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Spartans fall to Foxes in quarterfinals of state basketball tournament

Hilhi struggles to find their game and loses to No. 3-ranked Silverton 51-27

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hilhi's Makenna Gambee goes up for a shot during the Spartans state tournament game March 8, at Gill Coliseum.Another good season came to an end for the Hillsboro girls basketball team Wednesday, March 8, in the OSAA 5A State Tournament, but sadly for Spartans, it did so too soon.

The Spartans lost Wednesday's quarterfinal game to Silverton, 51-27, at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. The Foxes jumped-out to an early lead, and with a lot of help from a subpar Hilhi performance, hung-on to that lead for the entirety en route to a semi-final matchup with Corvallis.

"We didn't rebound the ball like we usually rebound the ball, we didn't shoot free throws the way we normally shoot free throws," said Hilhi head coach Sara Harsin. "That's the poorest I've seen us rebound or shoot free throws all year. Which is a bad combination."

No. 3-ranked Silverton was led by junior Maggie Roth, who made seven of her nine shots on her way to 19 points and seven rebounds. The Foxes made five three-pointers in the first half, and capitalized on 13 first-half Spartan turnovers on their way to a 27-11 lead at the break.

"We didn't get Makenna (Gambee) going early, and that hurt us," said a frustrated Harsin. "Katie hit some buckets to keep our heads up, but we couldn't get anything going in that first half."

HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - The Spartans' Katherine Salas dribbles the ball up the court during Hilhi's state tournament game versus Silverton March 8.The Spartans showed some life in the third quarter on the backs of some on-the-ball pressure. They seemed to settle-in to the flow of the game, and a minor adjustment allowed standout post Makenna Gambee to get a couple good looks and build a little Hilhi momentum – something lacking in that first half.

"We moved Kenna to the wing and Kendra (Wilson) to the block, and that made a few things happen for us," said Harsin.

The Spartans cut the lead to 11 when point guard Katherine Salas hit a three-pointer with 3:45 remaining in the third, and when Sorain Dy made a free throw with seconds left in the quarter, Hilhi was down 10 and a basket or two away from applying the necessary pressure to a Silverton team who'd yet to feel it.

"I think we played a great third quarter," said Harsin. "We gave ourselves an opportunity to make a run, but we needed something to go our way. Whether it was a call, a couple free throws, a loose ball, anything. But Silverton didn't let that happen."


HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Hilhi's Kendra Wilson lines-up a free throw during the Spartans' game versus Silverton in the state tournament.The Foxes, as if sensing the game in the balance, took the proverbial bull by the horns and opened-up the lead behind Roth, post Kayce McLaughlin, and junior guard Brooke McCarty, who were responsible for Silverton's next 14 points. Hilhi's 10 point deficit quickly grew to 20, and by the midway point of the final quarter the Spartans and Foxes were mostly playing backups.

It was a tough way for Hillsboro to go out, but an inevitable way based on this night's performance. The effort was there, but the game simply wasn't.

"I know we could've competed better," Harsin said. "But props to Silverton, they're not big, but they're scrappy and they play hard."

The Spartans were led by Salas' 11 points, while Isabel Mosley grabbed nine rebounds.

In addition to Roth, McLaughlin added 13 points, grabbed six rebounds, and tallied two assists.

Hillsboro lost to Crater, 63-30, the following day in the consolation bracket.