When a shot at the state championship is the goal, it can be tough to switch gears.

That's the situation facing the Corvallis High girls basketball team. The Spartans fell to Hermiston 56-49 in the 5A semifinal game on Thursday at Gill Coliseum.

Now the Spartans will play for third at 1:30 p.m. on Friday against Crater.

"We have high expectations in this program," CHS coach Greg Garrison said. "We want to be first in state and be competitive every year and every time we step on the court. But right now, we've got to bounce back and I think we will and we'll show a lot of heart and we'll be ready to go."

The Spartans played well but were unable to bring a complete game against the top-seeded Bulldogs.

Hermiston beat them too often on the offensive glass and the Spartans did not rotate out on shooters quickly enough at times.

"I think it just came down to the little things in the end and executing our plays the right way and we just didn't come out as strong as we should have," Stephanie Vallancey-Martinson said.

The Spartans came within one at 24-23 for a moment on a 3-pointer by Taylor Hurley, but Tavin Headings came right back with a 3, then dropped one in at the end of the period.

The 8-0 run by Hermiston to finish the first half left Corvallis in a 32-23 hole.

Headings finished the game with four 3s and hit one in the third in response to a basket by Stephanie Vallancey-Martinson.

"(Headings) certainly was a difference-maker," Garrison said. "She was the best player on the court tonight. And that momentum right before half, I think we were down six, at the free-throw line and we miss and they go down and hit a 3 at the buzzer because we don't box out again in transition. So instead of being potentially a four-point halftime game, it's nine. So I think that really hurt us."

Hurley, a 5-foot-5 sophomore guard, also had a rebound basket in the second and stepped in when Hannah Creswick had to sit with her third foul.

Hurley finished with seven points and five rebounds.

"She played outstanding for us tonight," Garrison said. "She gave us a lot of sparks and she made some shots but it was really her grit and her rebounding and defense that kind of gave us a big lift. I'm really proud of her. It's pretty special when someone can step in, in a big moment like that and perform and she did a good job."

Ana Dursch-Smith had 15 points and seven rebounds, Sydney Joss had 12 points and Alexandria Vallancey-Martinson grabbed 11 rebounds.

Joss hit a 3-pointer early in the fourth to cut the lead to 47-41, but that's as close as the Spartans could come in the second half.

"We have to move on because now we're looking at third place and that's still quite good," Stephanie Vallancey-Martinson said. "And we can still get there, but we have to know that we have to fight strong and play hard every game and every moment of it."

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Sports Reporter

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