Girls end season with loss to Newport in league playoffs

The Sweet Home girls, down by 16 halfway through the fourth quarter, made a valiant attempt to come back but fell short to end their season with a league playoff loss at Newport, 48-39.

The Huskies kept the game close in the first quarter before starting to give ground in the second period. Leading by just a single, the Cubs began to grind away, scoring two baskets for every one by Sweet Home. Jenny Hamn accounted for 11 of the Huskies’ 14 points to keep the halftime score within reason at 21-14.

But the Huskies had no answer for Newport in the third quarter. With Amanda Craycraft attacking the basket, the Cubs found either Laura Luther open on the outside or Sam Moore posting up on the inside to post an insurmountable 18-point margin at the end of the third period.

The Sweet Home offense began to click in the fourth quarter, but Newport matched the Huskies basket for basket for four minutes. Sweet Home, with the aid of a number of three-point shots, closed the gap to within eight, but were forced to foul.

“We dug ourselves a hole,” coach John Barnes conceded. “Free throws killed us.”

In fact, free throw shooting was the difference in the game. Newport proved its superiority at the foul line, going 14 of 19 for the game compared to the Huskies’ nine of 24.

During that final period, Hamn chalked up eight more points for a game-high 21. Megan Rubidoux hit two three-pointers and Annie Whitfield netted five more as Sweet Home outmatched the Cubs 21-12 in that stretch. The Huskies scored more points in that quarter than they had for the entire game up to that point.

Hamn also recorded eight rebounds for the Huskies followed by five each for Whitfield and Paige Niemi, who ended her career with a four-point effort.

Hamn, who is contemplating playing at Chemeketa Community College next year, was at a loss to explain the third quarter, though she was proud of the Huskies final run.

“We came out not running our plays as well and missing shots,” she said. “It would have been a whole lot better if we could have come back a little more.”

Sweet Home compiled a 4-18 mark with its fourth-place finish in the league, which gave them a chance in the league playoffs. Despite the record, Barnes was pleased with the overall improvement and competitiveness of the team

“It was nice to be in the position we were in,” Barnes said. “It was a goal for us and the kids got us there.”

Barnes, who promoted teamwork and positive thinking, felt that the players accomplished that end.

“We stayed together and supported each other,” Barnes emphasized.

Sweet Home 7 7 4 21 39

Newport 8 13 15 12 48

Sweet Home: Hamn 21, Rubidoux 6, Whitfield 5, Niemi 4, Cole 2, Riggs 1

Newport: Craycraft 16, Luther 13, Moore 11, Johnson 4, Losier 2, Hogan 2