Nyssa girls back in state quarterfinal basketball action

Nyssa’s Sailor Hartley goes for two of her game-high 18 points against Amity defender Keeley Graham. (The Enterprise/John L. Braese)

The Nyssa girls basketball team is back in familiar surroundings — quarterfinal play of the state tournament.

As it has been all season, Bulldog defense is the reason Nyssa continues to advance through state tournament play.

The Bulldogs are making the return trip to North Bend High School after a 45-36 victory over Amity last Friday in first-round action.

“This team relies on defense and it showed tonight,” said Nyssa Bulldog sophomore Syriah Trujillo. “We helped each other out when needed.”

The Bulldog defense took over the game in the third quarter, allowing Amity to put only 3 points on the board.

“This is the best we played all year,” said Nyssa senior Kelsey Tucker. “We overcame some early struggles in the game and made some adjustments for the second half.”

Facing a quick but undersized Warrior team, the Dawgs were first on the board after two free throws by Sailor Hartley with one minute, 30 seconds off the clock.

Amity kept pace with the Bulldogs, tying up the score at 9 points and as the first 8 minutes ended, Nyssa held a slim 13-11 margin.

After seeing the speed of the Warriors, Nyssa coach Jeremy Chamberlain pulled the press off and played half court ball early in the game.

After seeing the speed of the Warriors, Nyssa coach Jeremy Chamberlain pulled the press off and played half court ball early in the game.

The Warriors took their first lead of the game with only 16 seconds left in the half, but a long 3-point shot by Britney Arredondo with 5 seconds left gave the Bulldogs a 23-22 halftime lead.

As the final quarter started, Nyssa was up 35-25.

The Warriors did manage to pull to within 8 points in the final quarter, but as the buzzer sounded, Nyssa was once again headed to North Bend.

 “Sometimes, less is more when it comes to defense,” said Chamberlain. “We knew we could handle them defensively on our side of the court.”

Chamberlain said the play in the third quarter was the game.

“Sailor (Hartley) had a phenomenal third quarter,” Chamberlain said.

Hartley finished with a game high 18 points with 11 of those coming in the third quarter.

Back in quarterfinal play, the Dawgs face the top ranked team in the state, Salem Academy.

The Crusaders meet the Bulldogs after winning the PacWest Conference and sporting a 24-2 overall record. Since a tournament loss to Dayton on Dec. 30, Salem Academy has rolled to a 15-game win streak. 

Last season, Nyssa was in the same position, playing in quarterfinal play and dropping a 41-30 game to Dayton, the eventual runner up in state 3A play.

Nyssa and Salem Academy take the court on Thursday starting at 1 p.m. Live radio coverage of the matchup is available at osaa.org/radio-network/4626.