ASTORIA — Facing Marshfield in the championship game of the 51st Vince Dulcich Basketball Tournament, Redmond had a plan.
“We tried to limit (Mason Ainsworth's) touches and make other people beat us,” said Redmond head coach Reagan Gilbertson. “We did good job on (Ainsworth) but other guys stepped up.”
While the the electric Ainsworth still scored 13 points against the Class 5A Panthers on Saturday night at Astoria High School, the Pirates put together a true team effort on both sides of the ball to take the tournament title with a 60-52 victory.
Guiding Marshfield early was Pierce Davidson, who had 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first quarter. Davidson was 4-for-4 in the quarter including back-to-back corner 3-pointers that helped spark a 12-0 Marshfield run to give the Pirates 21-13 advantage.
“It was just like, I just came into the game ready to go. I felt good all day and I was just ready to go in the first quarter. And I think we came out pretty good,” said Davidson.
The 6-foot-5 Davidson also had success down low for the Pirates and defensively was tasked with trying to slow Redmond’s 6-foot-5 Dylan Moss.
Davidson’s success on both ends of the floor, along with his knack for snagging rebounds, has the Pirates excited about his future.
“I saw Pierce in a JV game last year and I said, wow, this kid could be something special,” said Marshfield head coach Marty Stallard. “That’s a real effective player. He’s got the size and he’s only a sophomore. He’s going to get better as he goes on and he was a big plus for us.”
As Marshfield controlled the game after an early bucket in the second quarter, the Pirates went cold. Over the next almost seven minutes of game time the team was 0-for-8 from the field to go with nine turnovers.
Redmond strung together a 14-0 run that was ultimately ended by a lay-up from Ezra Waterman with 30 seconds to play in the half. A steal and coast-to-coast buzzer-beating lay-up from Noah Niblett cut Marshfield’s deficit to two as they went into halftime.
“There were a couple times we could have folded but we didn’t. We played like a solid team,” said Stallard. “We went bad in (the second) quarter and then after that we got our composure and came back and did a little better.”
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The offense came back to life for the Pirates with contributions from up and down the lineup. Dom Montiel showed his ability to get to the rim on a pair of scores, Davidson hit another 3-pointer followed by a DJ Daugherty 3-pointer off the bench. An off-balance floater from Ainsworth put Marshfield up 41-39 heading into the fourth quarter.
With the game tied at 42-42, Marshfield’s defense ramped up and turned into instant offense as the Pirates put together a 13-2 run to effectively take the game. In that stretch it was Ainsworth scoring seven while Landon Ginn-Forsberg added six points. For Ginn-Forsberg, who was constantly disrupting Redmond passes, it all started with defense.
“I may not be the best dribbler or the best shooter, but I know I want to be and I try to be the best defensive player on the court at all times,” said Ginn-Forsberg. “And that’s what I want to do out there and in that way I think that’s the way I can help my team the best.”
With Noah Niblett going 4-for-4 from the free throw line late, the Pirates were able to seal the game. Niblett finished with 10 points as Ginn-Forsberg added eight. Montiel had six for Marshfield.
Redmond was led by Moss inside with 15 points while Garrett Osborne had 10 points. The Panthers were 6-of-27 on 3-pointers.
For the young Marshfield team that has won five of its last six games, the tournament win was a hopeful sign of what is to come as the season goes forward.
“It means a lot. Especially with these young guys. I’ve been sitting on the bench for years and I finally get to be out there on the court with these young guys who I look up to, actually, because of the skill level that they have,” said Ginn-Forsberg, a senior playing with mostly sophomores and juniors
The Pirates now have a break in the action before their next game which is on the road at Newport on Jan. 7. On Jan. 10 and 11 Marshfield will host the Sky-Em/Skyline Crossover before starting league play at Junction City on Jan. 17.
As Marshfield makes its way toward Sky-Em play, Stallard wants to see his team keep doing what they have been doing.
“We are moving in the right direction and we are getting better. Each game we get better and we learn something,” said Stallard.
"We’re starting to trust each other a little better and we’re communicating, we’ve got kids that are talking to each other and saying you need to do this or whatever and that’s all a good, positive sign. When you’ve got kids that are working together good things are going to happen.”