Sailor’s defense smothers Alsea

Senior Jahala Blake, #3, played exceptional post defense and also scored 7 points in the Sailors game versus Alsea on Jan. 18. (Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

MHS girls use aggressive defense in league win

Jan. 22, 2022 -- The Mapleton girls basketball team moved into the thick of the race for a state playoff spot with a dominating 35-17 win over Alsea on Jan. 18. With the win, the Sailor’s 3-4 record puts them in fifth place in the Mountain West and only 1.5 games behind Triangle Lake, who are in the third place, the spot the Sailors need to be if they wish to advance to the 1A state playoffs at the end of the season.

Leading scorer for Mapleton was senior Opal Burruss with 12 points.

Next was fellow senior Jahala Blake with 7 points. Blake has become known as the “enforcer” for the Sailors, battling under the basket with whoever is the opponents’ tallest and strongest player. It is a role Blake relishes.

“Honestly, it's a lot of stress relief for me,” said Blake. “I feel like my biggest goal with a lot of the contact is to protect my players. When I set screens, I like to get right up in there mainly because the players on the other team have gotten rough with one of my guards. I think I just really love getting in there and like getting rough. … That's just the way I am.”

Sailor Basketball Coach Vanessa Clemons couldn’t be happier with her team’s performance.

“We were patient on offense and disciplined defensively,” said Clemons. “Overall, a great team win.”

Seven games represent the end of the first half of the league season for the Sailors and hopes are high for half two.

“I think I think we're going to do very well,” said Blake. “We've already improved so much from the time that we started. It's just unbelievable how we're coming together as a team. We’re playing together really well right now and it feels good.”

Games for the rest of this week were cancelled for COVID precautions but Mapleton will, tentatively, next play Tuesday, Jan. 25, when the teams travel to Eddyville. Girls game is at 5:30 p.m., boys are next at 7 p.m.