Through the first quarter and a half of Tuesday night's nonconference clash with visiting Scappoose, the Philomath High girls did just about everything right on defense while shooting out to a 24-2 lead.
The Indians couldn't get any good looks at the basket and on those misses, they didn't get too many second- or third-chance shots because Philomath was hitting the glass. In fact, Scappoose didn't get off many shots at all with Philomath forcing turnovers.
"Going in, we didn't think it was going to be this easy," PHS coach Dave Garvin said following the 52-25 victory. "We came out and we played really well defensively to start the game. It was like 4-2 and then I turn around and it's 12-2."
That was the score at the end of the first quarter. After jumpshots by Haidyn Ecker and Riley Weaver to open the game, Scappoose was able to get inside for a layup to make the score 4-2. That was the last time the Indians would do anything on the scoreboard for more than 11 minutes of clock time.
Lauren Berklund scored, Ecker hit a pair of free throws and scored inside, and Emma Pankalla sank two fouls shots for the 12-2 advantage. Philomath extended the run to 20-0 well into the second quarter. Olivia Jahn-McLaren opened the quarter with a hoop, Ecker scored on an in-bounds pass and then Mia Rust scored twice inside for a 20-2 lead.
Pankalla utilized her speed by taking the ball coast-to-coast with a rebound on one end and a hoop on the other. Weaver converted two free throws in a 1-and-1 situation for a 24-2 advantage.
"I was pleased with our defensive effort ... and we got out and ran," Garvin said. "We haven't done that really well. The more we run, the better off we're going to be."
Scappoose stopped the bleeding for a moment with a basket with 2:44 remaining in the first half. By the break, the Warriors were up 31-6 to leave little doubt about who would be coming out victorious.
"There were some things that we did out there offensively that we either had worked on for only five minutes or not at all," Garvin said. "We tried to get some reps against somebody that doesn't know what you're doing."
Senior Bree Couture, a 5-foot-11 post player who sees minutes off the bench, said she enjoyed the physicality of the game against the Indians. Couture banged around with the opposition in the paint and picked herself up off the hardwood on several occasions. She finished with some of her best career numbers with 11 rebounds and four blocked shots, both team highs.
Despite the certainty that Philomath was going to win the game comfortably, there were still things for the players to work on.
"I think we learned how it feels to be up and how we can control ourselves still and stick to what we know," Couture said. "At the very end, we kinda let up a little bit and I think we learned that we can't do that."
Rust has seen significant playing time as a freshman and has been one of the team's top point producers.
"We really just worked on plays that we generally wouldn't run on harder teams," Rust said about the win. "We're working to learn to play together more because some of the girls haven't played together much, so playing games like these, it's just good to add confidence with shooting and stuff."
The team continually works on important facets of its game, but one thing that players often hear from Garvin involves avoiding a third quarter letdown after the intermission.
"He's always saying that we need to come out in the third quarter strong and that we can't let up in the third quarter, even if we're ahead," Couture said.
The Warriors outscored Scappoose, 11-5, in the third and had a 31-point lead going into the fourth.
The veteran coach had the opportunity to build a little depth with his roster. In the fourth, only one of the original five starters saw any time on the floor and that was because of the team being a bit thin at guard.
"It gives everybody else a good game to get some confidence up because you never really know when you're going to need somebody," Garvin said. "The more reps we can get them, the more prepared they'll be when we need them down the road."
Ecker scored her 10 points on four field goals and a couple of free throws. In all, eight different players scored and 11 played in the game for the Warriors.
Payton Fisher scored 10 for the Indians (4-8). Eight of her points came in the game's final 78 seconds.
The Warriors will play one more nonconference game Friday at Tillamook before diving into Oregon West Conference play next Tuesday at Stayton. All six teams have won at least two-thirds of their games with three in the top eight and the lowest at No. 18.
"There's going to be some good teams in our league that won't even have the opportunity to go to state," Garvin said.
Junior Hailey Matthews was cleared to participate in practice Monday. Matthews suffered a concussion, sprained wrist and whiplash and hasn't played since early December.
As for Rust, who has seen good minutes as one of two freshmen on the varsity roster — the other being Braedyn McNeely — she said she came into this first season of varsity high school basketball a little nervous, a feel she also had with soccer in the fall.
But, Rust said "the seniors and older girls have encouraged me and have been really supportive."
What's the most important lesson she's learned so far?
"Teamwork is really important ... just supporting your players and always being positive."
Philomath 52, Scappoose 25
Tuesday at Philomath
SCAPPOOSE (4-8) 2 4 5 14 — 25
PHILOMATH (8-4) 12 19 11 10 — 52
Scappoose: Payton Fisher 5 0-0 10, Shaylan Smith 3 0-2 7, Emily Kopra 0 3-4 3, Allison Wills 1 1-2 3, Lea Brodala 0 1-2 1, Sara Mills 0 1-2 1, Belle Erhardt 0 0-0 0, Sierra Stafford 0 0-0 0, Maddie Templin 0 0-0 0, Krystal Esterly 0 0-0 0. Totals 9 6-12 25.
Philomath: Haidyn Ecker 4 2-2 10, Emma Pankalla 3 2-2 8, Mia Rust 4 0-0 8, Olivia Jahn-McLaren 3 0-0 7, Riley Weaver 1 4-6 6, Bree Couture 3 0-0 6, Lauren Berklund 2 0-1 4, Carrie Lillis 0 3-4 3, Beth Manning 0 0-0 0, Reiley Reichhuber 0 0-0 0, Braedyn McNeely 0 0-0 0. Totals 20 11-15 52.
Philomath 59, Scappoose 10
Tuesday at Philomath
SCAPPOOSE 4 1 3 2 — 10
PHILOMATH 19 12 6 22 — 59
PHS scoring: Sydney Bradley 19, Amie Russell 11, Sara Bradley 6, Rivers Nuno 6, Phaedra Hinds-Cook 5, Alexis Van Vlack 4, Emma Matthews 4, Mikaila Saathoff 2, Madison Rogers 2, Kamden Combs 0.
Team notes: The JV girls improved to 12-0 with the victory. ... Philomath's defense allowed just four field goals in the game and no more than four points in any one quarter. ... Sydney Bradley, junior, scored her 19 points on eight field goals and 3 of 4 on free throws. She scored 10 of her points in the fourth quarter. ... Junior Amie Russell's 11 points included a 3-pointer in the second quarter. ... The JV team heads to Tillamook Friday.