One of the best seasons in Ashland High girls basketball history ended in frustration Saturday.
The Grizzlies struggled to hit shots, both from the field and from the free throw line, and had no answer for Gabe Johnson in a 49-39 loss to Corvallis in the OSAA Class 5A consolation finals at the Chiles Center.
The setback, Ashland's second in three games here following a 24-game winning streak leading up to the tournament, cost the Grizzlies the fourth-place trophy, which would have represented the highest finish in team history. Instead, Ashland settled for sixth, still the second-best finish for a program that took fifth at the same site two years ago.
"I thought we played hard the whole time, we just lacked that passion that we played with on Wednesday [in the state quarterfinals]," Ashland first-year head coach Steve Farley said. "We brought a little bit in the fourth quarter there, but it's too late then."
Ashland shot 36 percent (12-for-33) from the field and 57 percent (13-for-23) from the free throw line against the Spartans, who took their first lead of the game near the end of the first quarter and never trailed again. Johnson, a 5-foot-6 junior guard, hit 8 of 16 shots en route to a game-high 22 points. She also had six assists and four steals.
Ashland (25-4) was led again by junior post Brenna Heater, who had 20 points and 11 rebounds. But no other Grizzlie scored in double figures as the Southern Sky Conference champions were held below 40 points for just the third time this season.
"We're tired, and it's hard to bring it that many times," Farley said. "We're 30 games into the season, but I was happy with how hard we worked."
Heater's third straight outstanding performance was rewarded with a spot on the all-tournament team. She led everybody in points per game (24.3), rebounds per game (12.3) and blocks per game (4.3).
The Spartans' lead fluctuated between seven and 10 points throughout most of the second half. Heater's 3-pointer with 1:43 to go cut the deficit to six at 45-39, but Corvallis answered with Kayla Laney's inside jumper from the right wing. Heater missed a — at the other end and the Spartans played keep-away and held Ashland scoreless the rest of the way to clinch Corvallis' third fourth-place trophy and first since 1989.
The Spartans finished the season with five wins in their last six games; three of those wins came against SSC teams &
Mazama to open the playoffs, Crater in the consolation semis and Ashland.
Only two Grizzlies &
guard Heidi Siebenlist and forward Rachel Pavlich &
will graduate off a roster that included six juniors and four sophomores. Siebenlist, who transferred to Ashland in 2006, went out in style. In one of her best games of the season, the scrappy 5-6 workhorse scored eight points on — of 4 shooting and pulled down five rebounds.
"I'm really disappointed that we lost, obviously," Siebenlist said. "I think we hustled, but we just didn't have fire.
"It was a good team to be on and a good experience. Of course you always want higher, but (sixth) is a great place to get."
"I'm going to miss it a lot because basketball was a really big part of my life," she said, wiping away tears. "I'm actually really proud of all the girls. We worked together as a team really well and there's nothing that we could have done differently."
At Portland, Ore. (Chiles Center)
CORVALLIS 49, ASHLAND 39
JOHNSON, Gabe 8-16 5-10 22; ADAMS, Alaina 4-13 3-4 11; SCHROCK, Katie 3-7 0-0 9; LANEY, Kayla 2-5 0-0 4; GERNER, Syree 1-3 0-0 2; SEITZ, Leah 0-1 1-2 1; LANEY, Karly 0-0 0-0 0; REDBERG, Whitney 0-0 0-0 0; WESTLY, Taylor 0-1 0-1 0; McGOWAN, Jessica 0-0 0-0 0; HENDRICKSON, Marisa 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-46 9-17 49.
— — Heater
HEATER, Brenna 6-12 7-11 20; SIEVENLIST, Heidi 3-4 1-2 8; GIDA, Allison 1-6 4-9 6; McKINNIS, Kelsey 2-11 1-1 5; PETITT, Koko 0-0 0-0 0; DELCARLO, Natalie 0-0 0-0 0; CONTRERAS, Xenia 0-0 0-0 0; ZARE, Layla 0-0 0-0 0; SILBOWITZ, Sarah 0-0 0-0 0; PAVLICH, Rachel 0-0 0-0 0; VAN VLECK, Drew 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-33 13-23 39.
3-point goals--Corvallis 4-13 (SCHROCK, Katie 3-7; JOHNSON, Gabe 1-1;
GERNER, Syree 0-1; ADAMS, Alaina 0-4), Ashland 2-9 (HEATER, Brenna 1-3; SIEVENLIST, Heidi 1-1; McKINNIS, Kelsey 0-4; GIDA, Allison 0-1). Fouled out--Corvallis-None, Ashland-SIEVENLIST, Heidi. Rebounds--Corvallis 25 (ADAMS, Alaina 8), Ashland 35 (HEATER, Brenna 11). Assists--Corvallis 8 (JOHNSON, Gabe 6), Ashland 8 (GIDA, Allison 3). Total fouls--Corvallis 18, Ashland 19. Technical fouls--Corvallis-None, Ashland-None.
Grizzlies settle for sixth place