Press breaks Mac's back
BEAVERTON – Everywhere the McMinnville girls basketball team turned, another Beaverton player appeared.
After running out to a 7-2 lead, the Grizzlies buckled under a vicious press. The Beavers successfully bothered McMinnville’s ball handlers and picked off desperation passes in the backcourt.
“Constant pressure. Constant physicality,” Grizzlies coach Sean Coste said. “They’re an aggressive, fast team. Athletic. We played a little hurried tonight.”
In all, Mac committed 29 turnovers – 18 in the first half alone – in a 73-31 loss to Beaverton, the Class 6A Metro League runner-up, in Tuesday night’s Class 6A first-round state playoff contest at Beaverton High School.
The Beavers (19-6) outscored the Grizzlies (8-17) 29-5 over the final 13 minutes of the first half, taking a 31-12 lead into the locker room. Beaverton outscored Mac 20-11 in the third quarter to quash any thought of a comeback.
“For us to be in that game, we had to be really solid, really patient, really deliberate, really fundamental,” Coste said. “We dribbled into tight situations. We passed into players’ hands.”
Senior Emily Bliven – playing her final game in a Grizzlies uniform – and junior Audrey McMillan each scored eight points to pace McMinnville. Sydni Dix and Elizabeth Logsdon each had four points.
Danielle Hartzog led the Beavers with 20 points, with 16 coming in the first half. Junior guard Allison Mueller added 18 points for Beaverton.
Coste experimented with his lineup, looking for an aggressive group to keep Mac’s offense flowing. Dix and sophomore Brittany Freeman, both of whom have played mostly junior-varsity basketball this season, took the court together in the first half for the first time all year. Point guard Nicole Long (two points) succumbed to foul trouble and eventually fouled out, leading to extensive playing time for sophomore Montanna Gubrud (three points).
Seniors Molly Olsen and Kerigan Morton each started what would be their last games for the Grizzlies. At the end, Coste inserted juniors Melissa Campbell and Rebecca Noble for extended minutes.
The Grizzlies ended a trying season having won four of their last seven contests, having finished seventh in the Class 6A Pacific Conference and won a state play-in game against McKay to put them into the Class 6A state playoffs.
“I told the girls, we created a tough schedule for them,” Coste said. “That kind of played against us. I don’t think it helped us build any confidence.
“I have to give it to them: they could’ve melted down and hung it up. They showed a lot of character. They persevered through a tough part of the season.”