Molalla defeats girls 45-28 in tie breaker

Molalla 45

Sweet Home 28

The Molalla Indians defeated the Husky girls 45-28 to break a tie for fifth place on Feb. 22 and end the Huskies’ basketball season.

“It started off even throughout the first half,” Coach Jason Gorham said. The game was tied 7-7 at the end of the first quarter, and the Huskies were down by only three at halftime, 19-16.

Molalla pushed its lead to six by the end of the third quarter, 31-25.

“We had some opportunities in the third quarter where we made mistakes at key times or missed shots we should have made,” Coach Gorham said. “It just kept us from getting a run and going ahead.”

Molalla hit some tough shots in the fourth quarter sparking its final run, Coach Gorham said.

Ashlee Flanagan led the Huskies with 11 points. Chelsea Hackworth added six; Hannah Swanson, five; Tabbi Trahan, three; Dani Thireault, two; and Korina Thompson, two.

O’Grady led Molalla scoring with 16 points. Cunningham added 12.

“We started off (the season) with a couple of wins,” Coach Gorham said. “I think fundamentally, we’ve gotten better.”

The Huskies would only win one more game on the season, against Molalla in their first league game. They played several close games, but the league includes three teams that were ranked top 10 in the state all season long, Cascade, North Marion and Stayton. Sisters ended up making state playoffs in that conference environment.

“There’ve been no easy nights,” Coach Gorham said. Cascade has a good shot at the state title, and North Marion has a tough game ahead against Tillamook.

The Huskies graduate only one senior this year, Hackworth, who was probably the most consistent player this year, Coach Gorham said, “so we bring a lot back next year. We’ll have five seniors next year, which should give us a good core, who understands what we’re doing.”

Following this season and the 25-game summer season, Coach Gorham expects they’ll be able to apply what they’ve learned this year more to game situations.

“We’ll have a chance to work on some things and make some adjustments we need to make,” Coach Gorham said. “Swanson and Flanagan both had some real big games this year. Typically, as kids get older, they get more consistent, so next year, I expect them to play more consistently at that high level.”

Several other girls also played well, including Thireault who really helped out defensively, Coach Gorham said. Nicki Aerni was probably one the Huskies’ best passers and led in assists, “and Tabbi really improved her ball handling. As the season progressed, she became one of our better players at breaking through the press.”

Sara Brocard improved at the post position and was able to execute her moves to score four to six points per game toward the end of the season, Coach Gorham said. “I think it’s a pretty strong core to bring back next year.”

All-League Selections

Senior Chelsea Hackworth was named to the all-conference third team.

“She was really consistent,” Coach Jason Gorham said. She scored eight to 10 points per game and grabbed four or five rebounds with a couple steals and assists. Every night, he could expect that of her, and she worked hard on defense, especially away from the ball.

Junior Hannah Swanson received honorable mention, and she was probably the Huskies best on-ball defender, Coach Gorham said. She led team scoring at 9.3 points per game.

“She really helped us to be able to handle defensive pressure,” Coach Gorham said. Much of the time, other teams had to adjust their press and defense because they had such a hard time trapping her, opening up opportunities on offense.