Central brings the heat

Annika Riddell grabs for the ball at tipoff in their Feb. 6 game against Woodburn .

Photo by Jennifer Biberston
Annika Riddell grabs for the ball at tipoff in their Feb. 6 game against Woodburn .

INDEPENDENCE — The Central girls basketball team (10-0, Mid-Willamette Conference, 19-1 overall) wasted no time establishing a fast lead over Woodburn (0-10, MWC, 1-18 overall) Tuesday night, giving Woodburn no opportunity to catch up and thus securing a win, 57-16.

“They played well. We came out and played tough the first quarter and got a big lead and maintained that while letting reserves get some good minutes,” coach Julie McDonald said. When preparing to play against a team like Woodburn, McDonald said it mainly comes down to her players.

“We focus on what we need to do individually to perform the best as a whole,” McDonald said. “Each player has roles for the team to be successful and we mainly focus on achieving those goals vs. constantly changing things to adapt to other teams. We feel our players playing their roles are a bigger advantage to our team than adapting to opposing teams.”

Elizabeth Chavez brought the heat by scoring 21 points; Lexy Barba contributed nine points, and Annika Riddell matched that, also with nine points.

No game is ever immune to setbacks, however. During third quarter the gym fell startlingly quiet as junior forward Mariah Hyre fell to the floor and did not get up right away.

What followed next were a few moments of nervous silence as physical therapist Kayla DeWolf, athletic training intern Courtney May, and McDonald crouched on the floor next to her, talking with her, Hyre’s face contorted in what looked like pain. A sigh of relief could be felt across the gym as Hyre, supported by DeWolf and May, limped off the floor, loud audience applause following them off the court.

DeWolf, who had been elsewhere when the fall happened, said she didn’t see what happened, but when she heard the silence in the gym, that’s how she knew something was wrong.

The injury always appears more intense at first because of the athlete’s reaction to it, DeWolf said. “They feed into the atmosphere (of the gym),” she said. “You need to get them into a room away from it all.”

She said that’s when she starts asking questions and really trying to assess what is wrong.

Not long after, Hyre re-emerged with an ice bag strapped to her lower leg.

“I fell on my ankle,” Hyre said. She said that as she was going up to shoot the ball, she came down on one of the other girl’s feet, resulting in a trip and a fall that rolled the ankle.

“I’ll be back on Friday,” she added.

The Panthers won Friday against South Albany, 43-29. Tuesday, Feb. 13, they played Corvallis after press time.

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