, but Colton match them shot-for-shot and led 24-20 heading into the second half.
The Vikings built their lead to 28-20 in the opening minutes, but Gervais went on an 8-0 run to tie the game before Colton's Madi Olsen broke the streak with in the closing minute to give the Vikings a 30-28 lead heading into the final quarter.
Colton hit three more shots to open the quarter and held a 36-30 lead with five minutes left in the game. But Isabel Vasquez connected on a shot, stole the inbound pass and assisted to freshman Salma Villegas. After a jump ball, Davidson tied the game up at 36-36 with under four minutes left to play.
Colton went 2-of-4 at the free throw line in their next two possessions to take a 38-36, but the Cougars' Lilly Welburn tied it up on the other end and made two free throws on the ensuing possession, giving Gervais their first lead of the game — 40-38. Bella Vasquez added two more free throws to make it a four-point lead with 1:39 left, but Colton's Maddie Travis answered with a 3-pointer on the other end to pull within 42-41.
Colton retook the lead on a pair of free throws by freshman Olivia Haines with 36 seconds remaining. The two teams traded turnovers, giving Gervais possession with 10 seconds left.
Sophomore Isabel Contreras was fouled on the inbounds play and missed both free throws, leading to a jump ball on the ensuing scrum for the rebound with 1.3 seconds remaining.
Davidson took the inbound pass at the top of the key and heaved a desperation 3-point attempt as time expired that missed wide right.
Isabel Vasquez led the team in scoring with 13 points, including 7-of-8 from the free throw line. She added four steals, three assists and four rebounds in the loss.
Hanson pulled down a team-best nine rebounds to go along with six points, while Welburn added six points, five steals and five boards.
Gervais rebounded from the loss on Friday, holding Western Christian (7-8, 3-3) to 13 points through the first three quarters of play en route to a 16-point victory.
Davidson led the team with 12 points, followed by nine from Bella Vasquez and seven from Celi Vasquez.