TOLEDO — After a three-day tournament in Toledo, the Waldport girls basketball team lost their first game to Central Linn 35-24, won the second game Neah-Kah-Nie 47-24 and lost the final game against Toledo 73-50, to end their last action before their 2A-4 Sunset Conference league opener.
The 2020 Toledo Holiday Tournament kicked off early Thursday, Jan. 2, at Toledo High School with the Waldport Irish boys and girls basketball teams facing off against the Central Linn Cobras.
The girls officially kicked off the tournament as the first team to step on the court, but the Irish were unable to open their account with a win after the Cobras narrowly defeated the Irish 35-24.
Six of the Irish got on the scoresheet; Charity Smith led all scorers on the team with a team-high eight points.
“I think we took a step forward in some areas,” Waldport head coach Les Keele said. “Our shooting has got to get better. We had a lot of good shots that just didn’t go in.”
Chas Walch and Kyra Pickner had four and six points respectively, giving Waldport a push throughout the game.
However, a two-point and three-point quarter cost the Irish a chance at the game.
“We let them get going a little bit in the second quarter, and in the third, we let them get going a little bit,” Keele said. “That hurt us, but all in all, they (Central Linn) are a good team, and we had to hit our shots in order to beat them.”
Waldport opened the game with eight points in the first quarter, its second highest quarter besides the fourth.
Hadley McSharry made a shot and reached the free-throw line for three points in the quarter, while Smith, Walch and Cayden Ritchey each scored in the first, as well.
“We are getting closer and closer in our program to where we can play poorly and still win the game,” Keele said. “In the first half, we had 11 turnovers, and in the second half, we had five, so we improved a lot there.”
Waldport also made it to the free-throw line often in the game, but only went 6-15. That’s nine points left on the floor, but the Irish are just looking for improvement with league play on the horizon.
The team as a whole showed flashes of promise in the first and fourth quarters, but the Irish still are a step away from where they want to be.
After coming up short in their tournament opener, the Waldport girls came out and fought against Neah-Kah-Nie in a 47-24 victory in the consolation bracket of the holiday tournament.
Even though only five of the Irish got on the score sheet, the team was able to push through adversity, especially in the second half.
Waldport scored only four points in the first and just six in the second, but in the second half the team almost quadrupled their first half output. Waldport scored 18 in the third quarter and 19 in the fourth.
Charity Smith had eight points in the third and 14 for the entire game, including two long-distance shots, and Hadley McSharry had 12 total points on the day.
McSharry had seven points in the third quarter, and then she went to the line four times, hitting five total.
Kyra Pickner finished the game with 11 points, but her play in the fourth helped fuel the Irish to victory.
As a team, the Irish went to the free-throw line more than 17 times. Pickner herself had three trips to line, scoring four out of six total points.
After losing their opener by only 11 points, the Irish took another step in the right direction, getting a victory, but also doing it in as a team, and with good shots.
Both the Irish and the Toledo Boomers didn’t reach the championship game, but the two Lincoln County schools faced off in the consolation bracket finals.
Coming out on top though, were the Boomers as they took the game 73-50.
The Boomers completed the tournament with a 2-1 record, their sole loss coming 45-19 in the opening rounds of the tournament.
Waldport had their flashes in the tournament, most notably against Neah-Kah-Nie, where the Irish bullied their opponents both in the paint and on the perimeter, but couldn’t find the necessary consitency.
The Irish now have league season ahead.