PORTLAND — Spruce Mountain made its free throws when it mattered the most and secured a 40-34 victory over Medomak Valley in Class B South girls semifinal game at the Portland Expo on Tuesday.

The third-seeded Phoenix (18-2) hit 13 shots from the foul line. Seven of those were made in the fourth quarter, and many late in the period.

“It was chaotic,” Spruce Mountain coach Zach Keene said of the final quarter. “I said it before: I have a lot of comfort in the players we have on the court, and the experience they have and the poise they generally play with. I will take the history they have shown me over a small blip or a couple of possessions.”

Jazmine Pingree, the Phoenix’s leading scorer Tuesday with 11 points, said the experience of last year’s run the Class B state title game helped Spruce stay calm late in the game.

“Yes, it did, because we know where we want to be,” Pingree said. “We know where we want to be, so we had to work hard to get it.”

The Phoenix will go for their second straight Class B South championship when they take on top-seeded Oceanside (20-0) in the regional final at the Portland Expo on Friday at 2 p.m.


Spruce Mountain entered Tuesday’s fourth period holding a 33-25 lead, but second-seeded Medomak Valley (15-5) opened the quarter on a 7-2 run. Maya Cannon led the charge, scoring six of her nine points during the spurt.

“We were definitely inconsistent offensively in the second half,” Keene said. “And I was just talking to them about how I think Medomak played a little more desperation in the second half and how that can change some things — they are very good, on top of that.”

During their strong start the fourth, the Panthers Sara Nelson, who tallied a team-high 11 points, when she fouled out midway through the quarter.

“With Sara out, we knew somebody else had to step up defensively and offensively,” Medomak coach Lindsay Vinal said. “She’s all over the court. And they knew, ‘It was my time to step up.'”

With about 90 seconds remaining in the game, Spruce Mountain’s lead was down to 35-32. And in danger of getting smaller. But Chloe Fox’s layup attempt to close the gap to one point rimmed out.

“Missing those wide-open layups killed us,” Vinal said. “All year, we missed those wide-open (baskets), and this one hurt extra, and you could see it in her face. You can’t turn around and change it — that’s not the only reason why we (lost).”


Spruce Mountain got the ball and Medomak Valley started to foul. The Pingree sisters — twins Jazmine and Jaydn — combined to make five free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach.

“I just knew I had to walk in and make them,” Jazmine said.

Kytana Williamson added a bucket for Medomak Valley with under 15 seconds to cut the deficit to six.

“If we had a fifth quarter, we would have been right in there,” Vinal said.

Points were scarce early in the first quarter. Medomak Valley scored the game’s first points when Nelson hit two free throws with 6:25 remaining in the first.

Spruce Mountain finally got on the board with 5:13 left in the period, on a pair of free throws by Jazmine Pingree, who made five in the opening quarter.


That sparked a 7-0 run by the Phoenix that Williamson stopped with a pair of free throws to cut Spruce’s lead to 7-4.

Those were the only four points Medomak Valley scored in the quarter. Vinal said it took the Panthers some time to adjust to Spruce’s defensive looks.

“They threw someone on Kytana and face-guarded,” Vinal said. “Nobody has done that all season, and that kind of rattled us a little bit. We told them to expect that because Zach is a really good coach. She’s the heart and soul of our team.”

Williamson finished with six points.

Jaydn Pingree scored four of the final six points for Spruce Mountain in the first quarter, including a layup after a backdoor cut before a buzzer that gave the Phoenix a 13-4 lead.

“We were trying to run a fade play for one of our players and it didn’t work out,” Jazmine Pingree said. “So she just cut and we made that pass.”


The score remained the same for the first two and a half minutes of the second quarter, until Cannon made Medomak Valley’s first field goal of the game with about 5:30 remaining in the period.

The first half finished with a frantic final few minutes, with both teams finding the bottom of the hoop.

Avery Bessey hit a 3-pointer before the end of the period to send the Phoenix into halftime with a 24-12 advantage.

Bessey said she didn’t know time was winding down.

“I didn’t. I was just open and I shot it,” Bessey said.

Bessey, whose sharp shooting Saturday was key to Spruce Mountain’s quarterfinal win over Yarmouth, finished Tuesday’s contest with three 3-pointers and nine points.


“Once I see the first one go in, I know I am going to keep shooting,” Bessey said.

Shots stopped falling for the Phoenix in the third, and the Panthers started to chip away at their deficit midway through the quarter.

Nelson followed a free throw by Williamson with a two of her own foul shots and a 3-pointer to get Medomak Valley with six points, 27-21.

Williamson hit a free throw before Nelson hit two more from the line, then she hit a 3-pointer to put Medomak within 27-21.

After a Spruce Mountain foul shot, Katherine McKenney’s bucket got the Panthers within five.

Spruce Mountain’s Elizabeth Grondin hit a trey from the corner and Jazmine Pingree added a bucket put the Phoenix up by 10. A free throw by Nelson free made the score 33-24 after three quarters.

“We had a double-digit lead at halftime, you don’t expect that to play out over the course of the game,” Keene said. “They were going to go on runs, and it’s a matter of how we would respond to it. For the most part, we responded pretty well to the runs they had.”

All seven of Spruce Mountain’s fourth-quarter points came from the free-throw line. Jaydn Pingree, who finished with eight points, made 4 of 8 attempts from the foul line in the fourth, while Jazmine Pingree sank 3 of 4. Jazmine Pingree made 9 of 13 in the game.

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