Warriors and Eagles Clash in Battle of Top Teams

With the North Douglas girls’ basketball team off to a strong start to its season, the team faced off with the Damascus Christian Eagles last week in a matchup of top 1A teams; the Eagles were ranked No. 3 in the OSAA and the Warriors were ranked No. 2. 

These two teams met in the state semifinals in 2022, with the Eagles winning a close one, 39-44. Many of the players on both hoops teams also squared off for the 1A volleyball state championship in November, where the Eagles took home the win. 

Last week, North Douglas came in looking for a measure of retribution. 

The game was tense early on, with a playoff-like atmosphere surrounded by a near full capacity crowd. However, the grandeur of the game didn’t shake the Eagles, who built an early 7-2 lead. But North Douglas came roaring back after buckets from sophomore Brooklyn Cyr and senior Lailah Ward that brought the Warriors to within a free throw, 7-6.

At that point, the Eagles showed frustration as they got into early foul trouble. Cyr and Ward continued to team up to give the Warriors a 10-7 lead before Damascus Christian sophomore Ayla Pontius hit a straightaway 3-pointer to tie the game 10-10 to end of the first quarter.

The Warriors continued their wave of momentum in the second quarter as senior Savannah Harkins and junior Maddy Vaughn scored to put the Warriors ahead 15-10. But the Eagles were not ready to cave, using an 8-0 run to take back the lead and ultimately hold control of the game at halftime, 25-21. However, during Damascus Christian’s run, sophomore Ava Mai became a problem for the Warriors, draining several 3-pointers. 

The third quarter saw an intense exchange of baskets, but the Warriors weren’t able to regain the lead as the Eagles took a narrow 36-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter. 

However, to start the final period, North Douglas looked like it was ready to take control. Senior Brooklyn Williams scored and gave the Warriors the lead after a beautiful assist from Cyr. Then, North Douglas moved ahead 39-36 Lailah Ward scored in the post. 

But defending the 3-pointer became a major challenge for North Douglas as Mai drained a trio of three 3-pointers in the fourth quarter for the Eagles. The Warriors weren’t able to stop the outside shooting, many times exchanging twos for threes with Damascus Christian. 

“We left 25 [Mai] open and she continued to hit and it didn’t feel like we were rotating as quick as we needed to in the back end,” said Warriors coach Jody Cyr. “But that’s what happens when your legs give. We had a girl get hurt [Graycie Rodgers] early, which kind of took us out of our normal rotation. It was a fast-paced game. Towards the end we were slowed down.” 

Despite holding an early fourth period lead, the Warriors ultimately fell to the Eagles, 57-45. The team played Mohawk on Tuesday night, winning 59-16. Next up for the Warriors (12-3)  is a match-up with Powers tonight (Jan. 20) at 6 p.m. in a return to league play. 

Elsewhere, the Creswell Bulldogs girls basketball team played Dayton at Harrisburg High School on Monday. Creswell earned a 63-51-win, rebounding after a loss to Pleasant Hill. The team hosted Siuslaw on Wednesday (after press deadlines) and travel to Sisters tonight (Jan. 20).

The Bulldogs are 9-4 overall with a 2-1 league record.

As for the Cottage Grove Lions girls basketball team, they had a 10-day stretch with no games, but returned for one final non-league game against Elmira on Tuesday, where they lost 30-43. The team (3-12) opens league play tonight (Jan. 20) at home against Marshfield, beginning at 7:15. p.m.