Something for the home fans
FOREST GROVE – After swallowing a difficult road loss in Class 6A Pacific Conference play, the McMinnville girls basketball team has one last home game to look forward to.
The Grizzlies’ regular season came to an end with a 43-39 defeat against Forest Grove, but the team was selected to host a Class 6A state play-in game. McKay of Salem, a Class 6A Central Valley Conference team that went 13-13 this season (4-6 CVC), will visit The Furnace tonight at 7:15 p.m. to face McMinnville (7-16, 4-0 Pacific).
Mac closes out its regular season as the seventh-place team in the Pacific Conference, but it gave Forest Grove (14-10, 7-7), the fourth-place team, all it could handle. The Grizzlies tied Tuesday night’s game at 35 with 4 minutes, 24 seconds to play, but an eight-point outburst by Vikings freshman McKenzie Long allowed Forest Grove to pull away.
“We did a lot of good things,” Mac coach Sean Coste said. “Defensive rotations, jumping, and steals were really good. We just struggled shooting.”
The Grizzlies trailed 26-23 at halftime but held the Vikings to two points in the first five minutes of the fourth quarter. A Nicole Long layup with three minutes remaining in the period gave McMinnville its first lead, 29-28, since 10-9 in the first quarter.
“We certainly had a chance to kind of run away with the game,” Coste said.
Forest Grove, however, countered two baskets by Long and another by senior Emily Bliven with three on consecutive possessions, including a three-pointer by senior Mary Hutchins. The Vikings only scored one field goal in the final nine minutes of the game but drew enough fouls to keep the Grizzlies out of reach.
If McMinnville missed its first shot attempt during a trip down the floor, it likely wouldn’t get a second. Each team was held to three second-chance points during the game; the Grizzlies had none in the second half.
“We spent a lot of time talking about and working on rebounding,” Coste said. “It was a good defensively contested game.”
Senior Molly Olsen led McMinnville with 14 points. Junior Audrey McMillan contributed eight points.
Long led Forest Grove with 19 points.
The Grizzlies used seven players against the Vikings, and junior guard Bethany Mohler is unlikely to be back from a concussion suffered two weeks ago. Otherwise, McMinnville is at full health entering the play-in round.
“I think we’re playing at a high level,” Coste said. “We’re ready to go.”