SALEM– The Clatskanie Lady Tigers were challenged early but battled back to beat the 2nd-ranked Sutherlin Bulldogs 69-65 in overtime on Monday Night. Trailing by as many as 13 points, a career night from Kaity Sizemore, who scored a team-high 21 points, sparked a lot of momentum into the Lady Tigers.
Taking part in the 3rd annual MLK Yoda Showcase, Clatskanie had previously gone 0-2 at the event that takes place in Salem each season. The Yoda Showcase typically features the best teams from 2A and 3A, facing them off against each other in a midseason battle.
A battle it was, Clatskanie got on the board early, with Sizemore scoring the team’s first five points. Both sides would exchange buckets for the remainder of the period, with the score being 14-14 going into the 2nd.
The 2nd quarter, however, was taken over by Sutherlin. The Lady Bulldogs drained five 3-pointers, which got them out to a 32-19 lead. A 7-2 run to end the quarter brought Clatskanie within 8, at 26-34, making the margin much more reasonable heading into the locker room.
At the half, Sizemore and Blodgett both had 9 points. Sutherlin Junior Paige Bailey was the leading scorer with 11.
During the break, Clatskanie Head Coach John Blodgett told his team: “ We need to have more effort defending the corners. They’re shooting about 75% from 3. If we can limit the amount 3-pointers they make, we can get back into this game.”
Opening up the 3rd quarter, the Lady Tigers continued the run they started to end the first half. They followed instruction by defending the perimeter, and at the 3:36 mark, an Alexis Smith 3-pointer knotted the game at 36. Both sides would exchange baskets back-and-forth until the Tigers grabbed a 43-42 lead to end the period, their first lead since the first quarter.
As the Tigers got over the hump, taking the lead, a fierce drive resulting in an and-one opportunity from Sizemore got the crowd on their feet. Following her finish through contact, the momentum had fully swung into Clatskanie’s favor.
The first four minutes of the 4th quarter was back and forth like the 3rd before Clatskanie reached their largest lead at 49-44. Sutherlin began to find the same stroke they had from the 3-point line in the 2nd quarter and embarked on a 14-6 run. With a minute to play, Sutherlin led 59-55 and had the ball. Clatskanie began to hassle the Lady Bulldogs, forcing three turnovers, which turned to buckets. With 27.7 seconds left, the game was knotted at 59, but Olivia Sprague had fouled out, making a difficult situation even more stressful for Clatskanie. Both sides would score one more bucket, and the game would be tied at 61 heading into OT.
The Blodgett-Sizemore combination would dominate the overtime period. The Lady Tigers grabbed the lead off a Blodgett floater early, and wouldn’t look back.
Two free throws from Blodgett sealed the deal with 5.6 seconds left sealed the deal in Clatskanie picking up the victory.
Clatskanie (12-1) was led by Sizemore, who scored a career-high 21 points. Blodgett added 20, and Sprague had 18.
Sutherlin (15-2) was led by Junior Guard Jadyn Vermillon, who scored 19 points.
BIG PICTURE: The Lady Tigers maintained their #1 ranking in the battle of one vs. two on Monday Night. Clatskanie will play another big game tomorrow night at #5 Willamina in a key Coastal Range League matchup. A win tomorrow night would go a long way in clinching a 3rd-straight league #1 seed for Clatskanie.