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Trojans advance to state semifinals after beating Red Devil team that denied them finals bid in 2019

The No. 1 Kennedy girls basketball team survived a third-quarter rally by the No. 9 Coquille and went on to beat the Red Devils 50-36 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the 2A Girls Basketball State Championship tournament in Pendleton.

The Trojans (24-4) dished out some long-anticipated revenge against the Red Devils (23-4), who beat Kennedy in overtime of last year's state semifinal before ultimately falling to Heppner in the championship game.

Like last year, Kennedy entered this year's quarterfinal tournament as the No. 1-seed, withstanding a 9-2 run by Coquille to open Thursday's game. Kennedy senior Sophia Carley, who led all scorers with 23 points, poured in the first six for the Trojans, who scored eight straight to take a 10-9 lead heading into the second period.

Carley continued to roll, scoring eight of Kennedy's 15 points in the quarter to give the Trojans a 25-15 lead heading into the break.

But the Devils would not be silenced so easily.

Led by senior wing Morgan Baird, Coquille surged in the third quarter to pull within a point of the Trojans. After Elise Suing scored the first points of the quarter to give Kennedy a 10-point lead, Baird connected on back-to-back buckets, followed by a pair of field goals from junior teammate Drew Wilson to cut it to 28-24.

Kennedy juniors Hailey Arritola and Reese Hall bumped the Trojans' lead to 31-24, but Baird responded with a 3-pointer, followed by another 3 from senior Saige Gallino to cut it to 31-30 with less than two minutes to play.

That's as close as it would get for Coquille.

Junior Ellie Cantu sank 1-of-2 free throws with under a minute to play to make it a 32-30 game going into the final quarter, where the Trojans ran away with the contest.

After a silent third quarter, Carley got back to work in the fourth, scoring the first five points, followed by split free throws from Cantu to make it 38-30.

Baird and senior post Raeleann Jackson connected on consecutive field goals to cut it to 38-34, but the Trojans responded at the line.

Despite connecting on just 10-of-21 of free throw attempts (47.6 percent) heading into the final stretch, Kennedy hit their foul shots when they mattered most.

With under three minutes left to play, the Red Devils began putting Kennedy on the line and the Trojans responded, going 12-of-14 from the combined efforts of Carley, Arritola and Ellie Cantu.

Coquille could must just one field goal in that span and the Trojans built a double-digit lead en route to the 14-point victory.

Carley was the only Kennedy player in double figures, adding 10 points and two blocks in the win.

Cantu had nine points, seven rebounds, and three steals followed by eight points, two assists and two steals for Arritola.

Baird led the Red Devils with 13 points, followed by 11 from Wilson.

Kennedy advances to the state semifinals for the sixth consecutive year where they await either No. 4 Gervais (23-4) or No. 5 Bandon (25-1).

Tip-off for the semifinals is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Friday, March 6 at the Pendleton Convention Center.

KENNEDY 10 15 7 15 — 50

COQUILLE 9 6 15 6 — 36

POINTS

Kennedy — Carley 23, Cantu 9, Arritola 8, Suing 5, Hall 3, Newton 2

Coquille — Baird 13, Wilson 11, Ruiz 4, Gallino 3, GeDeros 3, Jackson 2

3-POINTERS

Kennedy — None

Coquille — Gallino 1, Baird 1, Wilson 1, GeDeros 1

FREE THROWS

Kennedy — 22/35

Coquille — 4/11


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