Two runs by the Kennedy Trojans girls basketball team — including a 19-1 spurt in the first half — gave it control of the game as Kennedy topped the Enterprise Outlaws, 49-31, in the third-place game of the 2A state tournament Saturday evening at the Pendleton Convention Center.
But the loss, which dropped Enterprise to a fifth-place finish in the state, didn’t detract from how Head Coach Mike Crawford felt about the way his team played this season as it garnered its first trophy since 2012, when it also came in fifth.
“We were ranked as high as sixth in the state, so to finish fifth, are we going to cry about that? No way,” he said.
The attitude will undoubtedly prevail although the best season in Enterprise in seven years did end on a sour note, with a close semifinal loss Friday night to eventual state champion Heppner before Saturday’s setback against Kennedy.
And the Trojans’ first big run dealt the main blow to Enterprise’s third-place hopes.
The Outlaws had an early 5-2 lead after five points from Ashlyn Gray to start Saturday’s game, but then the Trojans got rolling. Four Sophia Carley points gave Kennedy the lead at 6-5. Five straight points by Kalyssa Kleinschmit, who led the way with 18 points, made it 14-6 Trojans early in the second quarter, and Kleinschmit followed an Elise Suing 3-pointer with two more free throws and a jumper for a 21-6 margin with five minutes to play in the half. The run came during a stretch of more than 11 minutes when Enterprise was held to just a free throw.
Crawford noted that Kennedy had two players limited with injuries in the game, and told his team Kennedy could, as a result, play more scrappy, like a team cornered.
The Trojans did just that.
“They went full court and we accommodated with the turnovers in the first half,” he said. “The end result was they made a big run, they made their free throws. They made 3s. They did everything they needed to do.”
Enterprise shot just 26 percent and committed 17 turnovers in the first half, which ended with the Outlaws trailing 28-14.
Enterprise did score five straight to open the second half and get within 28-19 after a Shelby Moncrief layup, two Karli Bedard free throws and a free throw from Gray before the second Kennedy run, this one an 11-4 push to end the quarter, built the margin back to 16 points. Enterprise pulled no closer than 13 points in the fourth.
Moncrief finished with 10 points and three steals to lead the Outlaws. Gray added seven points, and both Bedard and Carsyn Miller had four points.
Clarissa Traeger added nine points for Kennedy.
The season ended for Enterprise with a final record of 20-8, but was one the longtime head coach was pleased with.
“All year long I told them there’s something special about the team. (They had) what it takes,” he said.
In fact, the coach said he knew from the first day of the season the team had potential to make a state run, even after losing five seniors from last year’s team that reached the first round of state.
A big part of that was from the players who were back from the team that made the playoffs last year before being bounced by Oakland one win shy of the state quarterfinals.
“The desire to get back to the postseason and advance was in us. They were motivated to get it done, (and) they won 20 ball games,” Crawford said. “I’m happy as I can be with my kids. They did a great job. They represented the league really well.”
The 20 wins is the most for the program since the 2012-13 team won 21 games. That group, though, went two-and-out when it reached the state tournament in Pendleton.
On Friday, the Heppner Mustangs got the best of the Enterprise Outlaws girls basketball team for the third time this season, leading throughout for a 39-32 victory in the 2A state semifinals at the Pendleton Convention Center.
The Outlaws, who shot just 25 percent and spotted Heppner the game’s first seven points, never led. On three occasions Enterprise pulled within one point, including when Rilyn Kirkland scored to cap a 6-0 run to end the third quarter and bring Enterprise within 29-28.
“We were right there. Heppner knew we were right there. But they got the win,” Crawford said.
The Outlaws were held without a field goal in the fourth quarter, while a 3-pointer by Sydney Wilson and a jumper by Jenna McCullough pushed Heppner’s lead to 35-29 with 3:37 to play.
Bedard, one of the few Outlaws to have a strong shooting game, led the way with 11 points on 3-for-5 from the floor. She also grabbed seven rebounds. Lexie Gassett added 10 points and seven boards.
Wilson had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Heppner, which had its own shooting issues, going just 30 percent from the floor.
Heppner built as much as an eight-point first-half lead before the Outlaws inched within 17-14 at the half on a Moncrief jumper. Enterprise was as close as 17-16 early in the third on two Miller free throws.