Good news, bad news for girls BB

It was the proverbial case of good news, bad news for the Sweet Home girls basketball team last week.

For good news, the Huskies played their best game of the year, according to coach Jason Gorham, against a tough Newport team, winning 57-45 after an excellent shooting night.

For bad news, the basket grew very small for the Huskies as they lost to Banks in a physical contest, 36-24.

In the Newport game, the Cubs came out on fire, scoring on their first three attempts. But for every shot Newport made, Sweet Home had the answer, tossing down three buckets on their own first three possessions. From there, the Huskies gradually increased their lead, converting often whether in the half court offense, in transition, or off offensive rebounds. For the night, the Huskies shot 50 percent.

“Our girls started to see what they were doing and started making adjustments on their own,” said Gorham. “We started to take away some of those easier shots that they got. That’s why we were able to pull away.”

It was truly a team effort. Eight people scored points. Eight people had assists, six with two or more. Eight people had their hands involved in steals. Everybody rebounded. And they made the most of their opportunities. With that team effort, the Huskies’ lead was never in jeopardy as they led by as much as 17 in the fourth quarter.

“Having eight or nine people, it’s hard to talk about having depth,” said Gorham. “But when you can use nine players and not have to worry about losing anything, then you have depth. We can still go out and play the same game even with our bench on the floor.”

The intensity level was high, and Hannah Swanson, who had twelve points and was in on four steals from her point guard position, thought the layoff may have had something to do with that.

“We didn’t practice one whole week,” said Swanson. “We sat at home and did nothing. When we came back, we were raring to go and full of energy.”

Kendra Greene, Sweet Home’s leading scorer, was one of the Huskies full of energy. She shot 10 for 14 from the field for her game high 20 points but contributed in every aspect of the game. However, she was quick to deflect the attention to the team’s effort.

“Everyone was at the top of their game,” said Greene, noting that this victory was an important one. “whenever you beat somebody that beat a team in our league, it looks better.”

For Gorham, it was a game that took his breath away with the pace at the beginning of the game.

“I didn’t know if we could keep it up,” said Gorham. “But we played both ends of the floor for four quarters. We never had a big letdown.”

That is until the following Friday. The game against Banks was dramatically different. Neither team shot well from beginning to end. After scoring 18 points in the first quarter against Newport, the Huskies didn’t reach that score until a minute into the fourth quarter. Instead of shooting 50 percent, they shot 22 percent from the floor and 43 percent from the line.

“We had trouble getting any kind of rhythm going because we were getting bumped every time we went to the basket,” said Gorham. “It took us out of our game and made it difficult for us to get anything positive going.”

Banks put intermittent full court pressure that caused some Husky turnovers, but they simply seemed to have lost the energy they had just three days earlier. They resorted to dribbling in the offense rather than passing and running through the offense crisply.

Even with all that, after trailing by nine in the fourth quarter, the Huskies made one last stab after Ashley Wall and Nicki Aerni put together back to back baskets to draw them to within five at the six minute mark. They held onto that hope until there was three and a half minutes to go following two free throws by Swanson.

But then the floodgates opened. Banks made four points off of transition when the Huskies failed to get back and then scored 4 more when the Huskies’ gas tank seemed empty.

Now they must get ready for league play, and they have to do that without the services of Rachel Gaskey, who hurt her hand in a non-related accident. She missed the Banks game and will be out two more weeks. Despite that and the letdown loss, Gorham thinks they are ready for conference action.

“Our conditioning is coming back after the long break,” said Gorham. “We saw what we are capable of doing in the Newport game. We just had a little bump in the road at Banks.”

Now comes the real deal, and Gorham expects the Huskies to be competitive in a league that is tightly bunched, other than maybe Cascade.

“It’s going to be a fight to the end,” stated Gorham. “We’re going to have to be prepared every game.”

The season starts on the road at Molalla on Tuesday and then the Huskies will try to take a bite out of Cascade on Friday at home.