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While the Canby girls basketball team would manage to claw their way into the playoffs, earning the last available at-large bid in a regular-season finale win over Tigard, their storybook run would not last long as the Cougars fell to the No. 2-ranked Jesuit Crusaders, 47-31, in first-round action on Wednesday.
Canby (12-13, 5-9 Three Rivers League) kept the game close early on, taking a 6-5 lead over the home team Crusaders (23-3, 10-2 Metro League) after RayAnne Schedler’s jump shot in the opening minutes.
From that point, though, the Jesuit defense would put on the clamps. Canby’s offense would produce only six more points in the remainder of the half as the Crusaders jumped out to a 34-12 lead at halftime.
“Hats off to Jesuit, they are a solid team,” first-year Cougar head coach Ingrid McCoy said. “They shot the ball extremely well. I thought their defense was also very good, especially in the first half. They rotate well and apply enough pressure that keeps them unpredictable.”
In the second half, neither Jesuit nor the Cougars seemed to be able to put the ball in the basket. But while the Cougars were struggling to get things going on offense, they turned to the one thing that had been for them all season: defense.
When Canby fell down 45-19 at the end of the third quarter, it was clear that they would not be winning the game. There was no miraculous comeback to be had. But instead of rolling over, the Cougars fought hard.
In a fourth quarter that was symbolic of their effort all season, Canby outscored Jesuit 12-2 in the final frame of the season.
“This team absolutely played every play from start to finish,” McCoy said, “I am extremely proud of them. It shows a lot of character, heart, and commitment to their team which is going to be a big part of what we continue to do in the future.”
Kaylee Borntrager, playing in her final game as a Cougar, led the team with 13 points on the night, while underclassmen Schedler and MaKayla Ford commanded the glass with seven rebounds apiece. McCoy also commended star Allie Mead’s defense on Jesuit’s best shooter.
Mead, who picked up TRL Second Team All-League honors this past week, will continue to command the Cougars next year as they transition from the uber-competitive Three Rivers League to 5A. She will be joined by fellow starters McKenna Kraft, Schedler and Ford — a late-season addition to the starting lineup.
As for McCoy, Wednesday brought an end to a surprising first season for the first-year coach after being brought into the program in late fall.
“Coming in so late this fall was a challenge as this entire staff was new to the kids,” McCoy said, “Covid also made it challenging between illness, masks and limitations. All that being said, we have fantastic kids! I am proud of the progress of the entire program and very excited about the foundation we have laid for the future.”
McCoy and her squad will be ready for more action next year.
Photo courtesy Dan Brood/SB Live Oregon.
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