The North Douglas girls will be facing a quasi-familiar foe when they open the Class 1A basketball state tournament Wednesday evening in Baker City.
The Warriors, the No. 6 seed in the tournament bracket, will square off with No. 3 Perrydale in the first round at 6:30 p.m. The two teams met on Jan. 10 in Drain, with Perrydale taking home a 44-40 victory.
“Luckily we have a team we’ve already played once this year,” North Douglas coach Jody Cyr said. “If we do our jobs, I think we’ll take care of business.
“I have a ton of respect for them. I think they probably have the highest basketball IQ in their guard play we’ve seen.”
That guard play is powered by Perrydale senior twins Kenzy and Sydney Lawrence, who will put the Warriors’ pressure defense to the test.
“They are a very aggressive, defense-oriented team,” Perrydale coach Terry Newton said of the Warriors. “We have to come out and play disciplined to beat them.”
North Douglas’ strength most of the season has come from its defensive pressure, anchored by seniors Nicki Derrick, Natalie Draeger, Sofia Alcantar, Rilie-Jo Olds and Bailey Holcomb. The Warriors will be without freshman Savannah Harkins, who was lost for the season with a knee injury.
Junior Natalie Thompson, sophomore Sam MacDowell and freshman Brooklyn Williams have made big contributions.
The Pirates enter the state tournament with a 24-4 overall record, with three of those losses coming at the hands of defending 1A state champion St. Paul and the other to Central Linn, which ended the season ranked No. 6 in the final OSAAtoday Class 2A coaches poll.
North Douglas is 24-3 going into the tournament, with its other two losses against Class 2A No. 2 Gervais and Class 2A No. 4 Coquille.
Both teams have been tested.
“It’s going to be an exciting matchup. (Cyr) knows what we do, we know what they do, and whoever does it best is going to come out on top,” Newton said.
“I think we match up extremely well with them,” Cyr said. “We just didn’t handle their pressure very well and did an awful job of getting into any kind of offensive set.”
In order to get to the championship game, either team is going to have to get through a stacked half of a bracket which also includes No. 2 seed St. Paul — which was the unanimous No. 1 until its 64-49 loss to Crane on Jan. 25. The Lady Bucs take on No. 7 Mohawk in the late game Wednesday.
On the other half of the bracket, No. 1 Crane will face No. 9 Country Christian to open the tournament, followed by No. 5 Joseph against No. 4 Damascus Christian.
“There are two clear-cut favorites in Crane and St. Paul, but I think we can be competitive,” Cyr said.
“Both brackets are pretty solid,” Newton said. “Obviously St. Paul is really good, North Douglas is really good. Every team there is good.”
Consolation games will be held Thursday, with the championship semifinals slated for Friday. Trophy games will begin at 9 a.m. Saturday.