MEMBERS of the Sherman girls’ basketball team surround teammate Meagan McKinney (middle in front) in a team picture at the district tournament in Hermiston. The Lady Huskies, who clicnhed second place in Big Sky district play, ended up losing by a 58-27 score to No. 2-ranked North Douglas in an OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires state first-round hoops game played in Drain.
Whatever the final score read at the end of Saturday’s game, Sherman senior Makenzie Blaylock was going to be proud of what her team has been able to accomplish during the 2014-2015 season.
The Huskies started out 2-5 and peaked late in the year to grab their first win over a Dufur team for the first time in six years, advanced to the Big Sky Conference district championship and wound up one win from a trip to Baker City.
In an OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires state first-round girls’ hoops game in Drain, the Huskies were outscored 27-7 in the opening half and climbed to within 13 points early in the third quarter, but could not complete the comeback in taking a 58-27 loss to No. 2-ranked North Douglas.
“We didn’t have the greatest start, but we kept working hard every day as a team to get as far as we did,” Blaylock said in an earlier interview. “I am proud of every player here. When nobody thought we could win, we believed in each other and it helped us get as far as we could.”
Led by a combined 36 points from the duo of Dani Baker and Bella Mast, the Lady Warriors stormed the scene with runs of 16-1 and 11-6 to take a 20-point halftime lead.
The Huskies did not go down without a fight, scoring the first seven points of the third quarter to make it a 27-14 North Douglas lead midway through the quarter.
That was as close as Sherman would get, however, as the Warriors ended the frame on a 17-9 run to go ahead 44-23 with one quarter left to play.
North Douglas ended the game on a 14-4 run to cap a 31-point victory and a trip to Baker City.
“Deep in the playoffs, you need the bounces, shots and breaks to go your way,” said Sherman coach Steve Kaseberg. “Beside the run that we had in start of the third quarter, we just didn’t take advantage of other opportunities that we had.”
Baker and Mast rattled off 18 points each, and Frieze ended her night with 10 points.
For the Huskies, Emily Hill, Janet Guzman and Blaylock scored six points.
“It was a great experience for the program, no matter the outcome,” Kaseberg said. “It was an opportunity that was earned by the play and attention to detail of our student-athletes. It was a tough loss for our seniors, as they played their last game for the Sherman program, but those last games are always tough on the seniors.”
After the 2-5 start with two of those losses by a combined 101 points, the Huskies went 11-9 the rest of the way. Adding a 31-30 win over Arlington to lock down a No. 3 district seed.
On Feb. 18 in Moro, the Huskies defeated South Wasco County 30-24 in a district play-in game to earn a trip to Hermiston.
In their opening game, the Huskies cruised to a 42-31 triumph over the Dufur Rangers to vault into the championship game versus No. 2 Condon-Wheeler.
Sherman fell behind 17-1 and crept to within a five-point game with possession of the ball, but could not inch any closer, as
Condon-Wheeler went on a 23-13 run in the final 13 minutes and 31 seconds to pick up district gold in a 60-45 win.
The Huskies then won their state sub-round game over North Clackamas Christian by a 39-15 tally to advance to within one win of state.
“It was a great run,” Kaseberg said. “As we told the kids afterwards, ‘don’t let this loss diminish what you the players and the program accomplished throughout the season.’”
Sabrina Green-Hite, Meagan McKinney, Lily White, Katie Asher, Guzman and Blaylock have laid the foundation for the underclassmen to take the winning tradition to greater things in the future.
Kaseberg and assistant Steve Bird, taught the fundamentals and gave the players a sense of hope.
The veteran coach also commended the solidarity the fans and community showed while the team hit the hardwood Saturday.
It meant the world.
“We as coaches couldn’t be more proud of our student-athletes, because we played hard from start to the finish, and that’s all you can ask from your players,” Kaseberg said. “It was a great season for the Lady Huskies and we’re very proud of them.”