All of the earmarks of a young and inexperienced team were there Dec. 5.
Players tried, and often failed, to dribble through double teams.
Passes were made without looking to see if there was a person to give the ball to. Shots were fired without a proper squaring of the shoulders. And yet, despite all the mental lapses, Evergreen’s girls basketball team managed to string just enough points together to outlast a scrappy Westminster club 39-37 in overtime on its home floor. “It was good that we found a way to win,” said Evergreen coach Ali Johnston, whose team committed 37 turnovers. “You play horrible; you don’t play up to the level you should be playing, and you still win, that says a lot. The good thing is we have a lot to work on.” The young Cougars got even younger Dec. 5, as they played without the services of junior Grace Beaudin and sophomore Haley Stading, two players that saw significant varsity minutes a year ago. To make matters worse, sophomore Jordan Florschuetz, who led the Cougars with 20 points in the season opener (a 65-24 win over Battle Mountain), spent most of the game on the bench in foul trouble and scored just four points before fouling out. “Missing Haley was huge,” Johnston said. “She’s our point guard and runs the offense. Without her, we struggled getting into our sets and getting the quality shots that we want to get.” Tayler Warren had a big second half and overtime period for Evergreen, scoring 11 of her 15 points after intermission. With the Cougars trailing 35-33 late in the fourth quarter, she sank a jumper to even the score and the game went into overtime. In the extra session, she knocked down another jumper to knot the score at 37. Halle Johnson wound up scoring the game-winning points, knocking down a pair of free throws with 2:25 to go in overtime. Westminster had a couple of good looks to tie the score late in the overtime, but couldn’t get a shot to fall. “Tayler was the difference,” Johnston said. “She stepped up and made some big shots for us.” Evergreen led by two after the first quarter and by three, 18-15, at halftime. In the third quarter, the Cougars looked ready to pull away as Katie Helf opened the second half with a 3-pointer and the Cougars’ lead grew to eight at 27-19 after a pair of Warren free throws. Then, the wheels started to fall off for Evergreen, as they started turning the ball over at will. The Wolves, slowly but surely, took advantage of the miscues, and took their first lead since the opening quarter on a pair of free throws by Ulinda Carroll with 1:29 to play. Warren’s jumper nine seconds later tied the score at 35, setting the stage for the extra period. “Games like this will make us better,” Johnston said. “We needed to play in a close game to show the girls what it takes to win when the pressure is on.” Westminster 8-7-7-13-2—37 Evergreen 10-8-9-8-4—39 Evergreen: Lauren Jagels 1 0-1 2, Warren 6 3-6 15, Kelsey Bestall 0 2-4 2, Helf 1 0-2 3, Steph Wiens 1 3-8 5, Florschuetz 2 0-0 4, Johnson 1 6-10 8. Totals: 12 14-31 39.