MISSION — There are 32 minutes in a regulation high school basketball game in Oregon. The trouble the Nixyaawii girls’ team has had this season is keeping focused for all of them.
Against Pine Eagle on Tuesday, the Golden Eagles started strong and finished strong, but struggled mightily in between, losing to the Spartans 46-34 at home. Nixyaawii (3-6, 1-1 BSC) held a lead until just before halftime before things unraveled.
“I think we started getting down on each other and we let the refs take it from us, I think, instead of playing to our potential,” said Taryn Ostrom, a junior Golden Eagle. “We let the refs get to us with all the fouls they were calling.”
A pressure defense from Pine Eagle (6-1) resulted in loose balls skidding across the court and out of the hands of Nixyaawii players. As the turnovers started to mount, the Nixyaawii team got increasingly flustered and undisciplined, committing fouls in the second half.
Head Golden Eagle coach Jeremy Maddern tried to adjust the plan while his team scored just one point in the third quarter. It finally took in the fourth quarter. Nixyaawii wasn’t being aggressive enough, the coach said, and that let the Spartans swarm and trap the Golden Eagle ball handlers.
“The biggest difference is we stopped doing what was successful, and that was attacking,” Maddern said. “We stopped doing that until the fourth quarter ... They cranked it up a little and we didn’t respond very well.”
The Golden Eagles outscored their opponent during the final frame, but by that time the game was out of reach. The team has trouble responding to adversity in a timely manner, Maddern said. Some of that comes back to their youth. There are no seniors of the Golden Eagle roster, and at times on Tuesday there were four freshman in the game. The girls will continue to gain maturity on the court as the season progresses, Maddern said.
“We’re just trying to get them to get out of that deer-in-the-headlights phase,” he said. “Grab that ball and attack the rim.
“Right now we’re only playing two or three good quarters and then we resort back to our bad habits.”
Freshman Charlatte Barkley was the only Golden Eagle in double-digit points at 10. Ostrom was close behind with nine while Pine Eagle’s Maddison Thatcher led all scorers with 14 points.