Viking girl hoopsters battle Marist

Siuslaw sophomore Mya Smith, #14, lead the Vikings in scoring versus Marist on Feb. 4 with 5 points. (Photo by Zac Burtt/Siuslaw News)

Team’s resiliency continues to show through

Feb. 8, 2022 — The Siuslaw girls basketball team is nearing the end of their season. Though they are still fighting for that first win, the steady improvement the players have shown all season is a victory in itself.

On Friday, Feb. 4, Marist came to town for a Sky-Em League game. Usually played as a double header with the boys, the girls game was the only varsity game that night as the Siuslaw boys team’s game was cancelled, once again because of COVID concerns.

Viking Coach Aaron McNeill came in with the goal of his team showing more patience on offense and make execution a priority. According to the coach, this was accomplished.

“My goal for our team that night was to execute our offense and be more patient offensively, not forcing it to a teammate in a poor position to score or dribbling ourselves out of our offense,” said McNeill. “I wanted to see us run our offensive plays all the way through, looking to score at the different options along the way.”

He said the team spent the majority of Monday's practice working on offensive execution and working on the basics of setting solid screens, using the screens effectively, cutting hard, timing of cuts and looking at all the options. 

“We executed our offense much better and more frequently last night than the prior two games,” the coach continued. “I was really pleased with how the girls responded to Monday's practice. We may not have scored as many points as we'd wanted, but we did put ourselves in a much better position for quality shots through our offensive execution.”

Coming into the game, Marist was 4-1 in Sky-Em play, 12-5 overall and ranked #8 in OSAA’s 4A Coaches Poll.

McNeill knew his defense would have their work cut out for them.

“I thought we played solid defense for most of the game, but when you play an extremely talented team like Marist, it is just a challenge to stop them on every possession,” he said. “Marist has a size advantage over us — and most teams — and some great perimeter shooters that can create nightmares for opposing defenses. We played solid defense initially on most possessions, but gave up too many second and third opportunities, and you cannot do that to any team, let alone a talented team in Marist. Give Marist credit, they shot the ball extremely well.”

The Spartans had control all game and ended up winning 59-16. Leading scorers for the Vikings were sophomores Mya Smith with 5 points and Jane Lacouture with 4.

Siuslaw’s girls team faced Marshfield on Tuesday, Feb. 8, after press deadlines and will travel to Elmira on Friday, Feb. 11. The Vikings and Falcons girls teams tipoff at 5:45 p.m. 

The Siuslaw boys team had all its games through Feb. 10 postponed and will play its final six games in seven nights starting on Feb. 12 with a 4 p.m. game at Junction City. The Tigers are ranked #1 in both OSAA's 4A Coaches Poll and computer rankings.