Gervais — The road for Gervais and their quest for back to back state titles tipped off on Wednesday evening against East Linn Christian. The Cougars suffered heavy losses to the roster in the offseason, prompting reasonable questioning of their place in the 2A landscape. After their destruction of East Linn, Gervais showed that they haven’t changed much and aren’t going away anytime soon.
This one was under control from the get go, as the Cougars took to their full court press defense early on, forcing lots of turnovers and converting them into easy buckets. Izzy Boyd, Salma Villegos, Mayra Perez, and Sofia Contreras led the pack early on, pushing Gervais to an 18-1 lead after a quarter over East Linn. In the second frame, the Eagles got some points from Brooklyn Garber to chip away at the lead, but Perez, Boyd, and Contreras got Gervais into the half with a 27-7 advantage, a perfect reflection of their suffocation defense. This one started getting ridiculous in the second half, as the press defense forced more turnovers and East Linn couldn’t get a shot off. Ava Sellers joined the party with six points in the quarter, while Boyd and Perez supplemented an advantage that proved to be insurmountable. In an insane feat, the Cougars shutout East Linn in the second half to win 57-7, a huge statement in the quest for a title defense in a loaded 2A field. Mayra Perez led with 15 points, Izzy Boyd had 12, and Brooklyn Garber scored all seven points for East Linn in the game.
What We Learned About Them
Gervais: They look very good defensively, which will be their strong point against top competition. I’d love to see a larger sample size of them in half court defense, which will happen once they face stronger competition. Offensively, they’re great in transition but need more practice at the half court offense, as they struggled to slow down and find good opportunities from set plays. However, the Cougars cemented themselves as a Top 2 or 3 team in 2A with the dominance, and look for some epic battles with 2A #1 Salem Academy this winter.
East Linn: This one can be best described as a game to forget. They didn’t play awful, they simply got overran by a much more talented team. Not only that, Gervais straight up didn’t relent from start to finish, so its hard to work on anything when your opponent is constantly taking the ball away. Offensively, they need to learn how to break the press and work in high stress situations. Their half court offense looked okay, but more shot opportunities will help bring more clarity. Defensively, they played decent in the half court and was likely their strongest side in the game. Transition defense was almost impossible with the number times they were on the retreat, so time will tell on that number as well.