GRANTS PASS — A pressure-cooker defense barbequed Hidden Valley’s goose in overtime Saturday as the Newport girls advanced to the “Final Eight” of 4A championship basketball on a 37-31 upset victory.
Four Cubs made all their points in an endurance contest where Newport overcame a daunting size disadvantage, double-teaming Hidden Valley’s
“We came with a lot of fire,” Wagner said after the game, describing the “back and forth battle” as a measure of the team’s growing skill. “Even though we beat them (59-51) early in the season, they weren’t the same team. But neither were we.”
The low-scoring match worked to the Cubs’s favor as they batted and blocked Hidden Valley possessions, preventing the Mustang breakaway experts from extending a 10-game winning streak in the Skyline Conference.
Risking and drawing fouls, the Cubs banked on the ‘Stangs’s woeful 33 percent free-shooting accuracy while Newport shot in the high 60s, with Wagner, Mitchell and the Hargetts growing a thin overtime lead from the charity stripe. Wagner also dropped a stunning three-pointer with barely two minutes left, shifting the momentum to Newport.
Hidden Valley gave as good as it got, however. Co-coach Kurt Hargett likened the quarter-final clash to a “football game” that left girls on both sides bloodied from elbows and roughhouse collisions.
“It was a very weirdly called game,” he remarked. “There were a lot of blatant things that should have
Hidden Valley was the odds-on favorite as a
The Newport girls now advance to the state finals in Forest Grove at Pacific University, where they have a 3:15 p.m. tipoff slated Thursday, March 7. Hargett said winning coach Eddie Townsend of Toledo, fresh off a third-place boys’ title, is helping the Cubs prepare for the game.