During the first 16 minutes of play Saturday night, something was clearly not right with Pinnacle senior guard Sydney Wiese.
While the Pioneers clung to a 39-35 halftime lead over Mountain Pointe in the final of the Lady Hawk Basketball Classic, Wiese’s game was noticeably off.
Although several family members packed inside the gymnasium at Highland High School to cheer on the Pioneers’ star attraction, it was the one member of the Wiese family not present that had the senior’s mind elsewhere.
Wiese’s grandmother recently underwent open heart surgery and could not attend Saturday’s tournament finale against the Pride.
But coming out of intermission, Wiese chose to honor her recovering grandmother as only she knew how: by shooting, shooting and shooting some more.
The Oregon State commit scored 22 of her game-high 25 points in the second half with a barrage of three-point shots - 7 of 9 after halftime - and Pinnacle pulled away late to capture the Thanksgiving holiday tournament title, 76-57.
“I just really wanted to do this for my grandmother,” said Wiese, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player. “Knowing what she’s going through, I didn’t want to leave the Highland gym knowing there was more I could have done. It’s a great feeling.”
It’s a feeling the Pioneers might not have had if not for first-half efforts from fellow seniors Britta Nordstrom (12 points) and Kenna McDavis (16 points).
“It was just a lot of built up energy,” said McDavis, who hit six 3-pointers on the night. “We’ve never won anything or won first place. We all wanted it, and I wanted it bad. So I wanted to show up big time for my team.”
Coming into their matchup with Mountain Pointe, Pinnacle (6-0) had won its first five games by an average margin of victory of 30 points.
But the Pride (5-1) hung tough in the early going, with junior center Kaylah Lupoe leading the way in the post. Lupoe - who was voted to the all-tournament team - had 20 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in the tournament final, leaving head coach Trevor Neider excited about her future.
“She’s just a presence and starting to get a lot more confident,” Neider said of his star center. “She doesn’t realize how good she can be at times. She’s a great kid, but she needs to have a little more 'mean' in her. This weekend, and today, we started to see that. She’s the glue inside and outside for us.”
Although Lupoe’s contributions at both ends kept Mountain Pointe close through the first three quarters, as time wore on heavy legs started to set in and the Pride were unable to mount a late comeback.
“We knew it was a matter of time,” said Neider. “With their three girls – Nordstrom, McDavis and Sydney (Wiese) – Pinnacle was bound to get a hot. Wiese only had two points at halftime, but we knew if she got going we’d be in trouble, and she sure did.
“We had a really tough game this morning, and we said we’d try to sell out for that one against Highland. To beat them was big for us and sort of our clinching moment of the weekend. We kind of ran out of gas against Pinnacle. But they were also too good for us.”
The Pioneers won the battle of the unbeatens and took home the tournament trophy with a season-high 76 points, but first-year coach Troy Wiese said it’s his job to continue reminding his girls that it’s only November.
“We have a long ways to go, but so does everyone else this season,” he said. “This team is gaining confidence each and every game. If we work as a team and keep doing the little things, it’ll probably be a fun year for us.”
For Pinnacle, Wiese was joined on the all-tournament team by Nordstrom and Jesse Poneoma. Lupoe was joined by Pride teammates Michelle Luna, Caitlyn Hetrick and Sophia Anaya on the all-tournament team, as well.
Tournament host Highland took home third place honors beating Seton Catholic 41-25 in Saturday’s consolation game.
Pinnacle 76, Mountain Pointe 57
MP 19 16 12 10 - 57
P 23 16 20 17 – 76
Maddy Sulka: 6 points on 2-9 shooting; Michelle Luna: 3 points on 1-4 shooting; Caitlyn Hetrick: 16 points on 5-16 shooting; Sophia Anaya: 12 points on 5-7 shooting; Kaylah Lupoe: 20 points on 9-17 shooting.
Britta Nordstrom: 16 points on 6-10 shooting; Kenna McDavis: 22 points on 8-13 shooting; Madie Rinehart: 5 points on 2-3 shooting; Jesse Poneoma: 4 points on 1-4 shooting; Danielle Bender: 4 points on 2-3 shooting; Sydney Wiese: 25 points on 7-17 shooting