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Girls basketball: North Marion places sixth at state tournament

The Huskies finish the season with their highest placing since 1984

With a 52-44 victory over the Baker Bulldogs on Friday, the North Marion girls basketball team secured a place in school history — a 20-win season and the highest placement at a state tournament since 1984.

But as the dust settled from last weekend's 2017 4A State Quarterfinals , the Huskies, like most teams at the tournament, were left with a feeling of wanting more.

"Coming from a place where we had a 20-win season, I feel really good about that," North Marion head coach Trevor Bodine said.

The Huskies ended the season on a down note, falling 41-33 to league rival Cascade in Saturday's consolation final to finish the season in sixth-place. As Bodine looks to turn his team into a title contender, he hopes the returning members channel their experience at this year's tournament into renewed effort going forward.

"Be happy with the year we had, but don't be satisfied with the result we had," Bodine told his team after the loss to Cascade to conclude the tournament. "That feeling in the locker room wasn't a good one, so hopefully that feeling fuels them for the summer."

It was a similar feeling to what the Huskies experienced after opening the tournament with a 54-44 loss to Banks on Thursday at Forest Grove High School. The Huskies entered the game looking to advance to the state semifinals, but instead found themselves stifled by the Braves' state-best defense.

After going into halftime down just 22-19 after a near-half court shot from Emily Scanlan at the buzzer, the Huskies' deficit expanded to 15 points in the second half as Banks packed the paint and forced North Marion to find their points from outside.

"Banks did that to everybody all year," Bodine said.

Although the Huskies went on a small run in the fourth quarter to cut the game to single digits, the team wasn't able to get closer than seven and went on to fall by double digits.

That left North Marion just 12 hours to prepare for their consolation game against the Baker Bulldogs on Friday morning at Pacific University. With both teams facing elimination, the Huskies were determined to at least go home with a trophy if they could not contend for a title.

"We didn't want to go home early," Bodine said. "We weren't just happy to be there. We felt like we earned it all year."

With renewed vigor, the Huskies came out strong and never trailed against the Bulldogs, going on an 11-2 run after the two teams sat tied at 10-10 toward the end of the first quarter. Baker managed to cut North Marion's lead to 28-25 entering halftime, but the Huskies went on another run to build a 13-point lead with three minutes to go in the third.

The Bulldogs were once again able to make it a game, cutting the deficit to 41-37 late in the fourth quarter when North Marion's Hannah Kinniburgh and Ally Umbenhower combined to score the team's final 12 points, including going 9-of-10 from the free throw line down the stretch to seal the win.

The victory gave the Huskies an 8 a.m. date on Saturday against the rival Cascade Cougars, who had beaten North Marion twice before in the regular season. The Cougars entered the tournament as the No. 1 team and favorite to dethrone three-time champion Sutherlin, but fell in quarterfinal to Seaside while losing three-time Conference Player of the Year Halle Wright to injury in the process. Despite the disappointing end of the season for Cascade, Bodine expected them to give North Marion everything they had in the consolation final.

"I told the girls that they're not going to come out and lay down for you," Bodine said. "They're playing for pride at this point."

Unfortunately, the Huskies came out cold against the Cougars, shooting just 28 percent from the field and scoring single digits in all but the fourth quarter. Cascade built a 7-0 lead to open the game and maintained a double-digit advantage throughout most of the game and until the final seconds of the game.

"We just didn't compete," Bodine said. "We got outplayed and out-hustled. Our girls just kind of didn't show up mentally, and that was the disappointing part."

It wasn't the ending that the Huskies envisioned entering the tournament, but the results were nonetheless impressive for a North Marion team that was forced to replace its coach and a pair of multi-year all-conference starting guards.

"That last game certainly isn't going to tarnish the type of year we had," Bodine said.

At the conclusion of the tournament, Umbenhower was named to the all-tournament Second Team after averaging 14 points, five rebounds and two steals in the three games.

It also brought an end to the high school careers of the team's four seniors — Sonia Jimenez, Bethany Dron, Kyia Brooks and Ashley Bowman. Although none of them started, the seniors were the backbone of the Huskies' bench and were counted on for their leadership and poise throughout the season.

"They provided a lot of stability to the younger girls," Bodine said. "They weren't going to go out and score 10-12 points a game, but they had the ability to score five or six, gather rebounds and get 50-50 balls."