Undefeated Crusaders state bound after rout

If you thought the Oregon football team's motto of "Win the Day" was impressive, you may not yet have spoken with Mackenzie Krieser.

"To seize the day, you have to seize the moment, and to do that you have to break it into each quarter," the St. Mary's senior said following her team's 60-30 victory over Rainier at St. Mary's High on Saturday. "So we win each quarter, and if we win each quarter, we win the next quarter, and eventually win the game, and then eventually you win the next game. We break it down."

The top-ranked and undefeated Crusaders were just as thorough against the Columbians (17-11) in their Class 3A state playoff contest, using fierce defensive pressure and judicious offensive play to run circles around Rainier and pull away swiftly.

St. Mary's (23-0) will next face second-ranked Salem Academy (24-3) in the eight-team 3A state championships at 3:15 p.m. on Thursday at Marshfield High in Coos Bay.

Krieser scored 16 points and three others finished in double figures for the Crusaders, who led by as many as 37 points in the blowout. With its overpowering full-court press, St. Mary's contained Rainier to 26 percent shooting (10-for-39). The road team scored just one bucket in the first quarter and struggled mightily to cultivate any offensive rhythm throughout.

"Our goal going into the game was to hold them to seven or eight points a quarter," St. Mary's head coach Rick Jackson said. "We literally wrote it on the board: seven or eight points a quarter, and hold them at 30 points or less in the game, which is a pretty lofty goal. The girls executed well."

Aside from the Columbians' 10-point fourth, Jackson's bunch achieved their goal. The Crusaders' stingy defense wore down Rainier, which played without leading scorer Kaylea Knox. The sophomore guard discovered Friday that she had mononucleosis.

"We knew we'd have to play a good game, we knew we'd have to handle their pressure, we knew we'd have to defend their shooters," Rainier head coach Doug Knox said. "We just couldn't do it. That's the way it goes."

St. Mary's quickly took control, jumping out to a 16-6 lead after the first quarter and a 28-13 advantage by halftime. The Crusaders missed just eight shots in the final 16 minutes (14 of 22) and shot 48 percent from the floor (24-for-50) on the night.

"Even though we didn't get a ton of steals off the press, I think it wore them down," Jackson said. "So I think after the end of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, us extending the lead was the result of pressing most of the game and then, boom, we're used to doing that and they are a little tired."

Emily Alvarez had 13 points and knocked down three 3-pointers, Kylee Adderson turned in 12 points and eight rebounds and Jamee Batten recorded 10 points and nine rebounds for St. Mary's.

Amanda Schwegler led Rainier with 12 points.

The Crusaders will have their work cut out for them against Salem Academy, which beat Willamina 70-46 on Saturday.

"We take games one by one," senior guard Domonique Valdez said. "We are not looking forward to the championship game until we get past the first round."

RAINIER (30) — Sherburne 1, Clarke 3, Schwegler 12, Garland 7, Roof 0, A. Coffman 2, H. Coffman 0, Hall 0, Thurston 4, Crape 1. Totals: 10-39 8-21 30.

ST. MARY'S (60) — DeBoer 0, E. Alvarez 13, Valdez 2, Steinsiek 5, Krieser 16, Martin 0, Adderson 12, Batten 10, Ramsay 0, Armas 0, J. Alvarez 2. Totals: 24-50 8-15 60.

Rainier 6 7 7 10 — 30

St. Mary's 16 12 16 16 — 60

3-point goals — Rainier 2 (Garland 1, Thurston 1), St. Mary's 4 (E. Alvarez 3, Steinsiek 1). Technical fouls — Rainier head coach Doug Knox.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or e-mail djones@mailtribune.com

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