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St. Paul stymies C.S. Lewis to earn playoff berth


The Bucks shake off a one-point loss to rival Perrydale to dispatch the Watchmen 43-20

McMINNVILLE — After having its five-game winning streak snapped by rival Perrydale in excruciating fashion Feb. 18 in the Casco League semifinals, St. Paul had to refocus quickly for its third-place game versus C.S. Lewis Academy two days later.

The Bucks were tasked by head coach Mike Murphy to forget the loss and execute a game plan against the Watchmen, who were making perhaps their first-ever appearance in a second-round district playoff game.by: SETH GORDON - Lots of company - St. Paul senior Sara Pierson is flanked by two C.S. Lewis defenders as she makes a move to the hoop during the Bucks' 43-20 victory Saturday at McMinnville High School.

St. Paul did exactly that, keeping the ball out of the hands of CSLA star Lana Friedrich and causing havoc with ball pressure everywhere else en route to a 43-20 victory Feb. 20 at McMinn­ville High School. The win qualified the Bucks for state.

“I thought Jessica Wilmes played one of her best games of the year,” Murphy said. “She shot the ball well, she defended, she rebounded. She did a good job on (Friedrich). I thought that Remy (Brentano) played another solid game. Overall, we did what we wanted to do to have an opportunity to keep playing. Now we have that.”

St. Paul showed no ill effects from losing 34-33 to the Pirates, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first quarter against C.S. Lewis before Friedrich connected for a three-pointer with about two minutes left in the period.

A coast-to-coast lay-in by Friedrich made it 14-7 early in the second quarter, but the Bucks went on a 9-0 run to stake a 23-7 advantage at the break.

St. Paul pushed the lead to 25 points in the third quarter, after which it called off its full-court pressure and reached deeper into its bench.

Murphy said he was also impressed with the play of Cameron Stone, who, despite a glaring height deficit, effectively guarded Friedrich when she wasn’t pestering the Watchmen’s other ball handlers.

Brentano led the Bucks (16-11) with 10 points, while seniors Sara Pierson and Wilmes had nine apiece.

St. Paul traveled to play Mountain West League runner-up McKenzie Tuesday (results unavailable at press time). With a win the Bucks would need to beat one of 1A’s eight league champions on the road in order to secure another trip to the state tournament in Baker City.

Friedrich finished her stellar career with the Watchmen by scoring a game-high 13 points and said she is proud to have helped set a new bar for the program after also playing a role in the volleyball team’s history-making run to the state playoffs in the fall.