Class 1A girls basketball -- The Bucks outscore the No. 4 Eagles 11-3 in the third period and hold on for a 40-31 win

FINN ROCK — After a slow start to Tuesday’s first-round playoff game at McKenzie High School, St. Paul found its rhythm in the second quarter, then used a strong defensive effort in the second half to upset the No. 4 Eagles 40-31 to advance to the second round of the OSAA 1A state playoffs.

Remy Brentano and Sara Pierson led the Buckaroos with 14 and 13 points, respectively.

St. Paul scored two points in the opening quarter, but the Eagles couldn’t take advantage of the Bucks’ offensive woes and led 6-2 after the first period.

McKenzie maintained a slim 19-17 lead at the half, but St. Paul limited their opponents to 12 points in the second half. The Bucks used an 11-3 advantage in the third quarter to take the lead for good and go on to the nine-point victory.

St. Paul (17-11, 11-3 Casco) now must set their sights on another Eagles team ranked in the top five of the OSAA polls. The Bucks will travel to No. 5 Yoncalla High School Friday for a second-round game against the Eagles, with the winner advancing to the eight-team quarterfinals in Baker City starting March 5.

The Yoncalla Eagles qualified for the state tournament after finishing 11-1 in the Skyline Conference and beating league-rival Elkton in the conference championship to earn a first round bye. Yoncalla enters the game on a 10-game win streak since losing 38-32 to McKenzie High School on Jan. 14.

Whichever team wins Friday night will be reseeded with the other seven teams to play in the state tournament that takes place at Baker High School Wednesday through Saturday.

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