Lakeview High School (LHS) girls varsity basketball completed their season this past week in the 2A basketball playoffs, finishing sixth overall.
After finishing first in the 2A-5 Southern Cascade League the Honkers entered the 2A state basketball culminating week, which this year was treated as the state playoffs for sports across the state. With the season being shorter, the state playoffs did not follow their traditional format and were more compressed.
First up the Honkers hosted East Linn Christian Academy on Tuesday, June 22, winning 37-25. The game was a struggle for both teams on the offensive end and it was often physical.
As both teams played well on defense, both also struggled to find the basket with a low scoring first half.
“We have a game plan going into the game and we did not divert from it. We knew that it was going to be a physical game, so we had to win at rebounding and defense, which we did,” said Blair.
The East Linn team was able to rotate players in and out of the game as they have a large squad. Even with the constant rotation of fresh legs into the game, the Honkers were able to match with their fairly deep squad so that no individual player became tired.
Blair said what really kept the Honkers in the game was their defense, as the team struggled on the offensive side of the ball. He said the offense has been an area of concern for the team, and being such a young team there are nights where it is a struggle.
With the win, the Honkers traveled into the final part of the season and faced off against Central Linn on Thursday, June 24, losing the game 41-21.
Blair said the Central Linn team came out hot against the Honkers and the Honkers were unable to provide a response.
Blair said there are nights where the Honkers are unable to buy a basket, and the game against Central Linn was one of those games.
“No matter how well you play on defense and try to keep the other team from scoring, unless you are able to make some baskets you will lose the game,” said Blair.
Even with the loss, the Honkers were still in a hunt to finish in the top eight when they faced off against Heppner on Friday, June 25, winning 58-46.
Blair said the team had a strong game plan for Heppner and that the players came out and executed the plan. He said the Honkers were able to stop their opponent from doing what they wanted to do, something Blair has been preaching to the players all season. He noted that the Honkers played more as a team, and that it just needs to become more consistent.
Next up was the fourth place game — the winner would be in fourth place and the loser in sixth place overall — against Bandon on Saturday, June 26 with the Honkers losing 40-27.
Blair said the game really came down to the Honker offense, and that it did not click overall. He said with a young team and only two seniors, the offense will not always be consistent every night and the game against Bandon was one of those off nights. Blair said all the games at the end of the season were winnable, but the Honkers were not consistent enough in their play.
Looking forward to next year Blair wants to focus on making the offense more consistent, and believes that is possible as four starters will be returning to the squad. The team only had two seniors and only one, Sam Conley, was a starter.
“We grew a lot as a team, and with a new coaching staff, everyone did a good job. The players were willing to be coached and I am looking forward to next year,” said Blair.
As the coaching staff gains more experience working together and the players put in more practice time, Blair believes the team has the talent to win some hardware next year and to be really competitive against teams in the final eight in the state playoffs.