CORVALLIS — Crater’s upset-minded run through the Class 5A state tournament took a detour Tuesday, but the Comets did not go down without a fight.
Crater lost 52-43 to defending 5A champ La Salle Prep in the state quarterfinals at Gill Coliseum, where the No. 10 seed Comets return this morning to face third-seeded Central. Tip-off is scheduled for 10:45 a.m.
Coming off an upset over Wilsonville that propelled them into the double-elimination state tourney, the Comets (21-6) continued to exceed expectations by threatening to knock off star senior Taycee Wedin and the Falcons (21-4), who won their 17th straight.
Sydney Gray scored 10 of her team-high 16 points in the fourth quarter for Crater, which trailed by 12 with about six minutes remaining in the game before rallying to come within 44-40.
Gray, who added 10 rebounds and four steals, was one of three Comets starters (Maya Van Hook, Mackenzie Ryerson) battling flu-like symptoms and, in fact, visited an urgent care facility earlier in the day to receive treatment prior to turning in yet another solid all-around performance.
“I was really proud that they pulled through,” Crater coach Scott Dippel said. “Obviously, (the loss is) disappointing, but all in all, they gave a tremendous effort tonight.”
Wedin, who was limited to six points while going 0 of 5 from behind the 3-point arc in the first half, was too much for Crater in the second half. She finished with a game-high 21 points to top her season average (20.0) and made 3 of 5 from downtown after halftime, thanks in part to strategic adjustments by La Salle.
“She’s an incredible player,” Dippel said. “Hats off to her. She was fantastic.”
Crater made fewer than 30 percent of its field goal attempts (1 of 11 from 2-point range) in the first half but managed to hang around thanks to shooting 4 of 6 from 3-point range (with four different players connecting from long distance) and 4 of 4 at the free throw line.
The Comets trailed 13-8 early in second quarter before rallying with a 10-2 run capped by a 3-pointer by Kayana Woodard to take their first and only lead, which extended to three points on a basket by Van Hook.
La Salle, however, answered with a 6-0 run to end first half half and take the lead for good.
Despite Crater holding the rebounding edge, the Falcons outscored the Comets in the paint 16-2 in the first half, led by Kylie Burg, who went for seven of her 11 points before halftime.
The Falcons were also able to capitalize on 20 Crater turnovers, which they converted in 22 points. Emily Niebergall, who scored nine of her 11 points in the second half, led La Salle with six steals, while Taycee Wedin added four steals and her younger sister, freshman Addison Wedin, chipped in three thefts.
La Salle threatened to pull away early in the fourth quarter after building its largest lead, 42-30, but the Crater rallied behind Gray and Van Hook, who scored eight of her 10 points in the second half.
“We had two shots to kind of fold and the girls fought back and really played them as well as I thought we would play them,” Dippel said. “It definitely was not an issue of effort. We played as hard as we could.”
Van Hook suffered an ankle injury in the final minutes of the fourth quarter and Nehkyah Ellis, Crater’s top interior defender, injured her finger, but both will play today against Central (21-4), which was upset 26-23 by sixth-seeded Bend.
“It’s gonna be kind of a gut-check for both teams,” Dippel said.
At Corvallis (Gill Coliseum)
LA SALLE PREP 52, CRATER 43
CRATER (43): Sydney Gray 3-5 9-11 16; Maya Van Hook 3-6 4-4 10; Mackenzie Ryerson 1-10 1-2 4; Eliza Idiart 1-3 0-0 3; Nehkyah Ellis 1-1 0-0 3; Kayana Woodard 1-1 0-0 3; Alexus Woodard 0-4 2-2 2; Presley Robison 1-1 0-0 2; Averi Young 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 11-32 16-19 43.
LA SALLE PREP (52): Taycee Wedin 7-16 4-4 21; Emily Niebergall 4-9 3-4 11; Kylie Burg 3-7 5-6 11; Colby Jansen 3-6 0-2 6; Addison Wedin 1-3 1-2 3; Lyndsay Riehl 0-0 0-0 0; Hannah Sisul 0-0 0-0 0; Amanda Sisul 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-41 13-18 52.
La Salle Prep;11;10;17;14;—;52
3-point goals — Crater 5-14 (Mackenzie Ryerson 1-5; Kayana Woodard 1-1; Nehkyah Ellis 1-1; Eliza Idiart 1-2; Sydney Gray 1-2; Alexus Woodard 0-3), La Salle Prep 3-14 (Taycee Wedin 3-10; Emily Niebergall 0-3; Addison Wedin 0-1). Fouled out — Crater-None, La Salle Prep-None. Rebounds — Crater 26 (Sydney Gray 10), La Salle Prep 24 (Colby Jansen 5; Emily Niebergall 5). Assists — Crater 7 (Mackenzie Ryerson 4), La Salle Prep 11 (Emily Niebergall 3). Total fouls — Crater 17, La Salle Prep 15. Technical fouls — Crater-None, La Salle Prep-None.