Eagle clockwork spoils Cub rhythm

Cub scoring leader Madison Hargett, No. 22, was shadowed by Stayton’s K.J. Nyquist during a Feb. 1 league encounter that saw Stayton precision trump Newport rhythm, 26-43. (Photo by Rick Beasley)

NEWPORT — Unbeatable by any team in the state when they’ve got their ‘rhythm,’ the Cub girls lost their poise Friday as No. 3 state-ranked Stayton controlled the tempo in a 26-43 league loss.

Stayton, 7-1 in league play, operated with clockwork precision that patiently exploited cracks in the Newport defense while hounding the club’s top scorers, seniors Madison Hargett and Megan Wagner.

Hargett tallied only nine points, including six free throws and only one basket — a three-pointer that lifted hopess in the first period. Wagner was held scoreless in the second half after scoring twice from the key and landing a brace of free throws for seven points.

The Cubs slid a spot to No. 13 in OSAA rankings and now stand at 5-3 in the Oregon West Conference and 12-7 overall.

Coach Steve Sain’s system underscores fluid movement on the court, or “rhythm.” Practices are devoted to coordinating footwork and hand movement and setting up to shoot or catch passes. “Rhythm shots” are the expression of countless repetitions in practice.

But Stayton disrupted the cadence by patiently working the perimeter zones until Newport flinched or got off balance from relentless passing and fake rushes to the basket.

When the Cubs brought the game to a one-point difference in the second period, Stayton responded with physical pressure that often forced turnovers. Besides Hargett’s three-pointer, the Cubs delivered only six baskets for the night.

Also scoring for the Cubs were Kaitlyn Mitchell, 4; Halle Hargett, 2; and Sonya Cutler, 2. Stayton had two players in double digits, Marri Martinez, 16, and J.J. Nyquist, 14.

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