FOREST GROVE — Marshfield’s girls have been ranked No. 1 most of the season. They get a chance to finish that way, too.
The Pirates beat Banks 61-50 in the semifinals at the Class 4A state tournament Friday to advance to the championship game for the first time in school history.
“It feels awesome to know we’re getting a banner,” Marshfield’s Tess Garrett said, referring to the school’s policy of putting up banners in Pirate Palace for teams that finish first or second in state. “We want that banner to be a state championship.”
The Pirates face Cascade at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Forest Grove High School. The Cougars beat North Marion 41-39, getting the go-ahead basket in the final 30 seconds by Kelsey Molan.
Marshfield avenged a loss to the Braves in last year’s semifinals with a strong second half that included keeping tabs on Banks star Aspen Slifka.
Slifka finished with 26 points in another sparkling performance, but only had 11 in the second half when she was under near-constant pressure from McKayla Myrand and Jazmin Chavez.
“It was made very clear at halftime that we needed to shut her down,” Myrand said. “We knew what we needed to do.”
Slifka had cut a seven-point Marshfield to 24-22 by scoring the final five points of the first half.
But Marshfield came out blazing to start the third quarter, especially Myrand.
Garrett scored on a drive to the hoop to start the half and then Myrand had 10 straight points — a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a drive to the hoop and followed by another long jumper with a toe on the line.
“When we were warming up, I was hitting 3s left and right,” said Myrand, who finished 3-for-5 from behind the arc while scoring 17 points. “I thought this was my shooting game.”
Myrand also hit her only 3-pointer while scoring 17 points in Thursday’s win over Valley Catholic. They were two of her best scoring games of the season, her first at Marshfield after transferring from Bandon for her junior year.
“Coach (Kevin) Guthrie always makes jokes, ‘Are the hoops bigger in Bandon?’” she said.
When Alex Locati scored inside for Marshfield, the Pirates were up 38-22. The lead was at least double digits the rest of the way, as Marshfield held off every challenge by Slifka and the rest of the Braves.
“Marshfield’s a really good team,” Slifka said. “They are ranked No. 1 for a reason.
“I think we played our best, played our hardest. (The second half) they came out with more energy.”
Marshfield struggled with its free throws early in the game, but Garrett made all 12 of hers, including 10 in the second half, and Hailey Browning went 3-for-4 at the line.
Garrett said her free throw success “was a make-up from yesterday.” She shot just 3-for-7 from the line against Valley Catholic.
The biggest keys for the Pirates, though, probably were their defense and rebounding in the second half, when they had a 19-14 rebound edge, limiting the Braves’ second-chance opportunities.
“You only can control what you can control, and that’s hard work and rebounding,” Garrett said.
Meanwhile, the Pirates — in particular Myrand and Chavez — did a great job keeping tabs on Slifka after she found herself open for three 3-pointers in the first half. She didn’t have any makes from long range after halftime.
And Banks didn’t have many options other than Slifka. Destiny Maller finished with nine points, but none of their teammates had more than five.
Garrett, meanwhile, had 21 points and Browning 14 for the Pirates. Browning also had eight rebounds and two blocks and Locati had eight rebounds and four steals.
Marshfield coach Bruce Bryant praised his team’s effort executing the game plan in the second half.
“It wasn’t anything we did differently — we had to play harder,” he said.
Last year, it was Banks winning the semifinal matchup to get to the final, where the Braves lost to Sutherlin.
“It feels really good to get that revenge on Banks,” Garrett said.
Bryant described his feelings as surreal.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet,” he said.
“You go into every game (and winning) is the only goal. Now we’re down to only one game left.”