Cascade's Oliviia Bennett drives against Astoria's Malory Dundas during the first half of Friday's semifinal. (Jim Beseda photo)
Cascade's Oliviia Bennett drives against Astoria's Malory Dundas during the first half of Friday's semifinal. (Jim Beseda photo)

FOREST GROVE -- The Astoria Fishermen threw more at Cascade in the first nine minutes of Friday’s game than the Cougars could deal with.

And it wasn't much of a game after that.

Astoria’s Maitlin Young finished with 14 points, four rebounds, and two assists, pacing the top-ranked Fishermen to a 45-36 victory over the Cougars of Turner in the semifinals of the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 4A girls basketball championships at Forest Grove High School.

Avery Biederman added 10 points, and Malory Dundas had four points and a team-high 10 rebounds, help setting up a clash with second-ranked Henley in Saturday’s 8:30 p.m. championship final.

“Oh, I am so excited,” Young said. “We took home the third-place trophy last year and that was a good finish for us. I think it matched the best finish in school history, so that was exciting.

“But we’re here for more this year.”

Astoria coach Teke Silva hopes her team is ready for Saturday’s final test.

“It’s been a long time since a banner has been hung in our gym,” she said. “We came in here with a focus on taking care of things one game at a time. And now we’re to the game we wanted to play in, right? We felt like we should be competitive enough to be in this position.

“I don’t even know how to put into words what a state championship would mean, but … it’s going to be a huge challenge. Hopefully, we get the outcome we want."

The Fishermen (23-4) dictated how Friday’s semifinal was played almost from the start, leaning on their defense while jumping out to a 24-5 lead with 3:41 remaining in the second quarter.

Still plenty of time for a comeback? Maybe, especially if Cascade’s Maddie Dustin had found some open looks and knocked them down, but that’s not what happened.

Astoria went out of its way to make sure Dustin didn’t take over the game, holding the Cougars’ senior guard to three points through the first 12 minutes.

“Maddie Dustin is the real deal,” Silva said. “Everybody knows it. She’s the Player of the Year for a reason. We decided that we weren’t going to let her heat us. We wanted to get in lanes early and make other kids beat us.

“In the second half, Cascade had some other kids step up and hit some big shots. If they do that in the first half, I think it’s a little bit of a different story.”

Cascade’s defensive game plan was similar to Astoria’s game plan in that the Cougars wanted to limit Young as much as possible. And while they were successful at times, one problem they had was getting rebounds and keeping the Fishermen away from second-chance opportunities.

“We tried to deny Mattie as much as we could,” Cascade coach Nick Randall said. “A lot of times, she got open because we just didn’t rebound the ball, it got kicked back out to her, and she knocked down the shot.

“I’ve got to give her credit. She just stepped into a big game.”

Cascade never quit. The Cougars got the lead down to nine points three different times in the third quarter and then got it to eight when Lexi Newton converted a lay-up that made it 44-36 with 2:53 to play in the fourth. But that was too little, too late.

“Our big thing was surviving the storm at the beginning of the game,” Randall said. “We didn’t do that, but I thought we battled. We were down 24-5 and then came back and lost by nine, so … we’ve got to hang our hats on that.

“We’re young. A lot of our kids, it’s their first time in this kind of situation, in this atmosphere. And, honestly, aside from that first nine minutes of the game, we played with the No. 1 team in the state and I thought we played well.”

Dustin finished with a game-high 15 points on 5-for-18 shooting for Cascade. Rozalynn Schmunk had nine points, 10 rebounds, and four blocked shots, and Olivia Bennett added eight points for the Cougars (18-8), who will face Philomath in Saturday’s 2:15 p.m. third-place game.

Astoria’s Shelby Bruney, whose primary assignment Friday was to defend Dustin, had five points, two rebounds, and two assists. Tayla Huber added six points, three rebounds, and two steals for the Fishermen.

The Fishermen shot 34.9 percent (15 of 43) from the field to Cascade’s 29.8 percent (14 of 47) and had a slightly bigger edge at the free-throw line where they shot 84.6 percent (11 of 13) to the Cougars’ 66.7 percent (4 of 6). 

Astoria also had a 34-30 advantage in rebounds and had six turnovers to Cascade’s nine.

“When we can do our jobs defensively, the offense takes care of itself,” Silva said. “We made some major day-of-game adjustments after watching film and going through our walk-through, and all I can say is I’m proud of these kids. All the credit to them, because they’re the ones who go out and do it.

“You’ve got to have a lot of things bounce the right way to get to this point, and we’re just fortunate they bounced our way today.”

In Friday’s other games:

No. 2 Henley 61, No. 3 Philomath 44

Annie Campos had a game-high 23 points with six rebounds, three assists, and two steals, leading the Hornets of Klamath Falls over the Warriors in Friday’s other semifinal game.

Anna Harper added 17 points and five rebounds to help send Henley (23-2) into the finals for the third time in 13 seasons.

“This is so great,” Henley coach Randy Denson said. “You preach it every day. You don’t want to say it, but you work toward the goal. The goal isn’t done yet, but knowing what kind of investment our district, our school, and our community have put into this program, to be able to play in the final is awesome.”

The first quarter of Friday’s semifinals saw four ties and two lead changes before Campos hit a short jumper in the lane to give Henley an 11-9 lead.

The Hornets closed out the second quarter on an 11-4 run that pushed their lead to 26-17 at halftime.

Next, Henley opened the third quarter on a 17-2 run that ended with Harper knocking down a pair of free throws to make it 43-19 with 3:30 to play in the period.

“I thought it was going to be a tight game,” Denson said. “Philomath tried to slow us down, and they did in the first half. But I was pleasantly surprised that we picked up the tempo and dictated how the game was played in the third quarter.”

Philomath’s Reagan Heiken scored off an offensive rebound to cut Henley’s lead to 52-41 with 2:50 to play in the fourth quarter, but that’s where the Warriors’ comeback ended.

“We just ran into a good team. That happens sometimes,” Philomath coach Ben Silva said. “They hit a lot of shots in the third quarter and we struggled offensively for too long of a stretch. But you have to give credit to Henley. They were tough on the defensive end.

“My kids played hard. They didn’t give up. They battled back and got it down to 11, but … had we not gone on that scoring slump, maybe it’s a little bit different story.”

No. 5 Klamath Union 42, No. 9 Stayton 36

Dianara Pena finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, and five assists to help lift the Pelicans over the Eagles in Friday’s 9 a.m. consolation semifinals in the Vikings Gym.

Klamath Union’s Kshalee Thomas scored 10 points and Erin Garcia added six points and seven rebounds for the Skyline Conference co-champions, who improved to 18-4 and advanced to Saturday’s fourth-place game against Marist Catholic.

Trailing 9-7 early in the second quarter, the Pelicans closed the half on an 11-2 run to take an 18-11 lead into the break.

After Haley Butenschoen’s lay-up for Stayton tied the score at 18-18 early in the third quarter, Klamath Union answered with two Bella Armijo free throws that put the Pelicans ahead for good with 6:29 to play in the period.

Stayton (19-6) climbed within a point three different times — the last time on a Kathryn Samek jumper that made it 36-35 with 4:43 to play in the fourth quarter.

Klamath Union closed the game on a 6-1 run with Garcia applying the dagger on a jumper that made it 40-36 with 1:53 left.

Kenzi Hollenback scored a team-high 12 points for the Eagles, who shot 25.6 percent (11 of 43) from the field, including 14.3 percent (3 of 21) from three-point range, and were held 12 points below their season scoring average.

No. 11 Marist Catholic 48, No. 7 Madras 39

McKenna De Lee scored eight of her team-high 14 points in the second half to help rally the Spartans of Eugene to a come-from-behind win over the White Buffaloes in Friday’s consolation semifinals.

Talia Tyner added 13 points off the bench for the Spartans, who outscored Madras 15-2 in the third quarter to turn a 25-17 halftime deficit into a 32-27 lead.

After Tyner converted a three-point play at the start of the fourth quarter to make it 35-27, the Spartans maintained at least a six-point cushion the rest of the way,

Marist Catholic’s Addie Ruckwardt finished with eight points and a game-high 15 rebounds, and Kaylynn Guevara added four points, eight rebounds, three assists, and four blocked shots.

Madras’ Sasha Esquiro scored a team-high 17 points with five rebounds, and Rylan Davis had eight points, four rebounds, and four assists. The White Buffaloes (18-8) also got six points, four rebounds, and four steals from Maija Poland, and six points and four assists from Katelyn Tanewasha.