Visiting Pirates sink Lion Boys

Photo Courtesy – Sherry Zumwalt Photography

Following a stretch where the Cottage Grove boys basketball team won three out of four games in a five-day window, the Lions welcomed their first league opponent to town - the Marshfield Pirates. The Pirates ranked in the top three on the OSAA rankings and had beaten their previous three opponents by double digits.

Cottage Grove’s cold shooting to start dug them in a hole at the end of the first quarter that the Lions were never able to fully recover from. Marshfield was able to come out of the Lion’s den unscathed led by Mason Ainsworth’s 39 points and earned the win 59-46. Jayden Cameron and Brennen Murphy each had 15 points and combined for 30 of the Lions 46 total points on the night. 

“All credit to them, Marshfield is a good team,” said Head Coach Seth Hutchison. “I thought we came out a little flat. But I really liked how we responded. I thought we didn’t quit; we fought the whole way. We actually were plus two in the next three quarters. But I just told them to challenge themselves by, continuing to fight, and continuing to come together, and just continue to battle throughout the game. I was really happy with the way those last three quarters happened. But you know, the first quarter really got away from us.” 

Marshfield’s offense was clicking early, Ainsworth’s made jumper for the Pirates capped a 10-0 scoring run to open the game for the visiting team. That forced Cottage Grove to call a timeout at the five-minute mark in the first quarter. Carter Bascue got the first points for the Lions with a three-pointer while Cameron added another three in the following minutes. The Lions had one of their lowest scoring quarters on the season and were down 21-6 and the end of the first. 

Cottage Grove’s offense was able to get going in the second quarter led by Cameron and Murphy who combined for 13 points in the quarter. 

The Lions outscored the Pirates in the second quarter 15-13 but were still unable to make a significant dent in Marshfield’s lead going into halftime as the home team was down double digits 34-21.

“Our biggest focus in the second half was defending, we had to defend better,” said Hutchison. “And I thought we did that in the second half a lot better. I thought we locked up a little bit better in the second half and held them (Marshfield) to 59. We cut it to nine in the third quarter, but we couldn’t hit that big shot. I think we missed a couple and then and then they knocked one down and that kept it at a distance the rest of the way.” 

After the Pirates made seven three-pointers and shot over 46 percent from three-point range the Lions were able to slow them down in the second half. 

Cottage Grove started the third quarter strong and cut the lead to 10 for the first time since the first quarter after a three-point make by Bascue made the score 34-24 only a minute into the quarter. The Pirates remained patient on offense and ran their sets to get their lead back up to 13 with 2 and a half minutes remaining in the third. Murphy’s tip-in-off teammates Ty Kishen’s miss, and a pull-up jumper made by Cameron ended the third quarter for the Lions as they were down 48-34 going into the final quarter. 

Marshfield blew the game open in the final quarter after another Ainsworth bucket got their lead to 16. Murphy’s steal and one-handed slam followed by a pair of made free throws from Bascue got the Lions back within 13 with 2:57 to go. But another made three from the Pirates took the last wind out of the sails for the home team as Marshfield was able to close out the win 59-46. 

“I think we can learn a lot from this game,” said Hutchison. “Getting off to better starts is one of the big things we’ve talked about. And from day one we talked about how it’s going to be a fight night in and night out in our league. But we have to use this as an opportunity to shake the nerves and continue to push forward because every game is going to be a tough one.”

The Lions will not let one conference loss derail their post-season hopes - Cottage Grove will have another top-ranked opponent come to town as they look to knock off conference rival Junction City on Jan.21 at 5:45. 

Stat Leaders

Brennen Murphy 

15 points, 10 rebounds

Jayden Cameron 

15 points, 5 rebounds

Carter Bascue 

10 points, 9 rebounds

Ty Kishen 

6 points, 2 rebounds 

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