After a sixth-place finish at the state tournament, a number of seniors will graduate from the Bulldogs. (Enterprise file photo)
COOS BAY – For the second consecutive year, the Nyssa girls basketball team picked up the Eastern Oregon League championship. For the second year, the Bulldogs made it through round one of state playoffs with a home win and headed to the coast.
And, for the second consecutive year, Nyssa returns home with a sixth-place finish among the 40 teams in the 3A division.
The Bulldogs started quarterfinal play on Thursday with a 51-19 loss to Salem Academy, the top ranked team in the tournament.
Shooting only 1-for-14 from the 3-point line and scoring two points in the second quarter, the Bulldogs fell behind early.
Salem Academy put in 20 points off Nyssa turnovers and used the team’s inside strength, scoring 26 points in the paint.
In the loss, Kierra Hernandez had 8 points and was named player of the game for Nyssa.
“They are just a better team than us,” said Coach Jeremy Chamberlain.
Chamberlain received a compliment from the Salem Academy coach later in the tournament.
“He came and told me the game against us took it out of his team physically,” Chamberlain said. “It appeared to be a lopsided win, but the game was physical.”
Dropping to the consolation bracket, Nyssa met the Clatskanie Tigers on Friday. The Bulldogs took a 60-50 win.
Judging solely by statistics, the win should have been a loss. The Tigers scored 23 points off Bulldog turnovers. Clatskanie outscored Nyssa in the paint 28-18. The Tigers picked up 6 points off fast breaks compared to only 2 for the Dawgs. Nyssa failed to post a bucket in the final 2 minutes of the game.
But, stats don’t win a game. After a tight first half with Nyssa leading by two points, the Bulldog defense held the Tigers to only 9 points in the third quarter while putting up 14. Nyssa then added 19 points in the final 8 minutes to take the win.
Hernandez picked up her second player of the game award for scoring 19 points and picking up 10 rebounds. Sailor Hartley added 16 points and Britney Arredondo ended the game with 11.
The Dawgs did pick up points off free throws as the Tigers had 21 fouls. From the line, Nyssa was 13-for-20 for 65 percent.
“It was a fast-paced game with a lot of possessions for both teams,” Chamberlain said. “They started out pressing us, but as we were a lot deeper on the bench, they could not keep it up. It was a good bounce back win for us considering the Salem Academy game.”
On Saturday, Nyssa took the court against Coquille in a battle for fourth place.
Failing to score in the third quarter, the Bulldogs fell to the Red Devils, 36-28 to finish.
The Nyssa offense again struggled, shooting just 8-for-49 from the field and a measly 2-for-21 from the 3-point arc.
Sailor Hartley picked up player of the game for Nyssa after putting in 7 points in the loss. Hernandez scored 8.
“Coquille and us are very similar teams as both have big girls inside and quick guards,” Chamberlain said. “The game could have gone either way, but we had poor shooting. It was disappointing not to win that game and bring home fourth place. It was not due to lack of effort.”
Nyssa ends the season 17-11 overall and a league title. Graduation will see the departure of Hernandez, Sailor Hartley, Britney Arredondo, Mickena Ausman and Kelsey Tucker.
“We have a lot of experience coming back next year and a good group of sophomores,” said Chamberlain. “I think we are in a good spot.”
Discussing next season, Chamberlain says the league will see some changes due to graduations on some teams and experience coming to other teams.
“Burns will be the favorite coming in as young players this year will take the court with some experience next year,” said Chamberlain. “Riverside will also be in the hunt with many returning players coming back.”
Chamberlain says both Nyssa and Vale will be right there come league tournament time, but both face losees due to graduation with inexperience taking the floor next year.
“Next year will be interesting for sure,” he said. “There will be some new names at the top.”