STAYTON, Ore.– Stayton didn’t fade into the night quietly against Klamath Union Saturday afternoon as they turned a 35-26 third quarter deficit down to two with 1:35 left in the game. Trailing 42-40, the Eagles were looking to return to the Field of 16 while the Pelicans were looking for their first trip to the State Playoffs since the 2014-2015 season.
It’s weird to think that at one point in this game that the Eagles led 17-6, only to see the Klamath Falls-based team coming swarming back to build that third quarter lead. Yet there were the Eagles in this 4A Play-In game, knocking on the door of what both teams wished to achieve in reaching the bracketed field.
“I think we had a really good first quarter, we came out and we were a good team the first quarter and we were fighting until the end. We were giving all that we got. It was one of those games where we should’ve finished better, but I thought we did well playing as a team,” Stayton’s Kenzie Hollenbeck said.
Hollenbeck finished the game with 12 points for the Eagles and Lydia Bielenberg contributed another 11 in what ultimately was Stayton’s final game of the season. That was because the Pelicans clutched up when they needed to. They didn’t want to leave their seniors in the play-in stage again, having reached this point in 2021 recently and back in the 2015-16, a year after their last postseason appearance until now. Finishing the game on a 10-0 run to clinch their first postseason berth in eight years in the process in their 52-40 road victory.
“We just wanted to win for our seniors to show people a statement. (The win) was tremendous, last year we came to play-in and we lost, so we wanted to come back this year and fight,” describes Klamath Union’s Keely Hall. “It was a fight, a battle. It was a battle between us. It adds an edge.”
Hall finished the game with ten points, Diana Pen-Hutchinson led all scorers with 23 points as the Pelicans await their first-round opponent. Stayton finishes the season 13-11.