Lady Outlaws win state playoff game for first time


Last updated 2/27/2024 at 10:32am

For the first time in school history, the Lady Outlaws basketball squad came out on top in the first round of the state playoffs. They travelled all the way to the coast on Wednesday, February 21, and took on No. 13-ranked Warrenton Warriors. Sisters (No. 20) stayed composed, played their game, and walked off the court with a 60-48 victory.

The first quarter was chaotic with the score going back and forth between the teams. Warrenton’s Emma Smith was their big, strong post and the Warriors were determined to get the ball inside to her. She finished the quarter with eight of their 14 points. Sisters scored several of their points from the outside, two long balls from Jenna Lake and a three-pointer from Norah Thorsett, which kept the score close. At the close of the period Sisters trailed 12-14.

Warrenton posted 16 points in the second period, but in a more balanced fashion, with five different players contributing in the scoring effort. At one point they stretched their lead to 10 points. In the meantime, the Outlaws had two of their players get into foul trouble, including Lake, who had to sit early in the period. Shae Wyland and Ila Reid also picked up fouls trying to defend their physical, post players.

Coach Paul Patton said, “Our girls didn’t get discouraged. We’d been in this situation before and knew we could battle back.”

The Outlaws buckled down, and battled back to cut the Warriors lead to four at the half. Reid was a big part of the comeback, as she attacked the basket and scored nine points in the quarter. At the half the Outlaws were down by four, 26-30.

“At halftime we talked about how we felt we weathered the storm and were confident we could eventually take the lead if we tightened our defense and chose our shots wisely in the second half,” said Patton.

Sisters was able to both tighten their defense and get good shots off in the third. The Outlaws put up 21 points in the period and held the Warriors to 10.

Six different players put up points for the Outlaws, including five additional points from Lake. Sisters turned their four point halftime deficit into a seven point lead with a score of 47-40 as teams headed into the final quarter.

Lake stayed hot from behind the arc in the fourth, and hit two more triples for the Outlaws. Sisters took care of the ball, and made just enough free-throws to extend their lead to the final 12-point margin.

Patton told The Nugget they played their best defense of the game in the closing minutes of the game and held Warrenton to just eight points in the period.

Lake led the Outlaws scoring spree with 17 points, followed by Reid who put up 15 points, and in addition pulled down 10 boards. Audrey Corcoran dud a good job at the point guard position and tallied nine points in the contest. Wyland played a steady game throughout, battled the big post players in the paint and finished with seven points and 10 rebounds. Maggie Lutz was impressive on the defensive end and also scored five points. Jorja Christianson’s four points and Norah Thorsett’s three-pointer came when the Outlaws really needed a score.

Lutz had four steals in the contest, Corcoran had three.

The Lady Outlaws three seniors all commented on the win.

Lake said, “We went into the game with fire, and trusting each other was key for us. It was a team effort. We definitely earned the win for how much we fought the whole game and didn’t give up until the final buzzer.”

“Winning the game was such an amazing feeling because we all play for each other and it is truly a gift that we get to continue on as a team,” Reid said. “It is also very exciting because we are in a position that Sisters girls basketball hasn’t been in, in a very long time, which makes me feel so proud of the girls. As we look forward to Vale, the most important thing is that we all trust each other and play together as a team.”

Lutz said, “I am so proud of how our team came out and competed from the jump. Even though we were down at the half we knew what we had to do on offense and defense to get the win. Now, it’s time to turn our focus to Vale and hope for the same outcome. We need to work hard in practice the same way we would in a game.”

Patton said, “This was obviously a huge win for the team and the program. I can’t recall the last time a Sisters girls basketball team made the state playoffs, let alone win a playoff game. It would have been easy for us to just be satisfied to be there, but these girls were determined to compete for the win.”

“Our seniors stood out for us, with Jenna (Lake) knocking down five three-pointers and leading us in scoring,” added Patton. “Ila (Reid) asserted herself in the middle quarter for 14 of her 15 points and steady leadership, and Maggie (Lutz) put shut-down defense on their top perimeter player.”

On Saturday, three days later, the Outlaws trekked four-and-a-half hours on the bus and took on Vale, the No. 4 ranked team in the state, who entered the game with a 10-0 record as the Eastern Oregon League Champs. The Vikings were too much for the Outlaws to handle and they lost the contest 29-57.

Patton said, “We can’t let this last result, against one of the top teams in the state, take away from a tremendous season for the team. The 15 wins overall was a huge lead from our recent season records. We made the state playoffs for the first time since 2006, which was remarkable, and winning a state playoff game earlier in the week was a historic first for the girls basketball program.

“I am grateful to our three seniors, Ila Reid, Maggie Lutz, and Jenna Lake for leading the team to such lofty accomplishments,” added Patton. “I am also excited about the future success of the team with the returning players having gotten a taste of playoff basketball and hungry for more.”


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