The Lady Lions basketball team squared off against their toughest opponent of the season on Jan. 14 as the fifth-ranked Marshfield Pirates made their way to town. The Pirates were looking to continue their eight-game winning streak as the Lions were trying to snap a two-game skid.
Marshfield’s 1-3-1 defense caused issues for Cottage Grove’s offense who couldn’t keep pace with the Pirates offensive output as the visitors ultimately kept their winning streak alive and came away with a 53-31 victory.
“I liked that we showed more patience in our offense,” said Head Coach Erin Royse. “And we were more disciplined in our running our offense than we have in the past. What was challenging for us is that we just didn’t have the effort from everybody, and we weren’t playing at the same level as Marshfield, they played a great game, very well executed and they went hard. We didn’t match that so, that’s on me I need to get them playing at a higher level.”
The Pirates opened the game with their suffocating 1-3-1 defense that held the Lions to only two points in the opening quarter. Halle DeGarlais scored the lone bucket for Cottage Grove in the first quarter after finding an open spot in the zone. Marshfield made two three-pointers and ended the quarter with a 12-2 lead over the home squad.
Cottage Grove’s offense started to come to life in the second quarter after Teanna Child and DeGarlais got points on back-to-back Lion possessions to cut the Marshfield lead to 14-7. Marshfield’s Charlie Dea knocked her second made three of the half to get the lead back up to 19-7 for the visitors. Gracie Arnold made a pair of free throws before the half came to an end to keep the Lady Lions in the striking distance; down 19-9 at halftime.
“Their 1-3-1 does a really good job of covering a lot of area,” said Royse. “And we tried to force passes that we talked about not forcing and we did it anyway and threw right to the team in purple. That again comes back on me, and we need to be more disciplined in what we’re doing and how we execute. I think during the game, especially in the second quarter, we started to make adjustments. We just didn’t hit shots, and we’ll have games like that. But we need to execute better on the offensive end so that we’re making our layups and making the shots that we have that are open.”
The Lions were able to come out of the halftime break refocused and had their best quarter on offense so far in the game. Jaylee Lima and Child each made a three for Cottage Grove, but Marshfield’s Tatum Montiel started to show her dominance after seeing reduced minutes in the first half because of foul trouble. Montiel scored the first points in the third quarter for the Pirates as they broke open the game in the second half and led 37-19 at the end of the third.
Montiel kept rolling in the fourth quarter scoring four more points in the first minutes of the fourth quarter and Marshfield grew their lead on the home team. Arnold scored eight points in the last few minutes of the game for Cottage Grove, but Marshfield had a comfortable cushion and was able to close the curtain on the Lions for the 53-31 win.
“There are always good things you’re doing and practice that translates to the games,” said Royse. “And we need to continue doing those little things. We also need to raise our level of intensity and bring that to an entire game, not just a few plays here and there. Or when we start to get down and need to come back, we need to play consistently for an entire game. We’re going to a lot of the same type of personnel as far as their guards when it comes to Junction City. And they’ll run a similar defense as far as they work hard, they’re where they need to be their disciplines, so we need to execute on the offensive end block out on defense.”
Coach Royse alluded to their future matchup with the Junction City Tigers who are another top 5 ranked team in the OSAA standings. Cottage Grove will welcome their conference rival to the Lion’s den on Jan. 21 at 7:15 p.m.
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