After a first quarter scoring surge, the Elkton girls basketball team was able to cruise to a 58-41 victory over Alsea on the final day of the McKenzie 1A Hoops Classic last Saturday. But while the team’s lead hovered around 15 points for the final three quarters, not everyone was at ease.
“I didn’t feel comfortable the whole game,” said Elkton head coach Rob Parker.
The Elks (5-6) and Wolverines (4-6) traded buckets in the opening minutes before an Elkton timeout spurred the team to a 10-0 run to finish out the quarter. Throughout the first quarter, sharp-shooter Aspyn Luzier hit three three-pointers to spark the team’s offense. Luzier finished with a game-high 17 points.
“It just opens up the middle more,” Parker said of Luzier’s shooting touch. “We’ll run plays for her and we have counters if they do pick her up. And so it allows us to do other things, too.”
The rest of the game ebbed and flowed between the Wolverines looking poised to make a rally and Elkton coming up with a bucket to keep their sizable lead. Alsea would break the Elkton press, but miss the lay-up. Elkton’s defense would force a turnover and then allow easy buckets.
“A quarter looked good but I think we just kind of put it in cruise control after that we let them back into it and then we pick it back up a little bit,” said Parker.
Ultimately, the Elkton defense helped secure the victory as the team came up with 14 steals. The Wolverines finished the day with 30 turnovers. Leading the way for the Elks, on both sides of the ball, was Kieryn Carnes who finished with 14 points, seven steals, six assists and five rebounds.
“Kieryn did a really good job. She did miss a lot of layups but she was doing a good job breaking the press and finding teammates,” said Parker.
Margaret Byle added nine points while Alexis Halstead finished with eight points and eight rebounds.
Earlier in the week the Elks defeated McKenzie 59-43. Luzier finished with 25 points, including seven made threes. Carnes added in 15 points. On Friday, the Elks lost to Hosanna Christian 55-47. Sadie Olson had 11 points while Byle had 10.
“A lot of good experience. All the teams we saw here were good. And even Hosanna, we got to do a lot of in-game situations,” said Parker. “We had it cut to three a couple times just because we were fouling. We had to foul, we were fouling, they were missing. We were getting rebounds, coming down running our plays and scoring. And we just couldn’t quite get over the jump but it was right there. So that was good.”
The Elks have now wrapped up their non-league schedule and will begin a five-game home stand starting with Yoncalla on Friday night. Heading into league, Parker’s message to the team is a simple one.
“Just get better,” he said. “Get better every game, right? Nothing special.”