By Ben • Ben Schorzman • 

Titans roll past Grizzlies

Ben Schorzman/News-RegisterMcMinnville sophomore Audrey McMillan tries to get a shot off Wednesday vs. a tough West Salem defense.
Ben Schorzman/News-Register
McMinnville sophomore Audrey McMillan tries to get a shot off Wednesday vs. a tough West Salem defense.
Ben Schorzman/News-RegisterMcMinnville player Emily Bliven drives the baseline Wednesday vs. West Salem.
Ben Schorzman/News-Register
McMinnville player Emily Bliven drives the baseline Wednesday vs. West Salem.

McMinnville did win the quarter but lost the 6A girls basketball playoff game 56-30 to West Salem. For the second consecutive season, the Grizzlies have been eliminated after one game in the state playoffs.

“I felt like it would have been nice to win,” senior Hailey Lundmark said, “but just the fact that we came back so far and picked it up and did so much better than the first half was really good. It’s a good way to end the season.”

McMinnville outscored West Salem 11-1 in the fourth quarter. Were all of the Titans’ starters in? No, but after struggling for three quarters, Lundmark and the Grizzlies could have let the score get even more out of hand. Instead they continued to play.

Lundmark — one of two seniors on Mac’s roster with Grace McMillan — scored six points in the fourth quarter. Sophomore Audrey McMillan also had six points in the game. Lundmark didn’t start many games this season for the Grizzlies, but she put her basketball career into perspective in a long, concrete floored hallway after the game.

“Playing time isn’t what it’s all about,” Lundmark said. “It’s about being able to spend the time with your teammates and learning the skills you need. It’s more than just basketball. It gives you that perseverance for whatever else you do in life.”

That’s why, after a 26-point loss in the first round of the state playoffs, Lundmark could still talk proudly of how much fun she had playing basketball at McMinnville. That’s why she could look at the future of the Grizzlies’ program and say the 10 returning varsity players will be even better than their 13-12 record this season.

“I think there’s a lot of potential,” Lundmark said. “We’re a pretty young team, and I think next year they’re going to get even further because they’re going to have the more experienced players.”

Two years ago, the Grizzlies were 5-19. Last season they were 16-8 but lost 59-29 in the first round at St. Mary’s Academy.

“We still need a lot more experience playing against teams like West Salem so we understand how to step up to that and meet that,” McMinnville coach Sean Coste said. “Just more experience and just more time playing basketball.”

Coste said he could still see the strides his program has made.

“I think every year they believe we should be in the playoffs,” Coste said. “Now it’s just about getting better so when we face higher quality teams we’re ready to compete with them.

“Seeing the future and seeing their work leads into what I think will be successful years to come.”

The Titans got off to a fast start Wednesday vs. the Grizzlies. Freshman Ashley Scoggin scored eight straight points to start the game, and West Salem led 17-2 with 1:25 left in the first quarter. Led by twins Mary and Irma Savoy, the Titans extended their lead to 29-6 halfway through the second quarter and led 33-9 at halftime.

“For a young team like us,” Coste said, “we need to have a much better start.”

The Titans pressed through the first three quarters and forced 27 turnovers. McMinnville shot 9-for-35 from the field.

Scoggin scored 19 points for the Titans. Katie Varney scored 10 points, and Irma Savoy had eight.

Molly Olsen scored five points for Mac, and Emily Bliven and Nicole Long both scored four points. Montanna Gubrud had three points, and Grace McMillan added two points for Mac.

Lundmark said the thing she will remember most is her teammates.

“They’re unforgettable,” she said. “They’re the most fun that I’ve had playing basketball.”

Lundmark’s perspective of basketball being about more than just the score resonated with Coste.

“Basketball has a lot of great educational aspects to it that will help the kids in a lot of parts of life,” Coste said. “The sacrifice they make to be in it for four to six months. The commitment to their teammates. A lot of hard work. Ups and downs, learning how to deal with adversity and losses and wins and the things that happen.

These kids did a good job and stuck together and worked hard.”

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