Oregon 5A girls’ basketball state championship game. Springfield vs. Willamette. Two nationally scouted players playing against each other. Big schools, with a lot of power and talent. What was the game plan you ask? Hold the ball.
Just like old school basketball before the shot clock came about, these teams decided to take a stall tactic a little too far.
Willamette knew they couldn’t keep up or play the same game as Springfield, so they decided to slow the game down tremendously and limit the offense from their opponent.
The first quarter score was 4-0 in favor of Springfield. Willamette had two possessions, and took two shots, missing them both. Springfield’s Mercedes Russell, who averages 26 points and 16 rebounds per game, scored two of their four points in the first quarter.
For the majority of the second quarter (eight minutes), Willamette held the ball; not one pass or dribble. Then with six seconds left, they threw it away and went into half with Springfield leading, 4-0.
Their original tactic was going as planned, as Springfield only had two possessions going into the fourth quarter. Since Willamette was down and needed to score, a little bit of basketball was shown during that quarter, and the Springfield Millers ran away with it, led by Russell who had a game-high eight points.
The Willamette Wolverines were surprisingly in the game until the end, but shooting 2-for-14 from the field won’t win any game. Even a game as odd as this one.
A stalling plan to pull off an upset in a championship game didn’t pull off for Willamette, as Springfield won their second straight title, 16-7. When it came down to it, Springfield had to play along with their game plan, and it pulled off in a very weird way.