The Mapleton girls basketball team won a historic game Thursday night, beating the Siletz Warriors in a rare quadruple overtime that saw multiple injuries, countless close calls and Mapleton pride at its strongest.
The two-and-a-half hour game was the last regular season match for Mapleton, played at home against a team that had previously trounced the Sailors by 22 points. By the final buzzer, Mapleton was celebrating a five-game win streak and had secured spot in the playoffs.
“That was mentally exhausting,” Mapleton coach Mellissa Duffy said after the game. “The whole team played really hard, they worked really hard. I was worried about this one, but they were amazing.”
Quadruple overtimes are exceedingly rare, with the NBA recording only 16 of them in its entire history. Headlines were made when the Portland Trail Blazers and the Denver Nuggets broke the barrier in the 2019 playoffs — a feat that hadn’t occurred in the post league since 1953.
“[Assistant coach Dan] Gray said he’s been coaching for 22 years and he’s never seen quadruple overtime. A triple, but never quadruple,” Duffy said.
Mapleton boys coach Eric Wolgamott hadn’t heard of it ever happening at Mapleton, and none of the girls on the
Mapleton team had ever experienced one overtime period.
And Thursday was not expected to be close. The last time the Sailors battled the Warriors was in January, and the Sailors were just gaining confidence as they won their first two games of the season to break a 10-game losing streak. The momentum quickly ended the next game, when the Warriors defeated Mapleton, 30-52.
The Sailors went on to lose the next three games.
“Our record was already horrible to that point,” Duffy said, and the loss against Siletz was heartbreaking.
Still, the Sailors battled back, winning four straight games and securing a spot in the playoffs, a miracle in its own right. Going into Thursday night’s game — the final of the regular season — the Sailor’s really had nothing to lose, nor anything to gain since the team had already locked-in a playoff appearance.
“It doesn’t matter if the game doesn’t mean anything for the standings,” Duffy said. “Our philosophy is that we’re not giving up until the final buzzer. Basketball is only part of what we’re doing here. We’re trying to teach them things they can use in life. And in life, when you get knocked down it doesn’t mean you give up. You keep going. The girls are getting some good lessons this year about persevering.”
The Sailors took that attitude and came out strong in the first quarter, winning 13-4. The second quarter saw the points dry up for Mapleton, but the Lady Sailors kept their defense strong and aggressive — where jump-ball calls were as frequent as the turnovers.
The Sailors ended the half ahead 14-7. A win still seemed assured, even if not by a large margin.
“It looked like we were going to walk away with it, but Siletz is a strong second-half team,” Duffy said. “Last year, we had the same situation and they came back and ended up with a big lead in the fourth quarter. I told the girls in the locker room that we need to remember that. Even though we usually do better in the second half, so does Siletz. We have to watch that.”
The goal was to play tight defense, “like we normally do, but try not to foul,” Duffy said. “We had some girls miss that memo, and it happened.”
Between foul points and well-placed shots, the Warriors went on a streak, scoring 10 points to take the lead at the end of the third period, 14-17.
It remained that way for the first half of the fourth quarter, until the Sailor’s began to chip away at the Warriors’ lead — first with a free throw shot, followed by a 2-pointer — then again from the free throw line for 2 more points to tie the game at 19-19 with two minutes left. It became a grudge match at that point as each team turned up its defensive pressure.
Duffy praised Gray for keeping the team together.
“He’s been such a great mentor to me and a great coach for the girls,” she said. “I really don’t know if we would have gotten this far without his leadership abilities. Coach Gray helped me keep their heads in the game every time Siletz would pull ahead a couple of points. He would tell them what to do and where to be. He kept reminding them to play good defense and only take good shots.”
The fourth quarter ended dead-locked with no additional points made. For the first time in more than a decade, the Sailors went into overtime.
“I thought ‘This is exciting, this should be fun,’” Duffy said. “We’ve got four more minutes. Let’s get this done.”
The first overtime remained tied until Roni Granger made a 2-pointer. The crowd erupted in applause and chants, but the Warriors fought back with a layup, tying the Sailors at 21.
Mapleton dug in as point guard Opal Burruss held tight control and Trinity Holmes wrestled the ball away from Siletz. Still, the score remained tied, pushing them into a second overtime — which was a repeat of the first OT. Again, Granger scored a basket, followed by the Warriors for 2 points. The home team crowd began vollying “Let’s go Sailors” against the away’s crowd “Let’s go Warriors.”
Meanwhile, the boys basketball team, their game postponed due to the overtimes, pumped up the crowds even more by leading cheers, stomping their feet and jumping high with every blocked shot or turnover.
The second overtime ended tied at 23.
It wasn’t until the third overtime that there was a moment of panic for Mapleton. The Warriors sank a 3-pointer within the first 40 seconds to take a 23-26 lead.
Briena Jensen got fouled and was sent to the line, where she drained both charity shots to bring Mapleton within 1 point. Jensen then hit another 2-pointer, giving the Sailors a slim 27-26 lead until a foul put Siletz on the line, tying the third overtime at 27-27 with a minute remaining — where it stayed until the end of the third overtime.
By this point, the aggressiveness of the play began to take its toll.
“It was a knock down drag out. And girls actually got knocked down and dragged out,” Duffy said. “It was their last regular season game at home, our girls didn’t want to lose that. That was always in the back of their minds.”
Mapleton’s Heather Wierichs took a bad fall and nursed a slight limp. At first, she refused to get off the court, limping her way back into position before eventually being sat down. However, the junior point guard was back in the game soon after.
The players from Siletz weren’t so lucky. As time wore on and the game became more physical, ankles began to sprain. Coaches knelt by multiple players as Wolgamott kept bringing out ice. The Warriors numbers began to dwindle as players were either too injured or simply fouled out.
It’s the fouls that put the Warriors away in the end.
Burruss sank 1 point from the foul line, Brier Shird just missed her shot after her strong performance for the night. But Jensen sealed the deal with two more baskets from the line, putting the Sailors up 30-27 with 1:00 left in the game.
By this time, the Warriors were down to just three players compared to Mapleton’s five. The three didn’t give up, almost tying the game up yet again with a failed 2-pointer. In the final seconds, as Mapleton was running the clock, Warriors Zoey Davis, Johannah Wolf and Emily Simmons still tried to steal the ball back.
“I’m really impressed with how hard they worked,” Duffy said of Siletz. “Even though they were injured, even in the last minute and-a-half, there were only three girls on the floor, they didn’t give up. They just kept playing. The girls were going over to get iced while free throws were being shot. That shows a lot of character and determination.”
As the final buzzer rang, the cheers in the room became deafening as players from both teams hugged for a well-fought game,
Wolgamott, whose boys team played 20 minutes later in a game that, itself, went into one overtime, said the evening as a whole was important for Mapleton.
“What a night it was,” he said. “I saw a lot of pride out here tonight. It got loud and it was packed. I think the big winner tonight is the school and the community. I grew up here, and tonight makes you proud to be from here.”
As for Duffy, she was somewhat speechless at the end of the game. When asked what her thoughts were on the last home game, she simply said, “It was a great season. And I cannot wait to see what the playoffs bring — because they girls are just beginning to hit their stride. The sky’s the limit.”