The Spruce Mountain girls’ basketball team lost to Oceanside in the Class B South playoffs last year. All the Phoenix wanted was another chance.

“There’s been a lot of talk that that was an opportunity that they missed,” Spruce Mountain Coach Zach Keene said. “They thought they didn’t play very well, they wanted another shot at them. They thought they could beat them.”

The Phoenix got that chance Friday afternoon and made the most of it. Aubrey Kachnovich caught fire in the second half to finish with 22 points, Jaydn Pingree added 18, and second-deeded Spruce Mountain beat defending state champion and No. 1 seed Oceanside, 56-47, in the Class B South final at the Portland Expo.

The victory ended Oceanside’s winning streak at 53 games gave Spruce Mountain (20-1) its first regional title.

“At the beginning of the season, we were like ‘We could have beat Oceanside, we could have beat Oceanside,'” said Pingree, who was named the tournament’s most outstanding player. “We just worked all season for it.”

Oceanside (20-1) got 17 points and six rebounds from sophomore standout Bailey Breen, who had to fight through constant double and triple teams. Audrey Mackie scored 10 points and Abby Waterman had nine. But the Mariners couldn’t find a rhythm and never showed the explosiveness they had exhibited throughout the season.


“That was a tough one,” Coach Matt Breen said. “Spruce played well, they executed. We had breakdowns defensively, and (Kachnovich) made us pay every single time.”

Kachnovich had one point in the first half, and Spruce trailed, 16-13.

“I didn’t think I had the best offensive half, so I told myself I needed to really step it up,” she said. “Be more confident, go and shoot the ball and have the ball, drive to the hoop, stuff like that. It worked.”

Did it ever. She hit five 3-pointers in the second half, with the first tying the game at 16. The next put Spruce ahead 28-26 with two minutes left in the third quarter. Then came a third with 3 seconds left in the quarter, putting the Phoenix ahead again, 31-28.

After Oceanside’s Emily Sykes hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 31 with seven minutes to play, Kachnovich drilled another for a 34-31 lead, and the Phoenix led the rest of the way. Kachnovich’s fifth 3 made it 42-32 with under four minutes to go.

“It’s almost like she got to the point of ‘Enough’s enough,'” Keene said. “We had this opportunity, and it was going to be over her dead body if we let it slip away.”


Kachnovich tried not to think herself out of her groove.

“Every time I felt the ball, I was like ‘I’m going to shoot this,'” she said. “And then I made it, (and I thought) ‘All right, do it again.'”

Pingree got in on the fun as well, hitting a 3 with just under six minutes left and letting out a loud cheer toward her team’s joyous bench.

“It was amazing,” Pingree said. “We knew (then) that we were going to win.”

The fireworks of the second half came after a slow start in which only one shot was taken in the first two and a half minutes. It was 1-1 midway through the first quarter, and though the pace picked up, Oceanside’s offense never clicked into gear. The Mariners tried to jumpstart themselves by working the ball in to Breen, but the Phoenix were ready each time with a blanket of defenders.

“(We wanted to) just make everything as hard as possible,” Keene said. “We’re undersized, but we knew we had to be very physical. There couldn’t be a free cut.”

For the Phoenix, it proved to be the formula for new heights.

“I’m just proud of them,” Keene said. “There was a lot of people that may have doubted it, but we have 15, 17 reasons sitting in that locker room to believe we were the best team in this region.”

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