Girls Basketball Menu / Archvies
- Written by Bruce McCain
- Published on March 1, 2013
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Sarman's 37 Points Send #5 Bobcats to 2A Title Game Against #3 Regis
PENDLETON – Union rode a record-setting performance by its sensational sophomore, Keesha Sarman, straight into Saturday’s OSAA 2A girls championship game. Sarman scored 24 second-half points, and 37 for the game, in the Bobcat’s 64-51 win over BMC rival Heppner in Friday’s early semifinal. In one of the more remarkable girls performances in recent memory, Sarman added nine rebounds and seven steals to her scoring performance.
The Bobcats will face 2-time defending champion Regis, which served notice that the Rams will not give up the quest for three straight 2A titles without a fight. In Friday’s late semifinal, #3 Regis led #2 Western Mennonite 32-3 at the half, holding the Pioneers to three free throws and without a field goal until the third quarter. The Pioneers regrouped to build momentum for Saturday’s 3rd place game with a 29-15 second half to keep the final score a respectable 47-32.
With a 3A title in 2010, and the last two 2A titles, Regis will be seeking a fourth consecutive small class girls basketball championship. But Saturday night’s championship session should be packed and loud as BMC fans put aside their regular season differences and are expected to turn out in force to support Union girls and Irrigon boys against their Westside opponents.
#5 Union 64 – #6 Heppner 51
Meeting for the fourth time this season, these two BMC rivals finished 10-4 in regular season play, splitting their regular season series, with Union taking the BMC district playoff game. For at least a half on Friday, Heppner looked to even the series at 2-2 with a storng 14-8 first period and 28-25 halftime lead.
But Sarman took over a game like few players have ever done in this tournament, single-handily outscoring the Mustangs 24-23 in the second half. The game was still a toss-up after three periods, with Union nursing a 45-42 lead. But the Bobcats rolled up a 20-9 final period to push the margin to a comfortable 13 points at the buzzer.
Sarman finished 10-18 from the field and 17 of 24 from the free throw line. Her 37 points broke the 2A girls’ record set by Pele Gianotti in 2011, while her free throws attempted and made fell one short of Gianotti’s, which was set in a 3 OT game. Sarman’s numbers have not been equaled in 2A in a 32-minute regulation tournament game.
With the win Union improves to 21-7 and will represent the BMC against two-time defending champion Regis. Heppner (20-7) will play Saturday afternoon in the 3rd-5th place game against #2 Western Mennonite (24-5).
The Mustangs got a huge double-double frrm Baily Bennett, who scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. Alana Wilson added 13 points before fouling out. But Baily’s numbers were simply footnotes in the shadow of Sarman’s exemplary performance.
Regis 47 – Western Mennonite 32
Earlier on Friday, Union’s Keesha Sarman treated fans to one of Pendleton’s most memorable individual performances with a 37-point effort to lead her team to the championship game. In the late semifinal, the two-time 2A defending champion Regis Rams turned in an unforgettable first half effort, holding TRC opponent Western Mennonite to just three free throws and no field goals for an entire half. In a game many thought would favor the Pioneers, the Rams apparently had a score to settle with the TRC rivals who had defeated Regis twice at the end of the season.
A combination of stifling man-to-man defense, foul trouble and first-game nerves in a second game all conspired to doom the Pioneers almost from the outset. The one-two punch of sophomore guard Jenna Christenson and freshman post Emma Gibb never got on track, with Gibb sent to the bench in the second period with her third personal foul and Christenson committing six of the Pioneers’ 16 first half turnovers.
Defensively, Western Mennonite came out in a triangle-two that they showed to Enterprise the night before. With Gibb and 6-2 sophomore Emily Loyd anchoring the triangle, Christenson guarded Regis’s Becca Lorenz, while Kari Louthan was assigned to Jesse Morris. The plan worked to the extent that Morris was held scoreless in the half and Lorenz managed just five points. Meanwhile, Beth Lorenz enjoyed the freedom and punished the Pio’s with 17 first half points.
When the teams headed to their locker rooms with Regis leading 32-3, the only remaining questions would be the final margin of victory, and whether Western Mennonite could regroup to salvage the remainder of a game-and-a-half season. Coach Robby Gilliams’ young team that starts three sophomores and two freshman responded well in the second half, outscoring Regis 29-15. But the damage was done Regis was heading to the title game for the third year in a row at Pendleton and fourth overall. Western Mennonite would be heading to Saturday’s 3rd-5th place game against Heppner.
Beth Lorenz finished with 23 points, giving her a two-day total of 35. And for the second straight game, no other Ram scored in double figures. Considering all but three of Western Mennonite’s points came in the second half, those numbers were decent considering only two periods’ worth. Gibb scored finished with nine points and 12 rebounds, giving her 32 rebounds in two games. The tournament record is 44, set by Chiloquin’s Tiffany Rich in 2007. That record is in jeopardy Saturday if Gibb can stay on the floor.
Christenson finished with nine points and seven turnovers, to go with Thursday’s seven points and eight turnovers. Needless to say, the Pioneer sophomore point guard cannot maintain a 1-to-1 point-to-turnover ratio without bad results. If Friday’s second half response is a sign of things to come, Western Mennonite should give Heppner all it can handle Saturday afternoon. But if the first half repeats, the Pioneers will have year to ponder what it takes to play consistently at Pendleton.