CORVALLIS – As the final seconds ticked off the clock in the OSAA Class 5A girls state championship game, there were few tears of sadness from Silverton players.
Sure, there was disappointment in a 42-28 loss to No. 1 seed La Salle Prep on Friday at Gill Coliseum, but the Foxes were valiant in defeat.
No. 3 seed Silverton (21-5), which was undefeated last season on its way to the state title, made it back to the final game. That’s an accomplishment to be proud of.
“I’m just happy we made it here and happy to be in the championship game,” said senior wing Hannah Munson, who scored seven points. “La Salle’s a really good team.”
No one will dispute that fact.
La Salle (26-2), which defeated Silverton 47-32 at home Dec. 10, closed the season on a 22-game winning streak.
Senior guard Aleah Goodman, who will join the Pac-12 champion Oregon State women’s basketball team next season, had a game-high 15 points.
“Super proud of our girls,” Silverton coach Tal Wold said. “Just couldn’t get some shots to fall.”
Silverton stayed close behind its trademark tight man-to-man defense and trailed 12-11 at halftime despite missing its first 11 shots.
Junior guard Brooke McCarty’s 3-pointer gave Silverton its first lead at 14-12 in the opening minute of the third quarter and for a moment an upset seemed like a possibility.
“I felt like we could win the whole game,” Munson said. “We never got down on each other. We kept going and never stopped.”
But after Silverton pulled in front, the Falcons responded with an 11-0 run as junior guard Taycee Wedin scored eight of the points.
Munson’s basket stopped the run, but La Salle scored the last seven points of the quarter to take a commanding 30-16 lead.
Silverton was unable to cut the under double digits the rest of the way.
In a matchup of the previous two state champions – La Salle won in 2015 – the Falcons had too much firepower and Silverton picked the wrong night to struggle from the field.
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The Foxes made just 7 of 36 field goal attempts (19.4 percent), including 2 of 15 on 3-pointers. La Salle was 14 of 33 (42.4 percent) and for most of the game, got better looks at the basket.
Silverton was coming off a dramatic 37-34 triple overtime victory Thursday over No. 2 seed Corvallis in the semifinals, but fatigue was apparently not a factor in the championship game.
“I think we were as ready as we ever were,” said junior wing Maggie Roth, who was held to one point after averaging 16.5 points in state tournament wins over No. 6 Hillsboro in the quarterfinals and Corvallis in the semis. “We were ready to come out and play and give it our best.”
Against a dominant team like La Salle, which beat defending 6A state champion South Salem by 33 points on Dec. 30, Silverton’s best effort wasn’t quite enough.
Still, a second straight trip to the championship game, despite the graduation of 2016 5A Player of the Year Alia Parsons, was impressive.
It was the final high school game for a senior class that included Munson, Kayce McLaughlin, Elena Smisek, Hailey Smisek, Ashtin Alexander, Madison Ulven and Jaeda Leggett.
“It’s bittersweet because there’s so many seniors,” Roth said. “I’m super proud of everything we’ve accomplished and that we even made it here again.”
ghorowitz@StatesmanJournal.com, or Twitter.com/ghorowitz
LA SALLE 42, SILVERTON 28
Silverton – 1-10-5-12– 28
La Salle – 9-3-18-12- 42
Silverton: Munson 7, McCarty 8, H. Smisek 5, Ulven 4, Alexander 3, Roth 1, McLaughlin, Schmidt, Alexander, E. Smisek, Meraz, Leggett, Rand. Totals: 7 12-18 28
La Salle: Goodman 17, Wedin 8, Crowley 7, Timm 5 Jansen 2, Burg 2, Niebergall 1, Minsker, Loboy, Sheldon, Miller, Riehl. Totals: 14 11-16 42
3-pointers: Silverton 2 (McCarty, H. Smisek); La Salle: 3 (Goodman 2, Crowley)