NORTH BEND — Sarah Halversen wasn’t ready for her high school career to end.
The Portland Adventist Academy senior made six straight clutch free throws in the final 1:07 on Friday morning and the Cougars overcame a big challenge from Lakeview for a 50-43 win and a spot in Saturday’s fourth-place game.
“Four of our starters are seniors,” Halversen said. “We didn’t want it to be our last game.”
Portland Adventist will be back in North Bend’s gym on Saturday for the consolation final at 6:30 p.m. against Nyssa because of the school’s religious beliefs, the Cougars can’t play before sundown on Saturday, which caused the change in time and venue.
Portland Adventist was coming off an emotional, close loss to Blanchet Catholic in the quarterfinals, but bounced back well.
“We came off a really tough loss yesterday,” Halversen said. “We came together as a team.”
Lakeview, meanwhile, was coming off a rough game against Salem Academy when the Honkers managed just 18 points. They surpassed that in the first half Friday and battled the Cougars to the final minute.
“I think we played better today,” said Lakeview’s Kenzie Johnston. “We definitely gave it our all.”
The Honkers took a one-point lead into halftime and opened a five-point lead early in the third quarter.
But Portland Adventist reversed it almost immediately with a 3-pointer by Kai Chamberlain and a basket by Halversen.
The Cougars didn’t want to give the Honkers any chance to add to its momentum, Halversen said.
“They’re a good team,” she said.
The lead changed hands eight times the first three quarters, but when Kira LaSage hit a jumper late in the quarter, Portland Adventist had the lead for good at 34-33.
Still, Lakeview stayed close, and when Alex Conley hit a pair of free throws was within 42-40 inside the final three minutes.
But the Honkers couldn’t come up with shots late when they needed to tie the game, in part because of Portland Adventist’s tough defense, which kept Lakeview from getting in a rhythm and kept Conley from getting to the hoop.
“I thought defensively down the stretch we did a better job of getting on Conley early,” Portland Adventist coach Ty Johnson said.
And after struggling most of the game from the line, Portland Adventist finally clinched the game at the charity stripe. Johnson said the Cougars normally shoot 70 percent and they were 5-for-14 aside from Halversen’s late spurt.
“Halversen, being a senior, she wasn’t going to let us walk out of this tournament without getting a win,” Johnson said.
Halversen finished with 24 points and also grabbed 11 rebounds. Chamberlain made four of Portland Adventist’s seven 3-pointers and scored 14 points. And while Tori Johnson had just two points, she grabbed 10 boards.
Johnston scored 14 points to lead Lakeview and Conley added 11 points. The two also combined for 17 rebounds.
The good news for Lakeview is both are back next year, part of a big returning cast for a team with only two seniors.
After not making the state tournament for seven years, Johnston said the group is excited about its potential next year.
“We’re super excited to be back next year,” Johnston said.
Portland Adventist, meanwhile, was looking ahead to earning another trophy on Saturday night, when the Cougars face Nyssa
The Bulldogs beat Portland Adventist’s Lewis & Clark League rival Rainier in the other consolation game Friday morning, which was fine with Halversen.
“We’ve played (Rainier) a lot,” she said. “I’m ready to play a different team.”