SUTHERLIN — More often than not, the best players rise up in crunch time for their basketball teams.
That was the case with Micah Wicks on Thursday night.
The 5-foot-5 junior guard was the catalyst as Sutherlin dominated the fourth quarter, scoring 12 points in the last five minutes in a 43-33 victory over Marist Catholic in a nonleague game at the Dog Pound.
It was just the type of test Sutherlin, which has no seniors on its roster, needed. The Bulldogs (12-1) are ranked No. 2 in the OSAA Class 3A coaches poll and the Spartans (7-4) are No. 6 in 4A.
Wicks, a first-team all-state selection as a sophomore, scored 15 of her game-high 25 points in the second half despite foul trouble. Her basket with 5:02 remaining gave Sutherlin — which trailed by four entering the final quarter — the lead for good.
Wicks converted 9 of 11 free throws in the contest.
“It was a good win,” Sutherlin coach Josh Grotting said. “We haven’t been playing real well our last three, four games. This (Marist) is really an athletic team with really good guards.
“We were terrible the last two minutes of the first half (to fall behind), but really bounced back well, especially in the fourth quarter. We saw some of our young kids mature, and hopefully it sticks around.”
“It’s really important,” Wicks said. “It has been a rough couple of practices, we had to get refocused. Our effort and intensity is really what got us the win, and it’s a good boost going into league.”
The Bulldogs got a solid performance from Addyson Clark. The 6-1 freshman post provided an inside presence with 13 points, nine coming in the second half. Clark helped Sutherlin to a huge advantage in offensive rebounding before fouling out in the fourth quarter.
Josie Vermillion, Ava Gill and Madison Wagner all made hustle plays to give the ’Dogs extra opportunities.
“It was a really good win,” said Clark, whose father Tim led the Sutherlin boys to the 3A state championship in 1997. “I think we played really well and that’s the best team we’ve played. We’ve been working on rebounding, and that’s definitely the best rebounding game we’ve had.”
“Addyson did a really good job. Her fouls were legitimate fouls tonight,” Grotting said. “We can’t get the frustration fouls and she didn’t tonight. With her on the floor, we’re a whole different team.”
The Bulldogs held Marist 11 points below its season scoring average. Malia Williams led the Spartans with nine points and Madison Holmes chipped in seven.
“I’m really proud of our team,” Wicks said. “My teammates have a lot of trust in me and I really appreciated that. They gave me the ball when we needed to score some points and get the lead, did a good job of cutting and setting some screens for me. I was able to put it in the hole.”
Sutherlin is scheduled to open Far West League play at home at 5:30 p.m. Friday against South Umpqua (2-5).
MARIST CATHOLIC (33) — Malia Williams 9, Doerr 6, Randol, Fuller 6, Sydow, Holmes 7, De Lee, Henderson 5. Totals 11 6-14 33.
SUTHERLIN (43) — Micah Wicks 25, Edmonson, Gill, Vermillion 2, Wagner 3, Clark 13, Huntley. Totals 15 13-25 43.
Marist 5 12 11 5 — 33
Sutherlin 10 6 8 19 — 43
3-Point Shots — Mar. 5 (Williams 2, Fuller 2, Holmes 1), Suth. 0. Total Fouls — Mar. 19, Suth. 12. Fouled Out — Henderson, Clark.
JV Score — Marist 44, Sutherlin 33.