Despite the loss, the Beavers celebrate their first tourney since 2003
PORTLAND - The best Beaverton girls basketball season in nearly a decade ended a day too soon on Friday.
The Beavers, the Metro League runners-up, lost their second straight game at the Class 6A state tournament on Friday, dropping a 52-51 decision to St. Mary's at the Rose Garden and seeing their 2010-11 season come to an end in the process.
As disappointed as they were with the loss, it could not take away the Beavers' pride in their exceptional year. Indeed, Beaverton opened the year with seven straight wins, put together another eight consecutive victories, and later, won back-to-back playoff games to earn a berth in the eight team Class 6A state tournament.
'I think it was the bonding, and we really worked hard outside the season to get where we are today,' said Beaverton senior guard Olivia Cook, who had nine points and three steals against St. Mary's. 'We put in the time.'
'I think it was the way our team bonded and how everybody cared for each other,' agreed sophomore guard Alexis Montgomery, who added 10 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals against the Blues. 'Over the course of the year, everybody started knowing what each individual player could do.'
The Beavers started fast on Friday morning, ripping off six straight points to take the lead in the first quarter, and pulling ahead 10-5 when Montgomery scored the final points of the period. Beaverton's defense played a big part in that run too, holding the Blues to 2-of-10 shooting from the floor and forcing seven turnovers.
But St. Mary's righted itself in the second quarter, got points from seven different players in the period, and outscored the Beavers 19-10 to pull ahead 24-20 at the half. Zoie Sheng had five points in the quarter for St. Mary's and Taelor Ross four, while the Beavers went just 5-of-13 from the field.
The Beavers got back to even thanks to back-to-back jumpers by Montgomery in the first 1:05 of the third quarter, and led by as many as four points in the period before seeing the Blues tie the contest at 34-34 on a basket by Caitlyn McCutcheon with 1:05 to go in the stanza.
And that was all just precursor to a wild fourth quarter that saw the two teams battle through five lead changes and two ties, with the Beavers' edge cresting at 48-42 when Marissa Rakestraw knocked down two free throws with 2:52 left in the contest.
But Beaverton couldn't hold its edge. While the Beavers missed their last six shots from the field and made 3-of-4 free throws in the final 1:38, the Blues went 4-of-5 from the floor in the game's last 2:40. Sha'Nice Storey did most of the damage in that stretch, knocking down three shots (including a three-pointer from the top of the key), while Nae Torregano added a 'three' of her own to make it 52-51 with 55 seconds to go.
But Beaverton's Nicole Hartzog, Ronnie Jones and Olivia Cook all came up empty in the final 30 seconds and St. Mary's escaped with the victory.
'It was the little things that cost us this game,' Montgomery said.
'St. Mary's is a good team,' Cook said.
Rakestraw led the Beavers with 14 points, eight rebounds and two steals, Hartzog had nine points and eight rebounds, while Justine Rennekamp added four points, two boards, two assists and two steals.
Storey went 8-of-15 from the field (including 2-of-6 on 'threes') to lead all scorers with 21 points. Sheng went for eight points, eight assists and two steals, while Torregano added seven points, four rebounds, five assists and three steals.