It wasn't long ago that Corvallis High junior Ana Dursch-Smith might have avoided going to the free-throw line.

When the opportunity arose late in the Spartans' 5A quarterfinal game against Silverton in Gill Coliseum, Dursch-Smith wanted to take the shots.

The line hasn't always been kind to Dursch-Smith this season, but that didn't matter on Wednesday. She hit 3 of 4 on two one-and-ones in the final 31 seconds, including both shots with 14.3 seconds left and the Spartans came away with a 41-40 win.

"I was just trying to gather myself and calm down and just not think about anything," Dursch-Smith said.

"A couple of games ago I would have told you I was concerned about going to the line, but I felt pretty confident in this game going up and shooting."

The fourth-seeded Spartans (22-4) now take on No. 1 seed Hermiston in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The game stayed close throughout the fourth. A runner put the Spartans up 38-37 with 1:33 to go and neither team was able to score for the next minute.

The second pair of free throws gave the Spartans a 41-37 lead and the Silver Foxes hit a deep 3 in the final seconds.

It was a typical defensive matchup between the teams, which split in the regular season with both winning on the opponents' court.

Sydney Joss said the teams are very similar defensively.

"We know this team really well, they know us really well and we felt like we owed them because it was tied in a sense, they won one and we won one," Joss said. "We knew we had to come out as strong as we could and just give it our all."

Hannah Creswick was disruptive in the pass lanes and had a few steals that led to breakaways. She finished with four steals.

Dursch-Smith also came up big on the defensive end for the Spartans, holding Alia Parsons scoreless. Parsons was the Mid-Willamette Conference player of the year this season and scored 17 points in Silverton's 27-23 win at CHS.

"It was definitely a big factor for our defense and shutting her down made a world of difference," Creswick said. "I think that it came down to who came out more aggressive and I think that in the second half we came out very aggressive and that made the big difference in the end."

The Spartans trailed 22-20 at the half but a small run late in the second kept them in touch with the Foxes after falling behind 20-15.

Sophomore Grace Corbin came up with a rebound basket at the buzzer to cut the lead to two.

"I think that gave us the ability to look at it as if we started the half 0-2," Creswick said. "So I think that made a big difference just coming out and this is basically like the start of a regular game."


Sports Reporter

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