It’s been a four-year run of supremacy for Corvallis High and Silverton.
The two girls basketball programs shared the Mid-Willamette Conference championship in 2015 while the Spartans (2014) and Foxes (2016) each secured outright titles during the span. With Silverton returning four starters and Corvallis three, the teams were likely to battle again for the MWC’s top spot this season.
And that’s precisely what transpired.
The Foxes and Spartans entered Friday’s regular-season finale in Corvallis — the eighth meeting between the teams since January of 2015 — tied atop the standings with identical 12-1 league records. In a defensive struggle, CHS pulled out a 33-26 victory to clinch the MWC title and the league’s No. 1 seed to the 5A state playoffs.
The Spartans (20-3 overall), who held Silverton (18-4) to just 11 points through three quarters, will host a state round of 16 game next Saturday.
“We are so proud,” CHS senior point guard Taylor Hurley said. “We’ve all been playing together since second grade and one of our coaches, my mom (Dorann Hurley), has been coaching us since we were that young, and it’s just an amazing way to end league. And we’ve got higher goals. It is great to celebrate this, but we’re so excited to get back in the gym Sunday.”
Silverton, the defending 5A champion, also receives an automatic berth to the round of 16.
A season ago, the Foxes went 28-0 en route to the state title. The run included a 37-36 victory over CHS in the state semifinals.
The Spartans got a little revenge earlier this year, defeating the Foxes 48-42 in Silverton.
CHS coach Greg Garrison foresees another postseason meeting between the teams.
“I would almost guarantee that we are going to play them again,” said Garrison, whose team is 4-4 in its last eight games with Silverton. “We’ve played them in the quarters. We played them in the semis last year and lost a heartbreaker. So yeah, I just assume that we’re going to play them again.”
Senior Grace Corbin led the Spartans with 11 points while teammates Alexandria Vallancey-Martinson and Maddie Garretson added eight apiece.
Garretson, a freshman, scored all of her points in the second half.
“It’s so neat to see her just kind of let loose and be aggressive,” Garrison said of Garretson. “One thing we really try to emphasize is win or lose, let’s be the aggressive team. Maybe because she’s a freshman she didn’t know what the consequences would be, but she played fearless and she gave us that kind of lift the last time we played them as well.”
Hurley scored six on two 3-pointers to round out CHS’ scoring.
Hailey Smisek paced the Foxes, who made just nine field goals, with 10 points.
CHS outscored Silverton 6-0 in the third quarter to grab a 17-11 lead.
Foul shots from Corbin put the hosts up 13-11 with 5:39 remaining in the period. The lead grew to six on four straight points Garretson.
Maggie Roth converted a pair from the line — Silverton’s first points of the half — with 7:23 remaining in the game. A Corbin bucket immediately extended CHS’ lead back to six at 19-13, and Hurley later knocked down a straight-away 3 to make it 23-15.
“I think our defense led us to our offense,” Hurley said. “In the third quarter we shut them out, which gave us momentum. And at the same time, when they’re not making baskets we can push it up the court quicker, which lets us get it inside to our posts.”
Silverton trimmed the deficit to four at 23-19, but Corbin hit a dagger 3 with 3:35 to play that put the hosts up 28-20.
CHS maintained control the rest of the way.
The Spartans came up empty on their first five possessions before a Vallancey-Martinson jumper tied it at 2 with 3:40 left in the first quarter. A Hurley 3 put CHS up 8-4, but Smisek had the last two baskets of the period to even the score.
The teams combined for just six second-quarter points and headed to their respective locker rooms knotted at 11.
“They are an outstanding defensive team and they are really well coached,” Garrison said. “I’m really proud of our girls’ intensity and effort. Our mantra is we are successful because of our defense, so it was nice for that to come to fruition tonight.”
Prior to tipoff, CHS honored Maggie Beck, Corbin, Hurley and Vallancey-Martinson during its senior night ceremony.
The four will play one final home game in a Spartan uniform next Saturday.