Sutherlin girls' state title win a historical occasion

The Bulldogs became just the fourth school in Oregon history to win a state title four consecutive years. (SBG photo)

SUTHERLIN, Ore. -- They did it again. Despite the odds, the Sutherlin High School girls’ basketball team claimed the Oregon 4A state championship for the fourth straight year.

And it was a historical occasion last weekend; the Bulldogs became just the fourth school in Oregon to win a state title four consecutive years, the coach said. The Bulldogs finished the year with a 23-5 overall recrod.

SHS took on the Banks Braves in the finale at Forest Grove High School, and until the third quarter, it wasn't looking good for Sutherlin.

In fact, the Bulldogs trailed at one point by 18 points.

"We talked to some of our older kids, you know, Eliza and Harlee and Taylor combined, and three of our biggest kids combined for two rebounds and we just kinda challenged them on that to be better and give us a little more effort,” said head coach Josh Grotting. “And they all responded. Every kid did a better job in the second half."

Grotting says a switch flipped late in the third quarter, with just eleven minutes left in the game, carrying Sutherlin to a 49-43 come-from-behind victory over the Braves for the title.

"The crowd came down, but of course they couldn't storm the court, but they were outlining the court and screaming" said one Sutherlin player. "Parents were crying. People we didn't even know were crying. People were coming up and hugging us and I didn't even know who half the people were. Everyone was happy and it didn't even matter who people were at that point. They were just so proud of everyone."

Sutherlin outscored the Braves 19-9 in the fourth quarter. Taylor Stricklin led the Bulldogs with 24 points and 8 rebounds. Harley Baker had 11 points.

It was the fourth straight tourney win for the Bulldogs en route to the title, having previously knocked off Seaside in the semifinals, 57-44, to advance to the title game. Sutherlin defeated Mazama 42-35 in the quarterfinals after knocking off county rival Douglas 51-43 in the first round.

You can find game statistics and the tournament bracket at the OSAA website.

The girls say they've already put in orders for those state championship rings, but they don't have much time for celebration; summer ball begins next month.

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