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4/6/2017 12:35:00 PM
Blues hoopsters exceed expectations
Ken Niezgoda/Catholic SentinelBendu Yeaney drives against a Southridge double team in the state 6A girls basketball tournament.
Ken Niezgoda/Catholic Sentinel
Bendu Yeaney drives against a Southridge double team in the state 6A girls basketball tournament.
By Ken Niezgoda

When the regular season ended in February for St. Mary's Academy basketball, The Blues had little reason to think they would earn a post-season trophy.

The Blues ended the season losing four of their final six games. They finished 11-11 overall and squeaked into the playoffs. St. Mary's was ranked 25th in the state and had to win two playoff games on the road in order to play among the elite 8 at the state tournament in March. Only one 6A girls team had ever done that.

It looked like the season was coming to a close, but someone forgot to tell Bendu Yeaney.
The senior point guard led the Blues past eighth-ranked Sheldon in the playoffs, then scored 40 points to knock off ninth-ranked West Linn. Those wins landed The Blues in the 6A girls state tournament at the University of Portland Chiles Center March 9-11.

Suddenly the impossible looked possible.

“Getting there and winning my senior year would be honestly amazing,” Yeaney told KOIN 6 TV prior to the tournament.

Yeaney had been to the tournament before, as a sophomore. The Blues made the championship game, losing to South Salem. This season they opened against top-ranked and eventual champion Southridge and lost. Title hopes were crushed, but a trophy was still within reach.

Yeaney scored 21 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to help St. Mary's thump fifth-ranked South Medford in the next game. She then scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead The Blues over tenth-ranked Sunset for the fourth place trophy.

When the dust settled, the 25th ranked Blues beat four of the state's Top 10 teams and won two trophies, including the Sportsmanship award. Yeaney, an All-Tournament first team selection, led in rebounds and assists, was second in scoring at 24 points per game and sank 23 of 24 free throw attempts in the three tournament games. Marley Johnson of St. Mary's averaged nearly nine points per game to complement her teammate.

“I want to be one of the best point guards to come out of St. Mary’s,” said the Indiana University bound senior.

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