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St. Mary's forced to settle for sixth place

It was same song, different verse for the St. Mary's girls basketball team Saturday in the consolation championship at the Class 3A state tournament in Coos Bay.

The Crusaders, whose play has been dominated all season by the all-senior starting unit, found themselves in early foul trouble and simply couldn't respond in a 47-42 loss to Coquille at Marshfield High.

Three St. Mary's players picked up a pair of fouls in the first quarter and another was tagged with three fouls. The issue snowballed from there, leaving the Crusaders to scramble and ultimately settle for sixth place in the eight-team tourney.

"It was sort of the story of the tournament for us," said St. Mary's head coach Rick Jackson. "I don't know the reason, but we just couldn't stay out of foul trouble. We were just in foul trouble every single game. It wasn't just one girl, we had seven foul outs in three games."

Seniors Jamee Batten, Mackenzie Krieser and Kylee Adderson each picked up a pair of fouls on the defensive end trying to slow the more physical Red Devils in the first quarter, while senior Abby Steinsiek was tagged with three fouls.

Matters turned from bad to dismal inside the first two minutes of the third quarter, with Krieser and Batten joining Steinsiek with three fouls. Batten then picked up her fourth foul one minute later, and the remainder of the game essentially saw Jackson turn to his reserves a little more than he had hoped.

"We just don't have the firepower to win a game like that; we just don't have the depth," said the coach. "We made a nice little run at the end and made a couple buckets to make it close, but there just wasn't enough time left to try and do more."

Adderson and freshman reserve Emily Alvarez led the attack by each scoring 12 points for St. Mary's, which managed to shoot only 22 percent (9-for-40) against the bigger, stronger Coquille defenders.

Krieser added nine points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter, while senior point guard Domonique Valdez posted a team-high seven rebounds to go with three assists and two steals.

The loss was the second at the state tourney and only second of the year for St. Mary's, which set a single-season record with 24 wins this season despite moving up to the 3A level.

"There really are six teams in that tournament that would beat each other on any given night," said Jackson. "That's how close the top six teams are here."

St. Mary's managed a 22-21 lead heading into halftime and later trimmed a nine-point deficit to 39-34 with 5:19 to go in the fourth quarter. After the Red Devils (27-3) regained control, the Crusaders again mounted another flurry and pulled within 46-42 with 22 seconds to go on an Adderson 3-pointer.

St. Mary's tried to foul in the backcourt to help extend the game by stopping the clock and forcing Coquille to shoot free throws, but the one time the Crusaders hoped to foul they simply couldn't pick one up. Steinsiek finally stopped the clock with a foul but only eight seconds remained.

COQUILLE (47) — Jones 11, Hill 10, Richardson 9, Davis 8, Andy 4, GeDeros 4, Altenbach 1, Hyatt 0, Cook 0. Totals: 12-39 17-24 47.

ST. MARY'S (42) — E. Alvarez 12, Adderson 12, Krieser 9, Steinsiek 5, Valdez 2, Batten 2, Martin 0, Armas 0, J. Alvarez 0. Totals: 9-40 12-17 42.

Coquille 14 7 16 10 — 47

St. Mary's 9 13 8 12 — 42

3-point goals — Coquille 2-10 (Richardson 2), St. Mary's 4-14 (E. Alvarez 2, Steinsiek 1, Adderson 1). Fouled out — Batten, Krieser.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, or e-mail khenry@mailtribune.com. Follow him at twitter.com/Kris_Henry