ASTORIA — Marshfield’s slow start didn’t last long. In Friday’s semifinal of the 51st Vince Dulcich Basketball Tournament at Astoria High School, the Pirates trailed Tillamook 7-2 early in the opening quarter before the game took a turn.
“I would probably say we just woke up,” said Marshfield’s Mason Ainsworth, who had a game-high 25 points in Marshfield’s dominant 74-47 victory over the Cheesemakers.
“We just came out flat. We weren’t ready to go off the bat. We pushed through it,” added fellow sophomore Pierce Davidson who chipped in 15 points.
As Marshfield’s defensive energy intensified, Ainsworth started hitting shots from all over the court dropping 15 in the first quarter, including three 3-pointers, on six-of-nine shooting. The Pirates patched together a 17-3 run to take a 24-10 lead in the opening minute of the second quarter.
“I just got hot and started shooting, I guess,” Ainsworth said of his red-hot first quarter. “I would say our defense helped us out a lot. Once we get our defensive momentum going then it flows into our offense.”
Picking up Tillamook full-court, the Marshfield defense plagued the Cheesemakers. Tillamook had 21 first half turnovers.
“We’re getting there,” said Marshfield head coach Marty Stallard of his team’s defense. "It takes a long while to get everything implemented that you need. We’re athletic and we get in the passing lanes and when we do that we go on those runs like boom, boom.”
The defense continued to come up with stops time and time again. Tillamook had the makings of a run in the second quarter as it cut the lead to 10, but then the Pirates closed on a 13-2 scoring run to head to the half with a 46-25 advantage.
Despite the Pirates nearly recording a season high in points (Marshfield scored 76 against Brookings-Harbor) it was the offensive end that Stallard wants to see improvement.
“When they went from one defense to the other, we didn’t adjust very well. That’s one of the things that has been hurting us,” said Stallard.
"Most of (our points) came off our defense. And I’ve said this all along, our defense keys our offense. We got some easy transition baskets out of that, there were a lot of them. We did some good things against the zone, the man not so much.”
Marshfield’s offense slowed in the third quarter as the team was outscored 12-8. But any hopes of a fourth quarter comeback were quickly dashed as the Pirates unleashed a 12-0 run to start the final period of play.
In this stretch of scoring it was a team effort as points came from Ezra Waterman, DJ Daugherty and Davidson. Ten different Pirates scored in the game including nine from Daugherty and six from Monty Swinson.
Tillamook’s first field goal of the fourth quarter came in the final two minutes of play.
“Well, you expect every kid, one through 12, I’ve always said that. The one thing you can do, everyone can do is play defense and you can play hard,” said Stallard. “So if you play hard, you’re going to play good defense and you’re going to contribute something to the team.”
In its opening win Thursday, Ainisworth had 20 points, including the game-winner in the final minute, to beat Mark Morris of Washington 67-66.
Davidson had 17 points for Marshfield and Landon Ginn-Forsberg had 14, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute. Swinson scored nine.
Ashton Harvey had 22 points for Mark Morris.
The Pirates will now face Redmond in Saturday’s championship game at 8:15 p.m. For Stallard, he wants to see his team continue what they have done in the past week, including a second-place finish in their home tournament last weekend.
“The last four games or five games that we’ve played, we’ve improved and that’s the goal. Get better and get ready for league,” he said. “And it’s nice to be playing in two championship games.
“It’d be nice to get this one.”