Winning effort

Myrtle Point's Sarah Nicholson drives to the basket against Coquille.

MYRTLE POINT — The Myrtle Point girls basketball team has quickly made a habit of breaking losing streaks in the new season.

On Monday night, the Bobcats beat Toledo for the first time since 2015. On Wednesday, they topped rival Coquille for the first time since 2014.

“It’s a big win for them and the program,” new head coach Jennifer Sproul said after Myrtle Point’s 38-28 victory over the Red Devils.

The Bobcats used fierce defensive pressure to set the tone early against a young Coquille squad and led all the way. They limited Coquille to just two points in the opening quarter and used the transition opportunities from the many turnovers they forced to create opportunities.

They didn’t always convert them, but Sproul was OK with that.

“It’s a great group of girls,” she said. “The effort was great, the execution was terrible.”

But she expects the execution to improve as the team gets more time on the court.

“I love our hustle and our energy and our attitude,” she said. “They were spot on all game.”

Where the Bobcats struggled was in rebounding an in half-court execution.

“That will come,” Sproul said.

Sarah Nicholson led the team Wednesday night with 11 points. Maddi Reynolds added 10. Nicholson, Reynolds and Allison Storts, another defensive sparkplug for the Bobcats, all were competing in the state track meet on Saturday before helping the Bobcats to their strong start this week.

On Monday, the Bobcats also held Toledo to two points in the opening quarter on the way to a 14-2 lead. Reynolds scored 16 points, Nicholson eight and Hayden Weekly and Grace Bradford six each.

Last year, Myrtle Point won just two league games. This year the Bobcats are 2-0 to start the season.

“They are just excited to be winning,” Sproul said. “They want to win. They want to be pushed. They want to get the pride back.”

It showed Wednesday in an active student section that cheered every basket and good play.

“The atmosphere was great,” Sproul said. “”These kids deserve this.

“We can celebrate about five minutes because we’ve got Bandon tomorrow.”

In fact, the Bobcats are in the midst of a brutal stretch to open the season with five games in six days, including a trip to North Bend on Friday and a home league game against Waldport on Saturday.

Coquille, meanwhile, fell to 1-2 overall and in league play with a squad with only three players back who saw significant varsity minutes last year when the Red Devils finished fourth at state.

Coach Dan Hampton was thrilled with the team’s effort, though.

“That’s the hardest we’ve played all year, practice or game,” he said. “Their guards caused problems for us.”

On the plus side, the Red Devils played solid defense of their own and rebounded well, especially Hailey Combie.

“We really controlled the boards,” Hampton said.

Combie finished with a game-high 18 points for the Red Devils, who also got eight points from Maya Salazar.

Hampton said the biggest challenge for his team is the lack of experience.

“The learning curve for us is steep,” Hampton said. “We get back-to-back practices (Thursday and Friday). I don’t know if we have that again the rest of the year.”

The Red Devils got their win Monday, when they beat Reedsport 44-15. Combie had 15 points and Salazar 11 in that win.

Hampton said the Bobcats were the better team Wednesday.

“Give credit to them,” he said. “We are learning.

“We competed. That’s the key.”

The Red Devils host Bandon on Saturday and visit North Bend for a nonleague game Monday.

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