Glad girls fall a game short

The three-time defending conference champs fail to advance to state

STAYTON - Defending state champion Stayton, the team that defeated Gladstone in last year's state title game, eliminated the Gladiators from postseason play last Thursday, winning 34-30 in an hard fought girls basketball game at Stayton.

The Eagles went on to win 41-38 at Molalla on Saturday in a showdown for the Capital Conference's third and final berth in this year's state playoffs.

Gladstone, which had won three straight league championships heading into this season, finished the season with a 13-8 record, after tying Stayton for fourth place in the regular season standings.

'Six of our eight losses were by five or fewer points,' said Gladstone coach Jere Applebee. 'Change those around and we're 10-2 in league instead of 6-6. We were in every single game except one.'

Applebee said that inexperience and a super tough league played a part in his charges' inability to win so many close games.

'We had a lot of new faces,' he said. 'Now that they've got the experience I'm confident this group will rebound. They're hard workers, and we've got some talented kids coming up.'

Gladstone's jayvee team went 19-2 this past season and the Gladiator jayvee two team went undefeated.

The Capital Conference was arguably the toughest in the state, with the Gladiators among five league teams ranked in the top 10 in the state through much of the season.

Like many of the Gladiators' games this season, last week's contest with Stayton went down to the wire. The Gladiators were within 30-29 with just under a minute to play, as Gladstone rallied from a nine-point deficit.

'It was a real deliberate game,' said Applebee. 'They were patient on offense and we spread the floor because of their in-your-face defense.'

The Gladiators executed on offense and put the ball in the basket on 11-of-22 shots from the floor, with four 3-pointers.

'We played well,' Applebee said.

Senior wing Lisa Terry headed the Gladiator offense with 10 points. She was 4-of-7 from the field - with a pair of treys. Sophomore wing Bailie Foxworthy sparked the offense with three assists.

The Gladiators forced 15 turnovers and they held Stayton first-team all-league point guard Kelsey Atkins to just two points. Gladiator junior wing Lindsey Warren came up with three steals.

But the Eagles came through with the big plays at crunch time and pulled out the victory.

Sophomore forward Molly Vreeken and junior post Carrie Garrison paced the Eagles in scoring with 10 points apiece.

Of those who played for Gladstone in last week's season final, Terry, Shanoaleigh Roseby (5-9 post) and Tawny Dasher (5-7 wing) will be lost to graduation.

Expected to return to lead the charge in 2008-09 are: juniors Emily Tsugawa (5-5 point guard), Stephanie Guenther (5-9 wing) and Warren (5-6 wing); sophomores Foxworthy (5-7 wing) and April Alldritt (6-0 post); and freshman Mikaela O'Brien (5-10 post).