COOS BAY — For the third time in three years, the Dayton Pirates girls basketball team will play in the semifinals of the Class 3A State tournament.
After a sluggish start against a physical and pesky Nyssa Bulldogs team, the Pirates found their groove in the third quarter before cruising to a 41-30 victory at Marshfield High School.
Juniors Shawnie Spink and Kalina Rojas led the way, with Spink pouring in 11 points and grabbing five rebounds while Rojas finished with 13 points, nine rebounds and three steals.
The Pirates overcame poor shooting on a night where they only scored six points in the first quarter and shot just 30 percent from the floor in the first half.
They came out firing in the second half however, hitting 8 of 14 field goals to round out their final percentage to 41 percent.
Dayton coach Scott Spink praised his team for its defensive effort.
“We were a little tight offensively, and you know, regardless if you've been here, you think about this tournament and this game all year, so we came in and we were a little tight but we played great defense,” he said.
Coach Spink complemented Nyssa’s game plan to slow his team down and keep the Pirates out of transition.
“Nyssa did a nice job of (keeping) us in the half court,” he said. “They know we like to get out and run.”
Despite the Bulldogs' constant pressure, their effort was largely negated by the crisp play of Shawnie Spink, Dayton's point guard, who didn’t have a turnover until the second half.
The duo of Spink and Rojas proved devastating for Nyssa, which managed to keep the score close until a 16-6 third quarter run from the Pirates that effectively sealed the game.
“We thought if we were able to slow them down a little bit and get them in the half court a lot that we’d have a shot,” Nyssa coach Jeremy Chamberlain said. “I thought for three and a half quarters we did good job of that but there was a two-minute stretch in the second quarter and a three-minute stretch in third quarter where we didn’t execute very well and they kind of stretched it in both those instances.”
Chamberlain credited the Pirates for denying his bigs the ball throughout the course of the game.
“We were forced to do some things we haven’t had to do for a while,” he said. “It’s hard to play inside out when you can’t get the ball in.”
The Bulldogs’ junior guard Britney Arredondo, who was Nyssa’s sole player to score in double digits with 11 points, said the loss was tough to stomach.
“I think we took care of the ball pretty well, we just had breakdowns in the first half and coming out of halftime and that’s when they made their run,” she said. “They’re a really good team.”
The loss snaps a seven-game win streak for Nyssa.
The Bulldogs face Rainier at 10:45 a.m. on Friday at North Bend in the consolation bracket.
As for the Pirates, the victory extends a 21-game win streak dating back to Dec. 19 when they lost to Salem Academy 52-50.
They face Coquille in a rematch of last year’s semifinals at 6:30 p.m. at Marshfield.
A win would put the defending state champions in the finals for the third year in a row.
After a physical victory over Nyssa with very few foul calls, Shawnie Spink said the Pirates would have to be ready for more of the same from a fast and bruising Red Devils squad.
“They play just as physical (as Nyssa) so I guess we’ll have to get used to it because the refs aren’t going to blow their whistles,” she said.