Eugene — Senior night vibes were in the air at North Eugene on Tuesday night, as the Highlanders closed out the regular season with a pairing against Churchill. Unlike North Eugene, the Lancers were playoff-bound and looking to pick up another dub to improve their playoff positioning before the brackets locked in later on in the evening. Fueled by their youthful core, North Eugene was not going to give them any leeway and test the Lancers throughout the match.
Senior Olivia Hoskinson kicked off North Eugene with a bang, kicking off the game with three treys in a row to get the Highlanders back in front 9-2 over Churchill. The Lancers closed out the quarter with Brooklyn Moody and Stella Scott hitting a trey and some free throws to make it a 9-7 game after one quarter. Lanastasia Nguyen joined the scoring party for the Highlanders, opening the second with a trey to extend their lead to 12-7, but Churchill got an answer with Dahlia Rodman’s three-point play to close within 12-10. Emily Hardrath responded on the other end with a three-point play of her own, followed up by a Lauren Becraft bucket to make it a 17-10 North Eugene lead.
Trailing by seven, Churchill pulled it together late in the half in a big way. Inside-out post Rivers Richardson drilled a trey, Moody hit a trey, and Richardson got another bucket down the stretch. Combined with some free throws, the Lancers closed on a 12-0 run to lead 22-17 on the Highlanders at the half. After closing the half cold, North Eugene started hot in the third quarter with a 6-0 run from Natalie Hobbs and Becraft, taking the lead 23-22 over Churchill. Stella Scott would come up huge for the Lancers, hitting the final seven points for Churchill down the stretch to negate Becraft trey to get the Lancers a 29-26 lead after three quarters.
The final quarter provided plenty of swings and punches, with Churchill being fueled by Richardson and Moody to extend their lead to 33-28 over North Eugene. Aside from a couple free throws, the Highlanders couldn’t find their momentum for most of the fourth, as Churchill slowly started breaking away to a 39-28 lead down the stretch. North Eugene did get going a bit with around two minutes left, converting shots from Alexis Rutledge, Becraft, and Hobbs, but it wasn’t enough to make a comeback as Churchill held off the Highlanders 42-36 to close the season.
North Eugene closes the season 7-15 overall and 4-12 in conference play, Churchill is the 12 seed in the 5A playoffs and will play #5 Corvallis on Saturday in the first round!