The Lady Maniacs’ basketball season came to an end Saturday in McCall, Idaho, at the hands of Idaho’s 5th ranked 2A team, the Declo Hornets. The play-in game to determine which team would go on to compete in the 2A State Tournament was a microcosm of Orofino’s turbulent and hard fought up and down season. Playing in the game after finishing 2nd in the 2A Central Idaho District Tournament, the 11th ranked Maniacs could not overcome the Hornet’s sharp shooting and pressure defense.
From the opening tip, Declo controlled the game scoring the first 6 points of the contest. Orofino battled back on a 3-pointer by Shalya Shuman and a steal and fastbreak layup by Sydnie Zywina to make the score 5-6. Orofino continued to keep the game close, but three 3-point field goals by the Hornets pushed the 1st quarter lead to 11-15.
As they had done for much of the season, the Maniacs played the entire first quarter with their five starters, as the lone bench player, Peyton Merry, was recovering from a wrist injury.
The Hornets 2nd quarter started off much like the 1st, as they went on an 8-1 run to begin the period. The Maniacs found themselves down 12-23. Following a timeout, Grace Beardin passed the ball inside to Kaylynn Johnson for a layup, this sparked Orofino as they outpaced Declo the rest of the quarter, going into halftime down 19-27.
Several key turnovers cost the Maniacs in the 3rd quarter as they were only able to score 2 points. The Hornets pushed the lead to 20 at the end of the 3rd period with the score 21-41.
Staring up at such a large deficit, Orofino could have easily thrown in the towel, but instead, they opened the 4th quarter on a 10-1 run of their own, closing the gap to 11 points with just over 4 minutes to go in the game. During that stretch, Grace Beardin made 6 consecutive free throws, and the Maniac defensive intensity picked up, with guards Riley Schwartz and Sydnie Zywina causing several Hornet turnovers.
With the momentum clearly shifting the Maniac’s way, the Hornets called a timeout. Out of the timeout, the Hornets proceeded to score 10 of the game’s next 11 points, to once again push the lead to 20. The final score at the end of regulation was 34-52, with Declo advancing.