St. Mary's Academy basketball team finishes the season second in state; team members recognized for excellence by the Three Rivers League (Photo)
Martina McCowan (left) and Tyschal Blake (right)
Portland, Ore. - On Saturday, March 14, St. Mary's Academy's Blues basketball team played in the OSAA 6A State Championship Finals for the first time since 1999. Proud parents, students, teachers, alumnae and other community members filled the stands to cheer on the Blues. The Blues finished the game with 50 points, just six less than competitor South Salem to finish the season second in the state. After the final buzzer sounded, members of the 1986 St. Mary's basketball championship team led the fans in chanting "We are proud of you."
"I am so proud of my team. Standards were raised this year, but our players met and welcomed the challenge. This team has changed and matured throughout the season - something I believe was reflected on the court. I am honored and feel blessed to have taken this journey with St. Mary's coaching staff and such a great group of young women," said St. Mary's head coach Dewey Taylor III.
Five St. Mary's Academy students were recognized as 2015 Girls' Basketball All-Three Rivers League players by a vote of the league's coaches. Senior Tyschal Blake was named Player of the Year and senior Martina McCowan was named Defensive Player of the Year. These talented student-athletes were also named as part of the First Team, along with sophomore Bendu Yeaney. Senior Tasia Bilbrew and junior Clara Ell earned Honorable Mention recognition. In addition, Coach Taylor was selected as Three Rivers League Girls' Basketball Coach of the Year. This was Taylor's first year as head coach at St. Mary's.
Coaches from the Three Rivers League voted and ranked players nominated from each of the schools in the league. The top six players selected are part of the First Team; the next six players are part of the Second Team. Players with the most points are awarded Player of the Year, and Defensive Player of the Year for the defensive ballot. All players with at least one vote receive honorable mention. Players on the First Team and Coach Taylor qualify for OSAA 6A All-State recognition, which will be voted on in the coming weeks.
"I think I speak for the entire St. Mary's Academy community when I say that I am proud to have such talented players and coaches representing our school. It is not only exciting that our basketball team finished the season second in state, but also that they were recognized within their league," said St. Mary's Academy's Athletic Director Anna Maria Lopez '78.
"I feel honored - there are so many great coaches in our league. To be honored with this award speaks volumes to how coachable and hardworking the young women at St. Mary's are. To have the player of the year and the defensive player of the year on our team, as well as two honorable mentions is an outstanding team achievement," said Taylor.
Senior Martina McCowan, Defensive Player of the Year, will be attending Long Beach State University, a Division I school, on a full-ride scholarship for basketball in the fall. "This season we worked very hard as a team. I am so proud and excited about the bonds I've formed with my teammates," said McCowan.
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St. Mary's Academy is a Catholic high school for young women located in the heart of downtown Portland that provides a challenging college-preparatory education with a focus on developing the whole person. Founded in 1859 by the Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, St. Mary's Academy is Oregon's oldest continuously operating secondary school and offers a supportive learning environment to a diverse student body from more than 35 cities in urban, suburban and rural Oregon and Southwest Washington. It is the only school in the state to have received three Blue Ribbon awards from the U.S. Department of Education. For more information about St. Mary's Academy, please visit www.stmaryspdx.org.