Lady Outlaws advance to first round of state playoffs


Last updated 3/19/2024 at 3:19pm

Photo by Ian Reed

The Lady Outlaws enthusiastically celebrated earning a berth in the state playoffs.

The Lady Outlaws basketball squad (No. 3 in league play) matched up against the Lady Bulldogs (No. 2) at Creswell on Friday, February 16, in a league playoff game.

Sisters fell in a final score of 41-52, and with the loss played Elmira (No.4) the following day. This time they walked off the court with a 46-37 victory. The win secured the No. 3 seed in league for the Outlaws, and they advance to the first round of the state playoffs. Sisters, who is ranked No. 20 in the state, will play at Warrenton, who is ranked No. 13, on Wednesday, February 21, at 6 p.m.

In Friday's game against the Bulldogs the Outlaws got off to a very slow start. The Bulldogs' full court press, and tight man-to-man defense led to Outlaws turnovers and missed shots. Sisters only scored six points in the first quarter while the Bulldogs put up 16.

The remainder of the game was played fairly even, but the Outlaws just couldn't recover from their first quarter 10 point deficit.

Coach Paul Patton said, "We were playing without Paityn Cotner, one of our key backups, who fractured her ankle in a JV game on Monday. That shortened our bench and forced other girls to play more minutes, and Norah Thorsett and Jorja Christianson stepped up to the challenge."

Shae Wyland played a great inside game and netted a team-leading 11 points, and in addition pulled down 12 rebounds. Maggie Lutz was the Outlaws' top shooter from the outside with three triples in the contest, and finished with a total of 10 points. Ila Reid scored seven points and had eight rebounds, and Audrey Corcoran contributed four points and 10 rebounds in the contest. Jorja Christianson pitched in with four points.

The following day the Outlaws played against Elmira at Thurston High School, which was a neutral site, in a final league playoff game that would send the winner to the first round of the state tournament. It was a slow and sluggish start for both teams, but the Outlaws were able to slowly forge ahead and record the win.

Sisters started the first quarter in a zone that caused the Falcons some confusion as they'd only seen man-to-man defense from the Outlaws in their previous two match-ups. It was a low-scoring quarter with it knotted up at 4-4 with just over two minutes left in the period. A late three-pointer from Elmira gave them a 4-7 lead at the close of the period.

Midway through the second quarter the Falcons were up by six, but then the Outlaws scored six consecutive points to tie it up 11-11. Reid was fouled and hit both her shots from the free-throw line, followed by a short jumper and an offensive rebound and put-back from Corcoran. Elmira answered Sisters' run with a three, but Corcoran finished the second quarter scoring with a short shot under the basket to give Sisters a narrow 15-14 advantage at the half.

Patton said, "We had a hard time getting our shots to drop early on, as nerves might have been a factor in this win-or-go-home league playoff game. At halftime we felt good that we'd shaken off the jitters and reminded ourselves to just keep playing our game."

At the start of the third, Elmira scored five quick points and took a four-point lead. The Outlaws answered when Lake hit a jumper with one second left on the shot clock to close the gap to two, followed by Corcoran, who got fouled and hit her shots at the charity stripe to knot it back up at 19-19. Sisters scored 11 more points in the period, highlighted by a three from Lutz and a long ball from Lake at the buzzer, which put the Outlaws on top 30-25.

Lake's three-pointer gave the Outlaws a momentum boost as teams headed into the final quarter, and Sisters held onto the lead for the remainder of the game. Corcoran and Lutz both had nice driving layups and Christianson and Reid both hit from behind the arc to give the Outlaws a 40-35 lead with 2:38 left on the clock. As time ticked down the Falcons were forced to foul. Sisters only made three of their eight attempts at the line, but their stingy defense on the other end allowed them to hang on for the nine-point win.

Corcoran led the team with 15 points. Lutz scored nine, Reid put up eight, Wyland tallied six, and Lake added five, and Christianson pitched in with three. Wyland also grabbed eight rebounds, blocked six shots, and had four steals in the contest.

Patton said, "This was huge for the team to back up our third-place regular season finish with a win to secure the No. 3 seed from our league in the state playoffs. Audrey was outstanding for us, as she penetrated the defense off the drive for mid-range buckets and chased down offensive rebounds to extend possessions for us. Shae had another strong performance as well, especially in her shot-blocking to erase our opponent's field goal attempts.

"It was a joyful post-game feeling knowing that we'd get to keep playing together for at least another game, and who knows beyond that," added Patton.

With the win the Outlaws advance to the first round of the state playoffs and will play at Warrenton on Wednesday, February 21, with tip off at 6 p.m.


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