Priest River stifled the Deer Park Stags for a quarter, but an inconsistent defensive effort and a cold shooting night amounted to a 59-24 loss.
“Honestly, Deer Park is just a good team,” Head coach Morgan Douglas said. “We had trouble running our sets and getting our offense going in the first half, so we’ll definitely be working on that in practice.”
Junior forward Karah Fink notched her third double-digit scoring outing of the season with 11 points, while teammate Jasmine Martin re-found her outside shot. The senior guard scored all nine of her points on threes.
“Luckily Deer Park switched their defense to a 1-3-1, and I have a play that is great for opposite guards to get open,” Douglas said. “[Martin] happened to be the opposite guard, which gave her the opportunity to spot up and shoot. She was feeling confident, she kept shooting and I was super proud of her.”
Despite the loss, the Spartans turned in arguably their best defensive quarter of the year. Priest River held the Stags to six points and only one field goal in the first quarter.
“Our zone kind of started to fall apart so I switched to man defense and that went a little better in the second half,” Douglas said. “It was probably a coaching mistake — I probably should have switched sooner.”
The good news? Deer Park shot 14 percent from three.
The bad news? Stags sophomore Havelah Fairbanks led all scorers with 15 points, most of which came in Deer Park’s monster 25-point quarter that sealed the deal.
Now that the first month of the season is under their belts, the Spartans have a large enough sample size to evaluate how their season fares thus far.
Clearly some things are working for Priest River: Its frontcourt tandem of Fink and Liann Kren has accounted for 55.5% of the team’s points thus far.
Fink (11.5 points and 9.8 rebounds per game) is nearly averaging a double-double.
And despite starting two seniors and having two more come off the bench for spot minutes, the Spartans have hung with more experienced opponents in spurts.
But Douglas isn’t willing to settle for a 1-3 start and an offense averaging 33.8 points per game.
“The girls seem to be coming together,” Douglas said. “We still have a lot to work on, but it’s going pretty well so far. Obviously, I’d like more wins. We’re going to get there.”
For starters, Douglas said she planned on making personnel changes, specifically mentioning possibly starting sophomore Makia Fitsmorris at point guard.
Fitsmorris’s 5.5 points per game is good for third-best on the Spartans; she has started in all four games this season.
These proposed adjustments will be put to the test this week, as Priest River plays at Deer Park on Dec. 5, then at Clark Fork on Dec. 7.
Deer Park 7 11 25 15 — 58
Priest River 6 5 4 9 — 24
DEER PARK — H. Fairbanks 15, Kharchenko 6, Bunch 4, Lyons 11, Brookshire 5, Rose 14, A. Fairbanks 2, Bouvette 1, Carnahan 0.
PRIEST RIVER — Martin 9, Fitsmorris 2, Minish 0, Kren 2, Fink 11, Rusho 0, Barnes 0.