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Tualatin ends tourney on strong note

Girls basketball: Wolves roll past St. Mary's for a 74-34 victory in the Interstate Shootout finale
by: DAN BROOD, FLOOR BURNS — Tualatin sophomore Meaghan Cichoke (left) dives to grab the ball before St. Mary’s Rachael Fischer could get to it in Saturday’s tourney game.

LAKE OSWEGO - The Timberwolves, playing in their final game before starting Pacific Conference play, were hoping for a strong, confidence-building performance.

Well, they got it.

The Tualatin High School girls basketball team concluded play at the Laker Interstate Shootout by rolling to a 74-34 win over St. Mary's in a tournament game played Saturday at Lake Oswego High School.

'It helps your confidence when you beat a team big like that,' said Tualatin senior post Janelle Cromie, who had a strong overall performance with four points, six rebounds, six steals and a blocked shot in the victory. 'We got some good game experience at this tournament.'

St. Mary's dropped to 5-7 on the season with the loss. Tualatin improved its season record to 6-3 with the victory. The win over the Blues came in the Wolves last game before they open league play Friday with a 7:15 p.m. game at rival Tigard.

'We're kind of excited about the Tigard game,' Cromie said with a smile. 'We'll be ready.'

The Timberwolves certainly looked to be ready in their win over St. Mary's on Saturday. They made 29 of 63 shots from the field (with eight three-pointers) while also helping force the Blues into a 13-for-48 shooting night. Tualatin also outrebounded St. Mary's by a 44-23 margin while also pressing the Blues into 29 turnovers for the contest.

'It was better,' Tualatin coach Todd Jukkala said of the win. 'We did a good job on transition defense and got a lot of steals on the back side. We were a little better on offense, but we still need to get a lot better at it.'

Tualatin sophomore Marissa Senger and senior Danielle Roisom each sank three-pointers in the first quarter of Saturday's game, helping the Wolves jump out to a 16-8 lead at the end of the period.

Junior post Kelly Millager helped Tualatin pull away more in the second quarter. She scored eight points in the period on 4-for-5 shooting. Sophomore guard Kelsey Allred and Senger each connected on three-point baskets in the quarter as the Wolves upped their lead to 39-23 at halftime.

Millager scored eight more points in the third quarter and Cromie had four steals in the period, which was controlled almost entirely by the Wolves. After St. Mary's scored the first basket of the quarter, Tualatin went on an 18-2 run, which included three-point baskets by Senger and sophomore Meaghan Cichoke.

The Wolves then outscored St. Mary's 18-4 in the fourth quarter to close out their 74-34 victory.

'I think we established a bit of our own identity at the tournament,' Jukkala said. 'What we did well was rotate on the press and get a lot of turnovers.'

Millager led the way in the win over St. Mary's with 19 points. She also had seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals.

Senger sank four three-point baskets on her way to scoring 14 points. Roisom had eight points, three rebounds and three steals. Sophomore post Aly Brown scored seven points.

Senior Colleen O'Donnell led St. Mary's with 18 points.

Tualatin opened the tournament Dec. 26 with a 41-37 loss to South Eugene. The Wolves bounced back last Thursday to defeat South Salem 62-47. Millager scored 19 points in that victory and Roisom added 13.

Friday at the tournament Tualatin was edged 81-76 by Wilsonville. Millager scored 25 points in that contest and Roisom had 14.

Following the league opener Friday at Tigard, the Wolves will face McMinnville Tuesday in a league game starting at 7:30 p.m. at Tualatin High School.