Oh how quickly the tables can turn.
R.A. Long girls’ basketball entered Friday with a nine-year long Civil War drought, a losing streak to Mark Morris that spanned 19 games. During that run, the Monarchs outscored the Jills by an average of 27.8 points per game.
So call Friday night’s 63-29 Civil War victory at Ted M. Natt Court redemption for the Lumberjills.
“It’s just awesome knowing we worked so hard for this,” RAL senior Eastyn Reeves said. “I’ve been wanting this for four years now, and finally accomplishing it and getting to cheer with my teammates is just super duper cool. We worked really hard, and I’m proud of all of them.”
It was their first win in the series since Feb. 9, 2009. The head coach of the team at the time was J.D. Ott, who sits as an assistant under coach Jan Karnoski on this year’s squad.
“It turned out just about the way we wanted it to,” Karnoski said. “We played tough defense; that was one of our goals tonight. We made tremendous strides defensively, and made some great passes.”
Reeves scored 15 points, hauled in six rebounds and dished seven assists in her first Civil War victory, Ari Maryott added 15 points and six rebounds and Kailey Sirnio had 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.
But it took a while for the Jills to pull away. An energetic Monarchs’ squad showed some flashes of offense early and it was 11-9 Jills through the opening five minutes.
R.A. Long finished the opening frame on a 10-0 run, though, as Reeves dished out four assists in the frame, getting everyone involved for a 21-9 lead.
“Just to get them a little more comfortable with the atmosphere and stuff,” Reeves said of her early willingness to find teammates’ open shots. “It was just coming out, and get my teammates the feel of the game.”
She stretched that run to 20-0 by scoring the first eight points of the second quarter in rapid fashion before finding Myah Bodily on a cutting lay-in to make it 31-9. By halftime it was 40-12.
“She knows the offense as well as I do,” Karnoski said of his senior star. “We know we can do this and that, but these people haven’t done it as much this year, so let’s go to them. And they did the job tonight. You know how much easier practice is the next day when they’re happy, and everyone is pumped up.”
Senior Rayana Randall also finished with nine points, as she flourished early, giving the RAL seniors a nice feather in the cap after what’s been a rough Civil War history for them.
“It’s their last season, just like mine, and to be able to share that with them and cheer them on, and tell them how good they did,” Reeves said. “That was really fun.”
Mark Morris’ Jacie Rismeon paced the Monarchs with 10 points and seven rebounds, and Katie Troy had six steals and six rebounds.
There were moments the Monarchs’ offense looked really good. And other times, there was much to be desired. It once again showed MM is still a work in progress, but headed in the right direction.
“We’ve seen it every game,” Atkins said. “But there’s certain stretches of the game that just kill us. We just get so excited, so antsy. We haven’t adjusted to the pace all the time yet.”
For now, R.A. Long will relish in its streak-ending win. Maryott knows the feeling well, after her brother, Marcus, hit a huge shot to end the Lumberjacks’ Civil War drought two years ago.
“My brother is very inspirational,” Maryott said. “I do look up to him a lot.”
The Jills (10-3, 4-2 league) will prepare for a tough stretch of games starting with Hockinson on the road Wednesday. They’ll get another crack at Mark Morris in the regular-season finale on Jan. 31.
Mark Morris (0-11, 0-5) readies for Ridgefield on Monday, before hitting the second half of league play against Washougal on Wednesday.