NORTH BEND — In the first of six games in two weeks against Class 4A teams, Coquille’s girls basketball team found itself trailing host North Bend 11-6 early in the second quarter Saturday night.
But by that point, the Red Devils had figured out North Bend’s press and Coquille was on the verge of a big run.
Coquille finished the second quarter on a 19-4 run and started the third on a 9-2 spurt to essentially put the game out of reach in a 43-34 victory over the Bulldogs.
“We got a good win,” Coquille senior Josey Kaufman said. “We all pushed the ball good. We hadn’t gone against a press. We handled it good.”
The Red Devils, who improved to 2-0, also were strong on defense against the Bulldogs, who were playing their season opener.
“We’ve been doing a lot of different drills focusing on defense,” Kaufman said.
When Coquille got its offense going, Kaufman and the team’s other two most experienced players, McKenna Wilson and Morgan Baird, led the way.
Wilson finished with 15 points while Baird had another big all-around night that included 12 points, 13 rebounds, three blocks and four assists. The two had primary ball-handling duties along with Kaufman, who scored eight points and had three steals and four rebounds.
“Morgan played a very good game and McKenna played a solid game,” Coquille coach Tim GeDeros said, before realizing that he never gave Kaufman any rest during the contest.
“She’s a cross country girl,” he said. “I wasn’t worried about her.”
The effort of Kaufman, Baird and Wilson was important against a speedy North Bend lineup that tried to pressure the Red Devils behind dynamic and speedy juniors Haley Snelgrove and Haley Edwards. The pair combined for six steals, but Snelgrove found herself in foul trouble in the first half and both finished with four fouls.
“We got in a little foul trouble,” North Bend coach Adam Decker said, noting the Bulldogs were getting used to game speed.
“That’s the first time we’ve played anybody but ourselves,” he said.
Edwards led the Bulldogs with 14 points, while Hannah Lillebo had seven points and Snelgrove six.
North Bend got a big boost rebounding from Hayden Markel and Lillebo, who had 10 and nine boards, respectively.
“Hayden did really good,” Decker said, adding that the entire squad played hard against the Red Devils, a squad that has placed fifth at the past two Class 3A state tournaments.
“I was proud of the girls,” he said. “They didn’t back down.”
Decker said the game showed his squad needs to work more on conditioning. The struggles scoring didn’t surprise him.
“We haven’t done a lot of shooting in practice,” he said.
North Bend gets another shot at its first win Tuesday when Junction City visits.
Coquille, meanwhile, continues its tough preseason with a trip to Douglas, one of North Bend’s Far West League foes. After hosting the Winter Lake Classic on Friday and Saturday, Coquille hosts another Far West League squad, Brookings-Harbor, on Dec. 12. The Red Devils open Marshfield’s Les Schwab South Coast Holiday Basketball Tournament against defending Class 4A state champion Sutherlin in a rematch of last year’s tournament title game, won by Coquille, and will face two more Class 4A schools in that event.
Kaufman is embracing the challenge.
“I’m very excited,” she said.