WALDPORT — Up against one of the best teams in the 2A-4 Sunset Conference, both the Waldport boys and girls basketball teams fought valiantly against a tough Coquille Red Devils team, but they couldn’t overcome early deficits, as the girls lost 61-36 and the boys 83-45.
Despite the rocky start to the 2A league season, Waldport boys head coach Michelle Severson had a message that not only resonated with her boys, but also to the girls who took the court shortly after.
“In games like today, we see how far we’ve come since the beginning of the year,” Severson said. “Coquille is a really good team.”
The Red Devils showed that early and often as they raced out to a 20-8 lead in the first quarter. Levi Fruechte kept the Irish in the game early with four points in the first quarter, but Coquille’s Cort McKinley scored seven in the first to fuel the visitors.
Zak Holsey chipped in 15 points on the night but didn’t get going until the second half. Fruechte scored seven points in each half.
Similar to the first, the Irish were outscored by 12, 20-8, in the second and found themselves down 40-16 at halftime.
“We definitely learned some good lessons. We learned how to work the ball around a lot better, and we are doing better at finding the open man,” Severson said on some positives throughout the game. “It’s something we have been working on all year.”
Coming out of the break, the Irish had energy and purpose.
Led by Holsey’s seven points in the third, Waldport scored 14 points in the quarter, the most they had all night.
Jason Tramp added four points as well, as he worked well both inside the paint and on the perimeter.
But just as the Irish found their footing, Coquille had its best quarter of the game — 27 points.
Waldport kept plugging away, but the Red Devils always had an answer.
Coquille took the game 83-45.
On the girls’ side, a close first half nearly had the Irish on course to upset the 12-1 Red Devils, but Coquille found a way in the second half to push past the Irish 61-36.
Despite two good showings in a row — a 52-33 win over Gold Beach and a close 40-35 loss to Toledo — the Irish girls basketball team is continuing to improve on the court.
And against a team with a near-perfect record, the Irish put up a formidable challenge.
Kyra Pickner was able to establish herself in the paint throughout the game, despite a size disadvantage for her in terms of team defense. Chas Walch found space both on the perimeter and in the paint, and Hadley McSharry was able to knock down her shots.
The Irish swung the ball around, took good shots and played tough defense, but against one of the best teams in the division, it was just one of those nights for Waldport.
The girls and head coach Les Keele are more than capable of getting back into the win column, and they get another shot today (Friday) at Reedsport.