ATHENA — Weston-McEwen simultaneously guaranteed itself some action beyond next week’s regular season finale while making sure the Irrigon Knights wouldn’t get to join.
With a 44-35 Blue Mountain Conference win on Saturday, Weston-McEwen (14-9, 8-7 BMC) gave itself enough separation from the Knights (9-13, 6-8 BMC) in the league standings to put Irrigon out of postseason contention. The TigerScots, the No. 5 team in the BMC right now, can finish no lower than that while Irrigon can climb no higher than No. 6.
It’s a heartbreaking spot for Irrigon because of its familiarity. Last season Irrigon finished tied for fifth and missed tournament time on a tie-breaker with Elgin.
“We win this game, we’re potentially in the driver’s seat for a district spot,” Knights coach Stuart Dick said. “I feel really bad for our seniors. It’s the second year in a row we finished one spot out and I wanted them to have this opportunity. They deserve it, they worked hard.
“Both years it came down to the wire and we didn’t get the job done.”
The Knights were still within reach of a win in the second half, though. They trailed 30-27 going into the final frame and stuck around until the final three minutes. But with Weston-McEwen guarding a six-point lead, Taryn Coffman hit a 3-point shot, the middle section of five straight TigerScot points.
Marlene Bodmer scored 12 to lead all players for the winning side and Irrigon’s Madisyn Cadek had 11. Coffman also scored 11 points for Weston-McEwen and Molly von Borstel and Makayla Christopher each had nine rebounds.
For the TigerScots to make their district stay longer than just one game, the team will have to cut down on the turnovers that have plagued them at times this season. Even during Saturday’s victory, Weston-McEwen turned the ball over 28 times.
It’s a tough balance for coach Amber Doremus, who wants her team to play up-tempo. That’s when the TigerScots tend to toss the ball away most, though.
“You try to calm them down but you don’t want to take away their desire to run either,” she said. “When you run a game like that, you’ve going to have turnovers. You just try to limit them as much as possible. ... You’ve got to let them loose a little bit.”
With Union’s win on Saturday, the TigerScots a locked into the fifth spot in the Blue Mountain with one game left. They host Stanfield next Saturday.
Contact AJ Mazzolini at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0839.