Valley Catholic sees a late lead, its chance at a 3A state title slip away
by: MILES VANCE, SCORING — Valley Catholic sophomore Emily Anctil goes up to score during her team's loss to Myrtle Point in Friday's Class 3A state semifinals.

SALEM - The difference between victory and defeat - not to mention first place and third place - is razor-thin at the state tournament, and Valley Catholic's girls found that out the hard way in its 3A state semifinal game on Friday.

The West Valley League champion Valiants led Myrtle Point by five points with 3 minutes, 13 seconds left in the fourth quarter and by two with 36 seconds to go. But the Sunset Conference champion Bobcats tied the game with 27 seconds to go, forced overtime and pulled away in a second OT to win 48-43 and end VC's hopes of a Class 3A state championship.

'That was really tough,' said Valley Catholic senior Lisa Gallinat (13 points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots).

'That loss … was really hard,' agreed Valley Catholic sophomore Jeni Picken, who had nine points and nine rebounds. 'That team was really good and it was a really good matchup.'

'It was an emotionally and physically tough game,' added VC coach John Innes. 'And it was a great game.'

The Bobcats (27-3), who lost to Rainier 35-31 in Saturday's state title game, were tough early, leading 10-9 at the end of the first quarter and taking over with a 9-2 scoring edge in the second to lead 19-11 at halftime.

Myrtle Point got back-to-back three-pointers from Sam Sanders and Kylee Fischer midway through that second quarter, and its defense held Valley Catholic to 1-of-6 shooting with four turnovers in the period.

But Valley Catholic turned the tables in the third quarter, shut out the Bobcats on 0-for-12 shooting and six turnovers, and got back in the game. While Myrtle Point went scoreless for a span of 13:24 in the second, third and fourth quarters, the Valiants got a three-pointer from Johanna Crisman, hoops from both Emily Anctil and Picken, and a three-point play and six points total from Gallinat to move in front 24-19.

And then things got really interesting. The Bobcats got back within 25-24 on a Krissy Johnston hoop early in the fourth quarter and neither team led by more than five points the rest of the way.

Myrtle Point's Sanders buried a three-pointer to give her team a 32-31 lead with 1:25 to go in the fourth quarter, Valley Catholic's Kate Emery answered with a inside bucket, and then Crisman sandwiched a 'three' between a Johnston hoop and two Johnston foul shots to send the game into overtime at 36-36.

Picken and Johnston traded a pair of foul shots in the first overtime, but in the second session, Myrtle Point ran off six straight points to take control. Johnston scored on a left-handed layin, Cally Kennedy added an inside hoop of her own, and Maria Ciccarelli and Sanders added foul shots for a 44-38 edge while VC missed its first four shots and turned the ball over twice.

Anctil took a Nicole Hardisty pass and drilled a three-pointer that cut the gap to 46-43 with 17 seconds remaining, but Johnston added two foul shots four seconds later to seal the win.

'That loss just killed me. I was so upset,' said Crisman (nine points, four rebounds).

Johnston led all scorers with 20 points and seven rebounds to offset seven turnovers, while Sanders and Fischer added nine each in the win.

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