In a battle of Class 4A girls basketball titans, the outcome could not be decided in the regulation 32 minutes. It made sense that the two schools would need extra time to crown a champion. After all, take a look at the tale of the tape heading into the 4A Showcase Final 8 Tournament’s championship game, which appropriately started Friday at high noon.
Hidden Valley brought a 25-game winning streak into the game while Philomath hadn’t lost to another 4A school in 37 straight. The last time the Mustangs had experienced the sour taste of defeat occurred on Jan. 3, 2020 in a 13-point loss to none other than Philomath.
Something had to give.
Hidden Valley buried a 3-pointer, sank 4 of 6 free throws and got a key offensive rebound on the front end of missed 1-and-1 to pull out a 44-39 victory over the Warriors in Marshfield High’s gymnasium in Coos Bay.
While not an official state championship game, it had the feel of one. Although Baker might’ve had something to say about it, these same two teams were on a possible collision course for the title in the 2020 state tournament at Forest Grove. Of course, the early days of the pandemic led to the tournament’s cancellation and top-seeded Philomath didn’t have a chance to put a cherry on top of a dominant season.
In this one, the Warriors and Mustangs had to work hard for points right out of the gate.
“It was just a slog, back-and-forth defensive battle,” PHS coach Ben Silva said. “They put a ton of ball pressure on us. … We’d each make little runs and if one of us got a four-point lead, it felt like a big run. And then the other team would make a run and take a small lead. So it was back-and-forth the whole way.”
Hidden Valley’s Terryn Powers, Alesana Noga and Kaiah Fisher each hit 3-pointers in the second quarter to open up a 22-17 lead for the Mustangs at the break.
“They had some timely 3-pointers,” Silva said. “We’d have very good defensive possessions but they were very patient on the offensive end at working it around. I’m guessing it was one of their best nights shooting 3s, they didn’t miss a lot of them. … They knocked them down so give them some credit for that.”
Powers had three 3-pointers in the game with the other two coming in the fourth quarter and in overtime.
In the third quarter, Philomath limited the Mustangs to six points to trail 28-26 going into the final 8 minutes. Hidden Valley was focused on stopping Philomath standout Sage Kramer.
“They dogged Sage the whole time, running pressure at her,” Silva said. “She still did a good job getting to the hoop.”
Philomath’s Mia Rust had an exceptional performance, including late in the fourth.
“We battled them on their end, got a rebound and they fouled us with about 6 seconds to go,” Silva said, the Warriors trailing 35-33 at the time. “That put Mia Rust on the line … she hit two huge clutch free throws that put us into overtime.”
Early in overtime, Kramer fouled out. Reagan Larson hit a basket and a free throw and Rust sank another foul shot.
“And then we had some untimely turnovers,” Silva said. “They ended up getting a lead and we had to start having to foul to put them at the free-throw line.”
Fisher, who is a multi-sport athlete for Hidden Valley and plans to compete in track and field at Stanford, finished with a game-high 21 points. Powers had 12.
Rust scored 16 and Kramer had 10 for the Warriors. Both were named to the all-tournament first team. Despite playing on a sore ankle that she rolled in the final minute of Thursday’s game, Larson finished with eight points and according to her coach, “had one heck of an effort on the defensive end” against the Mustangs.
Silva had positive remarks about most of his players, including Abigail Brown and K Bacho off the bench.
“It’s basketball — sometimes it doesn’t go your way,” he added. “But we were right there.”
Philomath, which finishes the season with a 13-2 record, had a good representation of fans in the Marshfield gym.
Said Silva, “Our girls program has been successful for a while now and we’re going to continue to be successful, so we appreciate the community coming out and supporting us.”
Hidden Valley 44, Philomath 39 (OT)
Friday, June 25, at Marshfield HS, Coos Bay
|Hidden Valley (13-0)||7||15||6||7||9||22||44|
|3-Point Goals: Hidden Valley 5 (Powers 3, Noga, Fisher), Philomath 2 (Rust, Larson)|
Fouled Out: Kramer
Total Fouls: Hidden Valley 16, Philomath 14
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