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Perrydale’s Cheyenne Locke, front center, and the rest of the Pirates’ girls basketball team leave the court after Friday’s devastating loss to St. Paul. The Pirates held a 19-point lead at the half but couldn’t hold on in a 48-45 loss
February 06, 2013
PERRYDALE -- As Brooke Barnes watched her shot glance off the rim, the buzzer sounding, she took one last look at the basket, slowly turned, and made her way back to the Perrydale bench.
Barnes' 3-point shot from the top of the key didn't fall and the Pirates lost to archrival St. Paul 48-45 Friday on senior night.
But the loss -- which marked the first for Perrydale in league play and ended the chance of an outright league championship -- didn't result from one missed shot.
The Pirates (20-4, 12-1 after Tuesday's 47-19 win over Jewell Tuesday after the Itemizer-Observer went to press) probably wish it did.
"I think our attitude just changed going into the second half," Barnes said later. "Our focus changed."
The final 16 minutes -- when the Pirates scored just nine points - were such a drastic contrast from the first 16 that it was difficult to discern what had occurred.
Perrydale’s Ashley Griffin goes up for a second-half shot Friday.
In the first half, Perrydale started the game hot from the field, draining five 3-pointers -- two from Cheyenne Locke (team-high 16 points) and one each from Barnes (10 points), Hannah Mitchell (11 points) and Ashley Griffin (five points) -- and seemed to score at will, controlling the contest with a 36-17 lead at the break.
It was the best first-half performance this season for Perrydale.
Pirates coach Luke Lindell went even further: "It's one of the best first halves I've ever seen by a girls basketball team, to be honest with you," he said. "I thought we came out and played really well and mentally I was really proud of them for coming out with that type of focus and discipline."
The only problem was, the game wasn't over. St. Paul, ranked No. 3 in the Oregon School Activities Association Class 1A power rankings, certainly didn't think so.
"I told them at halftime it's one possession at a time," Buckaroos coach Michael Murphy said. "One of our players isn't going to win it -- we've got to do it together. I said you get a stop on defense every time and run your offense and see what happens. I said have fun. The pressure's on them, they're way ahead, and the kids just responded."
Following Murphy's words, the Buckaroos (18-5, 12-1 after Tuesday's 58-12 win over Falls City) kept making defensive stops. They made so many in the third quarter that Perrydale didn't score until Barnes' three-point play with 3.4 seconds remaining in the frame. The lead entering the fourth quarter was down to eight points.
"I think it was more of a matter that we were playing `not to lose,'" Lindell said of the offensive struggles. "I thought we lost our aggressiveness ... I thought that we were pretty indecisive with what we wanted to do."
Despite a small run that put the Pirates back up 12 points, St. Paul continued its surge in the fourth, capitalizing on a few missed Perrydale free throws to cut the lead to one point with 1:33 remaining.
Natalie Stone -- the 2012 Casco Player of the Year -- finally hit the backbreaker with 26 seconds to play -- nailing a triple from the wing to give St. Paul a two-point lead and its first advantage of the game.
It was a collapse that left the Pirates with the bitter taste of disappointment. What Barnes & Co. hope is that it teaches them how to win when it really matters.
If both teams win the remaining two games on their schedule, they'll face off in the Casco League's district championship game Feb. 16 at McMinnville High School to decide seeding for the Class 1A playoffs.
"I think definitely we just have to learn from our mistakes," Barnes said. "We know how our focus was in the beginning, we just have to come in with that in every single half of basketball. Every single time we come on the court we have to have that.
"It's just learning that we can't take anything for granted."
Perrydale at Country Christian
When: Thursday, 5:30 p.m.
Perrydale's loss to St. Paul Friday created a two-way tie for first place in the Casco League as the two teams now have one conference loss apiece one regular season games remaining. As long as both teams win out, they'll face off in the Casco district title game Saturday, Feb. 16, at McMinnville High School to decide the league's No. 1 seed entering the Class 1A playoffs.