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Wilson girls boost hopes for tourney
PIL girls basketball champion Wilson has momentum going into the state playoffs.
The Trojans finished league play with a 28-13 second-half burst that gave them a 50-39 win over Lincoln and the league title Thursday.
'Lincoln was the best team in the league in the second half of the season, so for us to beat them shows we can compete,' Wilson senior Jessie Shetters says. 'It's pretty impressive that we were able to go 17-1 in league this season.'
The Trojans (18-5) lost their season opener to Barlow, a team that won just four games in the Mount Hood Conference. But after winning just one nonleague game, Wilson went on to capture its second straight PIL crown, losing only to Jefferson on Jan. 24.
Wilson will meet a familiar opponent in the first round of the 16-team, double-elimination state tournament March 4-8 at the Chiles Center. The Trojans will play MHC champion Central Catholic (21-3) at 7 p.m. on March 4. Central beat Wilson 51-45 in the first round last season.
Metro League champion Jesuit (21-3) has qualified for the tournament for the seventh time in eight years.
Jefferson, Lincoln and Grant from the PIL and St. Mary's and Reynolds of the MHC play this week in the state playoffs, which lead into next week's tournament.
Jefferson (21-3) and St. Mary's (19-5) are in the best positions to reach the final 16 through the three-round playoffs. They each need to win just one game, on their respective home courts Saturday. St. Mary's will be trying to reach the state tourney for the seventh time in 12 years. The Blues have won nine of their last 10 games.
Grant, which is in the playoffs for the third straight year, plays at West Linn at 7:30 tonight. The Generals (15-9) are coming off their most impressive win of the season, a 67-54 victory over Jefferson on Thursday in which point guard Shataya Wilson scored a team-high 19 points. It was the first league game in which guard Cicely Oaks, the state's leading scorer, did not lead the Generals in scoring.
West Linn (16-8), the No. 4 team from the Three Rivers League, lost to Jefferson 48-41 on Dec. 7. If Grant beats West Linn, it will play at Southridge (15-9) on Thursday, with the winner of that game heading to North Medford (15-9) on Saturday.
Reynolds (14-8), which hasn't reached the tournament since 1985, plays at McNary (13-10) tonight. The winner travels to Ashland (17-7) on Thursday. The winner of Thursday's game will play at Tualatin (16-7) on Saturday.
Lincoln (17-6) plays host to Thurston (15-9) on Thursday.
BOYS HOOPS: Lincoln, which moved to No. 1 in the state this week, can wrap up its spot in the state tournament with a win at Franklin tonight. That would move the Cardinals into a first-round tourney game at 8:45 p.m. on March 11.
Jefferson and Benson are likely to duel for second place in the PIL when they play Wednesday night at Benson. The No. 2 team would need to win just one playoff game to reach the state tournament, while the No. 3 team would have to win twice, including a road game against the Southern Oregon Conference runner-up.
Reynolds and Central Catholic have clinched playoff spots in the Mount Hood Conference, with Centennial, David Douglas and Parkrose still chasing the league's No. 4 spot. Centennial, which has a one-game lead over both David Douglas and Parkrose, plays at Parkrose on Wednesday. David Douglas is at Reynolds.
NOTES: Parkrose senior Kenny Butler has given a verbal commitment to play basketball at Warner Pacific College next season. É Jessie Shetters says she would be more than happy to have Cicely Oaks as a teammate at the University of Oregon. Shetters has already signed to play there, and Ducks coach Bev Smith scouted Oaks two weeks ago. 'I haven't had the best relationship (with Oaks), but that's because we play for different teams,' Shetters says. 'When you get to college, everything changes and you get new teammates. Cicely is a really good player, so I'd love to have her on my team.' É Freshman Ian Anderson, one of Wilson's top players, says the year has been an eye-opener. 'I played on a traveling team as an eighth-grader and we were really good, but this is a whole different level,' he says. 'The defense is a lot tougher; that's one of the first things I noticed.' Anderson played on an all-star team last year that featured Jefferson's Lathen Wallace, Central Catholic's Corey Allen and Jesuit's Seth Tarver. É Former Jefferson standout Curtis Lincoln is leading North Idaho College in scoring at 17.2 points per game. He is the team's leader in steals with three per game and is third in rebounding with 4.2. Former Bend star Tyler Hayes is second on the team in scoring at 15.1 points per game.