Girls Basketball Menu / Archvies
- Written by Bruce McCain
- Published on March 3, 2013
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Regis' Three (Four)-Peat Complete With 60-48 Win Over #5 Union
PENDLETON – Regis got 51 points from three starters as the #3 Rams defeated #5 Union, 60-48, in the 2013 2A girls championship game before a capacity crowd at the Convention Center. The Bobcats of the BMC were making the school’s first-ever appearance in the title game, while Regis expects to be there every year. But Union (21-7) gave the TRC powerhouse all it could handle and may have made this game close if its star player stayed on the court for more than 17 minutes.
With the win, Regis (25-3) secured its third consecutive 2A title since dropping from 3A in the last reclassification cycle. Counting a 3A championship in 2010, Saturday’s win makes four consecutive small class championships. With no seniors in this year’s roster, Regis will bring its entire team back next season. A 2A four-peat is already on the Rams’ agenda.
In the earlier 3rd place game, #2 Western Mennonite (24-5) regrouped from a disastrous first half the night before to knock off #6 Heppner (20-7), 56-46, to take home the 3rd place trophy. As young as Regis may be, the Pioneers are younger, starting three sophomores and two freshmen. The 2013 2A girls’ tournament was truly the year of the underclassmen, with a very talented group of girls players poised to return to Pendleton in 2014.
#3 Regis 60 - #5 Union 48
The 2013 championship game pitted a small school juggernaut against a school that had never won a game at Pendleton until this tournament. But Union had sensational sophomore Keesha Sarman, who set a tournament scoring record Friday night with 37 points. One could assume that the Regis coaching staff would do everything possible to ensure that would not happen Saturday night. But Jason and Jeff Koehnke did not have to worry in the first half when Sarman picked up her second personal foul with 3:56 to play in the first period and Regis leading 10-2.
Union coach Tessa Nicholson took a huge risk by benching Sarman for the rest of the first half. Knowing what Regis did to Western Mennonite the night before, the gamble could have resulted in another Ram first half blowout. But the rest of the Bobcats stepped up in Sarman’s absence. Trailing by eight when Sarman left the game, Union went toe-to-toe with the Rams and trailed at the half, 24-19. The gamble had worked. Union was within five, and Sarman would start the second half.
Back-to-back jumpers by Sarman brought Union within one, 26-25, early in the third, sending the mostly BMC crowd wild. But that also got Regis’ attention. The Rams ripped off a 13-0 run to take a 39-25 lead, from which the Bobcats never recovered, despite a wild fourth quarter that saw Union outscore Regis, 21-19.
Sarman finished with 18 points, all but one in the second half, in just 17 minutes of play time. Nicholson knew, as did the Koehnke’s, that Sarman is capable of taking over a game at any time, as she demonstrated with 24 second half points on Friday. Sarman finished the tournament with 72 points, just three shy of the tournament record set by Glendale’s Gretchen Owens in 2008. There is little doubt Sarman would have sailed past that record had she played at least three full periods Saturday. Picking up the slack with Sarman benched was senior Dani Sturm, whose 13 points kept Union in the game and earned her the ODS Player-of-the-Game for the Bobcats.
Regis used a deadly trio of juniors to finish off the ‘Cats, with Jesse Morris scoring a game-high 21 points, and Becca and Beth Lorenz scoring 15 apiece. But it was how each scored that made life tough for Union. Becca Lorenz made 4 of nine 3-point attempts; Beth Lorenz did her work inside, hitting 7 of 11 from the floor, while Morris sank 12 of 14 free throw attempts. Next year these three will be seniors looking to continue the Regis emerging dynasty. Yet the Rams’ biggest obstacle may be in the Tri-River Conference itself.
#2 Western Mennonite 56 - #6 Heppner 46
After being held without a field goal for an entire half on Friday night, the question for Western Mennonite coach Robbie Gilliam was how his talented but very young team would finish the last game and a half of the 2013 season. His Pioneers responded well in the second half in a lost cause against Regis. Then in Saturday’s 3rd place game, Western Mennonite again displayed the poise and maturity these youngsters bring to every game.
Sophomore Jenna Christenson (14 points), and freshmen Emma Gibb (13 points) and Kari Louthan (11 points) showed Pendleton fans what to expect from this team for the next three years. Add post Emily Loyd’s six points, 16 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 blocks – all from a 6-2 sophomore – and Gilliam had to have been pleased with how 2013 eventually ended.
For Christenson, Saturday’s game finally saw her more than double her points-to-turnover ratio as she ran the Pioneer offense effectively and handled Heppner’s pressure with relative ease. Gibb came into the tournament as one of the most highly touted freshman post players in years at this level. The just-turned-15-year old did not disappoint, scoring 35 points to go with 41 rebounds in the 3-day event. As with the case of Union’s Keesha Sarman, the only thing keeping those numbers from increasing was early foul trouble that limited her playing time.
Heppner seniors Alana Wilson and Baily Bennet closed out their careers and a strong tournament for each with Wilson finishing with 14 points and Bennett with 11 points and 9 rebounds. Junior Blake Greenup came off the bench to score 10 points as she will look to moving into the Mustang’s starting lineup next season.