COOS BAY — In the end, it came down to five measly minutes.

Blanchet Catholic’s girls basketball team pulled out a wild comeback win on Thursday in the Class 3A State Tournament quarterfinals over Portland Adventist Academy 46-44 at Marshfield High School. 

Sophomore Ana Coronado led the Cavaliers with 14 points, nine rebounds and three steals. Senior Sophia Poole chipped in 14 points and three steals.

The Blanchet guard tandem were the point of attack on defense as they harassed Cougar players all game to force 17 turnovers and capitalize with 13 points off of them.

“We just had to play our game,” Coronado said. “Push the ball; we love to run.”

And ran they did, especially in the closing minutes of the game where the Cavaliers were down by as many as seven points.

“Once that tide turns it’s awful hard to turn it back,” Portland Adventist Coach Ty Johnson said.

With 4:30 left in the regulation, Cougars senior Sarah Halversen hit two free throws to extend Portland Adventist’s lead to seven points at 39-32. 

Coronado then leaked past every Cougar defender for a quick score and cut the lead to five.

Portland Adventist’s Kira LaSage then missed two free throws after a quick foul.

Blanchet’s Kalea Salang responded with a bruising bucket down low to cut the lead to just three.

At that point, Portland Adventist led 39-36 with roughly three minutes remaining.

Halversen was then called for an offensive foul, the first of two that would ultimately decide the game.

After a 30-second timeout, Blanchet’s Emily Collier sank a wide open 3-pointer to tie the game at 39-39 with 2:15 to play.

Poole then snatched a steal and was immediately fouled by a frustrated Halversen.

The Cavaliers then took the lead with two made free throws from Poole.

Senior Tori Johnson responded with a clutch 3-pointer, to snatch the lead back for the Cougars 42-41 with a little more than a minute remaining.

Not to be outdone, Poole banked in a contested 3-pointer, retaking the lead for Blanchet 44-42.

A costly turnover for Portland Adventist lead to Collier drawing a foul and hitting the front end of a 1-and-1, extending the lead to three.

Halversen then drove the length of the court for a layup that cut the deficit to one with 38 seconds left in the game.

Portland Adventist called a timeout and immediately forced a turnover but Halversen was called for a clearing foul after appearing to swing her right elbow to create space.

The result was Poole drawing a quick foul and hitting the second of two free throws to cap the game at 46-44.

“That (last call) there was kind of the game,” Ty Johnson said. “In that kind of a game, to make that kind of call ... you gotta let the players make the play. I was kind of disappointed in that.”

Johnson still credited Blanchet’s late run as a major factor in the final score.

“I thought we turned it back when (Johnson) hit that corner three and got the one point lead but that’s why we play the game and that’s why it’s an awesome game because you never know what’s going to happen,” he said.

Coronado attributed the win to execution and her teammates not letting the pressure rattle them.

“Seven points; we’ve been down by more than that before and we had plenty of time,” she said.

Blanchet coach Ron Hittner said the victory was a good example of his team’s season.

“We’ve been in a lot of close games and that really paid off for us here,” he said.

Halversen said she wasn’t going to let the final foul call bother her.

“It was so fast, it could have gone either way,” she said.

She then credited Blanchet for their tenacity.

“They came out strong,” she said. “They weren’t going to just let us have it easy and I think we had a few mental lapses and they just took advantage of it.”

While Blanchet only had 10 attempts from the charity stripe all game, they managed to convert seven.

The Cougars on the other hand, struggled from the free throw line, going 10 of 22.

Johnson said the misses played a factor in the final score.

“We missed too many,” he said.

Hittner agreed that free throws were one of the keys to victory.

“We talked all year that free throws were going to make a difference in games and it did tonight,” he said.

Blanchet will square off against Salem Academy on Friday at Marshfield at 1:30 p.m. 

Portland Adventist will face Lakeview at 9 a.m. at North Bend in the consolation bracket. 

Reporter Spencer Cole can be reached at 541-269-1222, ext. 249, or by email at Spencer.Cole@theworldlink.com Follow him on Twitter: @spencerdcole.

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