Perfect record: Silverton girls claim state 5A hoop title with 28-0 season

March 2016 Posted in School, Sports
SHS senior Alia Parsons. Photo by Kristine Thomas

SHS senior Alia Parsons. Photo by Kristine Thomas.

By James Day and Kristine Thomas

It was a dream season for the Silverton High girls basketball team.

The Foxes rallied from a big deficit for the second consecutive day and claimed an excruciatingly tense 39-38 victory Saturday against Springfield to win the OSAA Class 5A title at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.

Silverton finished with a perfect 28-0 record and won its third state championship in girls basketball one year after the Foxes’ boys team won its first state title since 1910. The girls previous titles were in 1989 and 1994 (second in 1990 and 1991).

“We have worked our tails off the entire season,” junior post Kayce McLaughlin said. “We are proud to finish 28-0. Our team has an intensity and a willpower that means we never give up. We know what it takes to win, even if we are behind.”

“They didn’t panic when they were behind and they didn’t give up,” said Coach Tal Wold said, adding that a key factor is they are friends and they enjoy being together. “They are always encouraging one another.”

Wold said both Springfield and semifinal opponent Corvallis were great defensive teams. “I told the team to keep shooting, play tough defensively and keep talking to one another,” Wold said.

Silverton closed out its semifinal win Friday against Corvallis on a 13-2 run and used a similar rally to overtake Springfield, which was looking to avenge a 46-37 loss to the Foxes on Dec. 11.

The Millers led 31-22 at the end of the third period, but Silverton once again proved the stronger finisher, outscoring Springfield 18-8 in the final quarter. Junior wing Hannah Munson scored all eight of her points in the period, burying a pair of 3-pointers to put the Foxes within range and tying the game at 37-37 on a two-pointer with 2:57 left.

Alia Parsons, who led the Foxes with 15 points, dropped in a free throw with 1:07 left to break a 38-38 tie. It was the only Silverton lead of the game. There was no more scoring. Silverton only allowed Springfield one shot in the final minute.

“None of us were worried even though we were behind,” Parsons said. “We just kept pushing.”

The team’s motto is “find a way” and that’s just what they did, she said.

Munson and Elena Smisek, who scored six points, led the Foxes to a 14-2 edge in bench points. And for the second consecutive game the Foxes made hay with their defense, scoring 18 points off 26 Springfield turnovers. Parsons had eight steals for the second consecutive game and the team totaled 13. The Foxes rang up 17 steals in their semifinal win against.

“The key to our win was our defense,” Munson said. “We stuck to our blueprint and never let down on our defense.”

Parson was a unanimous all-tournament selection. She finished fifth in the tournament in scoring with 42 points (a 14.0 average) and she led all players in steals with 18. Brooke McCarty and Munson added six steals as the Foxes claimed three of the top six spots in that category. McCarty, a sophomore point guard, also was second in assists with 16.

The Foxes advanced to the finals with a hard-to-believe-it-if-you-weren’t-there 37-36 victory Friday against Mid-Willamette Conference rival Corvallis.

The win was the third of the season for the Foxes against Corvallis.

Silverton wing Alia Parsons, who led the team with 14 points, nailed the winning layup with 5.6 seconds left after a Brooke McCarty steal that capped a 13-2 closing run for the Foxes.

Corvallis started fast with an 8-2 lead, took a 16-12 edge to halftime and led 31-22 at the end of the third period. And when Alexandria Vallancey Martinson made one of two free throws with 5:41 left for a 34-24 lead – the Foxes were on the ropes.

Or so it seemed. Parson nailed a 3-pointer to cut it to seven, Hannah Munson added a long 2-pointer and Parsons made a steal and a drive for a 34-31 score with 3:11 to go. Vallancey-Martinson made another free throw for 35-31, but a Maggie Roth steal led to an Elena Smisek layup and the Foxes were within two with 1:17 on the clock. Another Vallancey-Martinson free throw made it 36-33 with 45.2 seconds left, but that was it for Corvallis.

Roth fed Elena Smisek for another layup with 21 seconds left for a 36-35 score, then McCarty’s steal led to Parsons’ game-winner.

“It was exciting,” said McCarty a sophomore point guard who finished with five rebounds, five assists and three steals. “I was just hoping we’d get something out of it. We never give up on each other. We’re going to stay together no matter what.”

Team roster inlcudes Ashtin Alexander, Stephanie Zitzelberger, Hannah Munson, Kayce McLaughlin, Elena Smisek, Brooke McCarty, Maggie Roth, Madison Ulven, Alia Parsons, Hailey Smisek, Alexa Rand, Jaeda Leggett and Tessa Oster.

Head coach is Tal Wold, with assistants Brian Satern, KayLynn Kuenzi, Andrew Martin, Melissa Martin, Paul Pickerell and Hank Ulven.

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