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Finishing strong

Westview's girls close out the Laker Interstate Shootout winning 58-29
by: JAIME VALDEZ, TO THE HOOP — Westview sophomore Ashlie Nguyen soars to the basket during play in the Laker Interstate Shootout last week.

LAKE OSWEGO - With its up-tempo pace, it's a wonder the Westview girls basketball team had any energy left for its final game at the Interstate Shootout.

No such problem.

The Wildcats blitzed Crescent Valley 27-4 in the first quarter and cruised to a 58-29 win on Saturday at Lake Oswego High School to finish the 16-team tournament with a 2-2 record (7-4 on the season).

'To play four games in four days with our style can be exhausting,' Westview coach Amanda McGrath said. 'I'm proud that they came out and played really hard.'

Westview opened the tournament by beating Wilsonville 73-67 on Wednesday, then lost to Jefferson 84-72 on Thursday and South Eugene 53-49 on Friday before Saturday's win.

'This was an opportunity to play teams we don't normally play,' wing Ashlie Nguyen said. 'It helps us get ready for the Metro season.'

With four freshmen, three sophomores, a junior and three seniors on the varsity roster, the Wildcats can use the seasoning.

'Many of these kids didn't get a transition period,' McGrath said. 'At this level, they're learning that you have to be good every night.'

That pertains to the entire roster for Westview to be able to maintain its pace.

'We have a lot more depth than last year,' senior Jackie Nared said. 'Our subs come in and produce.'

Barring foul trouble, though, it's tough to take Nared out. The 6-foot-1 wing led the team in scoring all four games, averaging 20.5 points to earn All-Tournament honors.

Nared had 11 of her game-high 22 points in the first quarter as Westview jumped out to a 20-2 lead Saturday against Crescent Valley. The Wildcats ended the first quarter ahead 24-4 after Hayley Cusick's three-pointer with 25 seconds left, her second in the period.

'Last night we didn't play well and came out really slow,' Nared said. 'Today we definitely picked it up.'

Westview led 35-4 after five Raider turnovers in the first two minutes of the second quarter. Cusick, Taryn Burns and Nared each had 'threes' in a 15-0 run.

Playing at a frenzy, Westview forced the Raiders into 33 turnovers, including 20 in the first half. Rachel Hershey drained a pair of three-pointers as the Cats took a 38-10 lead into halftime.

Hershey had half of the Wildcats' eight three-pointers in the game for all 12 of her points.

Westview didn't start nearly as fast in Friday's 53-49 loss to South Eugene. Despite falling behind by 16 in the second quarter, the Wildcats stormed back.

Westview got as close as 50-49 on Nared's drive along the baseline for a layin with 45 seconds left to play. But the Axemen converted 3-of-4 free throws and the Cats only got off one more shot - a blocked three-pointer.

The Axemen went on runs of 13-3 and 10-2 for a 30-14 lead with 3:15 left in the first half. Westview chipped away, with Aubrey Ashenfelter opening the second half with a three-pointer to make it 30-22. The Cats later went on a 12-2 run behind their press to draw within 42-40 with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

'We got a lot of steals and scored mostly off our press,' Nguyen said. 'If we can get that going throughout the game, it will help us a lot.'

Nared had a team-high 14 points but picked up her fourth foul and spent half of the third quarter on the bench. Still, the comeback effort didn't stall.

Nguyen converted inside twice and also drove for a layin in a 6-0 run that made it 42-40.

South Eugene went 6:26 without scoring, but Westview couldn't quite catch up. Nared hit a 10-footer and Pullin had a pair of free throws to make it 49-47 with 5:24 left, but the Wildcats managed just Nared's reverse layin from there on out.

'Our shooting was just off,' Nguyen said. 'Some games we don't focus on our shots.'

In Thursday's game against Jefferson, it was foul shots. Westview made a frantic comeback after trailing 42-17 at halftime, cutting the deficit to four points but losing 84-72 to the eventual champion Democrats, the top-ranked Class 5A team.

'I'm really proud that they came back,' McGrath said.

Nared had 23 points to pace the Wildcats, who hit just 20-of-45 free throws in the game.

'If we make our free throws, we win that game,' Nguyen said. 'Our free throws are just off right now.'

'The two games we lost, I felt we could've won but we didn't play complete games,' McGrath said. 'There's still room to grow. They play really well at times, but we're not where we need to be.'

Nared scored 27 points to lead a Wildcat comeback on Wednesday - a 73-67 win over Wilsonville.

Westview trailed 34-30 at halftime before pulling within 49-48 after three quarters and outscoring the Wilsonville 25-18 in the fourth.

'The girls played pretty well from start to finish,' McGrath said.