Basketball: The Sherwood girls, reaching their state tourney goal, battles strong at the Class 5A state event
EUGENE - A goal.
A big goal.
And the Sherwood High School girls basketball team was plenty happy about it.
The Lady Bowmen achieved their season-long goal of playing in the Class 5A state tournament, which was held last Thursday through Saturday at Matthew Knight Arena. And, even though Sherwood fell in both of its games at the state tournament, the Lady Bowmen still seem to be more than happy with their achievement.
'In my sophomore year, we went to the state tournament at the Chiles Center, and that was exciting,' Sherwood senior post Megan Shields said. 'But this topped it. I think it's because we're so close as a team. This was our whole goal from the start of the season and it meant a lot for us to meet it.'
'We're trying to raise the level of our program,' Sherwood coach Liz Barrett said. 'And I think we did that this year. It was a good season.'
Sherwood, which opened the state tournament with a 52-37 loss to eventual state champion Springfield (see related story), faced a familiar foe when it played to keep its tournament life alive on Friday when it took on rival Wilsonville in a consolation bracket semifinal game.
The Wildcats came away with a come-from-behind 54-43 win in Friday morning's game to improve to 24-3 on the season and move on to the tournament fourth-place game.
'I wouldn't want o play anyone else for our last game,' Shields said. 'We always want to beat them, but I've know some of the Wilsonville seniors since fifth grade. Me and Kellie (Krueger) are friends.'
The loss gave Sherwood a final overall record of 19-7.
'It was a great season,' Shields said. 'The key for us was how close we are. We bonded and became like a family. Every day of practice, we made each other better.'
Sherwood got off to a strong start in Friday's tourney contest against the rival Wildcats.
The Lady Bowmen took a 9-5 lead after Shields converted a three-point play after scoring off an assist from junior guard Leanne Snyder with 4 minutes and 14 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Junior post Jackie Long followed that up with a basket to give Sherwood an 11-5 lead with 3:34 left in the opening period. But Wilsonville, with Krueger scoring and with senior Andi Maleike sinking a three-pointer, came back to take a 15-14 lead at the end of the period.
But Sherwood came back strong in the second quarter.
Layups by sophomore Kyeli Hendryx, off an assist from junior Hailey Codling, and Snyder gave the Lady Bowmen an 18-17 lead with 6:46 left in the second quarter. Codling then converted a three-point play to give Sherwood a 21-17 advantage with 4:53 remaining before halftime.
Baskets by Snyder and Long helped the Lady Bowmen up their lead to 25-20 at the intermission.
But Wilsonville, which defeated Sherwood in both of the teams' Northwest Oregon Conference games they played during the regular season, came roaring back to start the second half.
The Wildcats got a three-pointer from junior Alyssa Clark, three straight hoops by Krueger and another three-pointer by Clark to take a 32-25 lead with 3:16 left in the third quarter.
Sherwood ended the Wilsonville scoring spree with back-to-back baskets by senior post McKenzie Griffin. Codling followed with a three-pointer to tie the game at 32-32 with 1:40 left in the period.
But Wilsonville, with Krueger scoring two more baskets, went on to claim a 39-34 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Sherwood closed the gap to three, at 41-38, on a pair of free throws by Long coming with 6:24 left in the contest. But the Lady Bowmen weren't able to get any closer.
Wilsonville scored 10 unanswered points to push the margin to 51-38 with 1:52 left.
Sherwood got baskets by Codling and Long in the final minute, but the Wildcats came away with the 54-43 victory.
'We've had that problem a few games this year,' Shields said. 'We'd play a good first half and then not so good in the second half. We just didn't put it away.'
'It's frustrating,' Barrett said. 'It's tough to beat a team three times, but Wilsonville did it. We wanted the opportunity to play on Saturday. We're disappointed that we didn't do that, but the girls played hard and we made it to the final eight and proved that we belonged there.'
Coding and Long each scored 10 points to lead a balanced Sherwood scoring attack in Friday's game. Long also had six rebounds.
Griffin had eight points, eight rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots. Snyder had six points, six assists and three steals. Hendryx had five points and three steals.
Krueger had 29 points on a 13-for-20 shooting night and she also had a game-high 15 rebounds.
Friday's contest marked the final high school game for Sherwood seniors Griffin, Shields and Bridgette Francis, who missed the Wilsonville game due to a concussion she suffered in the contest with Springfield.
'We had great senior leadership. They did a fantastic job,' Barrett said. 'A lot of your success depends on your seniors.'
'All three of us are going to Oregon next year,' Shields said. 'So we all really wanted to play here at state.'