COOS BAY — Effort was never an issue for Marshfield’s girls basketball team.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, free throw shooting was as they lost their final two games of the season — the Sky-Em League finale against Junction City on Thursday and the league playoff game against Cottage Grove the next afternoon.
The results were reminiscent of Marshfield’s league-opening loss to Cottage Grove, when the Pirates were terrible from the foul line and couldn’t overcome those struggles.
Fast forward four weeks and Marshfield had free-throw shooting to partly blame for Thursday’s 47-35 loss to Junction City that left the Pirates in fourth place in the final standings instead of tied for second.
“Free throws and turnovers,” Marshfield coach Bruce Bryant said, summing up the loss. “Not making free throws and turning the ball over too much.”
In the first half, the Pirates missed all nine of their free throws, including two that were front ends of one-and-one chances. They finished 3-for-16 from the line.
The Tigers, on the other hand, went 9-for-12 from the line in the first half.
And Junction City turned a few careless passes by the Pirates into breakaway layins that turned an early deficit into a lead that the Tigers held the rest of the game.
“You can’t turn the ball over with errant passes where you throw it to the other team and there is no defense (against a layin),” Bryant said.
The practical result of the game was that the Pirates had to face league-champion Cottage Grove on Friday afternoon needing to beat the Lions to stay alive in the league playoffs.
And the Pirates lost that game 35-29, ending their season.
The Pirates had their chances, but again weren’t able to convert numerous free throw opportunities.
Marshfield went just 4-for-16 from the line, unable to take advantage of their chances at the charity stripe. Cottage Grove went 3-for-6.
The Pirates also weren’t able to contain Gracie Arnold, one of Cottage Grove’s two talented posts. While they held Matty Ladd to two points, Arnold scored 18.
Charlie Dea had 13 points and Kate Miles 10 for Marshfield, which trimmed the lead to three points in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t get any closer.
Cottage Grove edged Junction City 45-42 on Saturday to secure the league’s spot in the Elite 8 showcase event, but Junction City also was chosen for the showcase.
In the game against Junction City, Bryant was thrilled with his team’s effort.
“They played hard,” he said.
The Marshfield squad that won five of its final seven games was much better than the one that started the season with three straight losses, said Kaylin Dea, honored before the Junction City game with fellow senior Raegan Rhodes and Bryant, who retired as coach after the season.
“I think our effort and our drive to win the game has just gotten better,” she said.
“There has definitely been an improvement. All the mistakes we’re making are the same, but we’re making fewer of them.”
Bryant said the team’s mistakes come from being young and inexperienced.
“There’s definite growing pains,” he said.
In the finale of the regular season Kaylin Dea kept the Pirates in the game in the first half, when she scored all eight of her points. Charlie Dea served the same role in the second half, when she scored nine of her 11 points.
But the Pirates didn’t get consistent scoring from anybody else. Rylinn Clark hit an early 3-pointer and Brooklyn Culer added one in the second quarter.
The Tigers led 27-16 at the half and held on after Marshfield trimmed that advantage to 37-29 entering the final quarter.
Cienna Hartle had three 3-pointers and 16 points for Junction City and Adiana Taylor added nine points.