Orofino Lady Maniacs celebrating their win against St. Maries last week are (l to r): Riley Schwartz, Shayla Shuman, Kaylynn Johnson and Sydnie Zywina. The team fought the Lady Lumberjacks with only five Orofino players being healthy enough to play. Not shown in this photo, but helping fight the fight, was Grace Beardin. (See more sports on page 9A & 10A of this week’s issue.)

The Lady Maniacs put on a show Saturday night in the first round of Districts against the St. Maries Lumberjacks.  The Maniacs went 1-1 in league play against the Lumberjacks this season.  The first game in Orofino, the Maniacs took the win by 1 point with a score of 43-42. The Lady Maniacs had to play the last 3.5 minutes with four players as Grace Beardin fouled out.

When the Lady Maniacs traveled to St. Maries on Jan. 25, the Lumberjacks came out on top with a 51-38 victory.  Again, the Maniacs faced a huge obstacle as their teammate Sydnie Zywina went down at the beginning of the fourth quarter taking a hard hit to the face and was out for the rest of the game. 

Despite the emotions the Maniacs faced that game, they fought hard with only 4 on the court again but just didn’t have enough time on the clock to close the gap. Playing with four is not something new to this team, we’ve had to finish more than a few games with only four players but the girls don’t use that as an excuse and they don’t back away from a challenge. 

So how did the final battle of these two league opponents turn out?   38-31 Orofino Maniacs earned the biggest win of their season so far by clinching a guaranteed State Play-in Game at the very least.

It’s been 13 years since the Maniacs have seen a state birth and they are just a few wins away from seeing that again. It will be very tough, but if this group plays like they did Saturday night, we can do it!  We are hopeful and won’t stop until the final buzzer of the season!

After the Maniacs big win, it took me several hours to find the words I wanted to use to talk about this game. This group has done the unimaginable. This group has done something most could not do. This group has fought through the most difficult situations and has come out on top. You can see in most of the pictures, posts or past stats, we have five that dress down, that’s what we play with.

Tonight these five battled, fought, took hits that were hard, and yet they didn’t give up. To say I am proud is an understatement. To say I am impressed isn’t enough. Tonight I witnessed these five girls play with 150% HEART, something I haven’t seen before and it paid off!

They sacrificed through blood, sweat and tears. These girls came back from a deficit that most would throw their towel in but these girls wiped their sweat off and said, “let’s go”. Kaylynn Johnson lead the team with 14 points, 10 rebounds and 2 assists.  Sydnie Zywina added 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals.  Grace Beardin had 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals and 6 points. Riley Schwartz had 5 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists and and 1 steal. 

Shayla Shuman had 1 rebound and 3 steals.  Shuman’s defense was a huge contribution to this win shutting down their number one player and holding her to only 6 points. Schwartz and Zywina stepped up in our special defense holding the other strong players for St. Maries to minimum points as well. Defense won this game for us and that’s what we knew it was going to take.

In this first round of Districts we won, knocked off a team that has been second for years AND have secured a state play-in game next Saturday at the very least!!! 

I am so proud of this group and can’t wait to see where we go from here. Let’s do this!!!!

District Games

#1 Grangeville vs. #2 Orofino

Best two out of three games between these two teams.  Winner goes on to state, loser goes on to play in a State Play-In Game against the #1 team from District 4A on Saturday, Feb. 15, 3 p.m. (MST) at McCall-Donnelly High School in McCall Idaho. Winner of this game goes on to state and the loser is out. State will be played at Kuna High School in Kuna, Idaho Feb. 20-22. 

Monday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m. vs. Grangeville at Clearwater Valley (Kooskia)

Grangeville 49-Orofino 24. 

Wednesday, Feb. 12, 6 p.m. vs. Grangeville at Clearwater Valley (Kooskia)

Thursday, Feb. 13 TBD

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