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Wolves almost overcome ice-cold shooting night

Basketball: The Tualatin girls rally late, but lose to South Eugene in tourney opener
by: DAN BROOD, IT’S MINE — Tualatin sophomore post Aly Brown (right) pulls the ball away from South Eugene’s Carmen Williams during the Interstate Shootout tourney game.

LAKE OSWEGO - They had an ice-cold shooting night.

Almost all of the rebounds bounced the other direction.

Yet, through hustle and strong defense, the Timberwolves still almost found a way to win.

The Tualatin High School girls basketball team, trailing almost the entire game, rallied late but ended up falling 41-37 to South Eugene in an opening-round game of the Laker Interstate Shootout held Dec. 26 at Lake Oswego High School.

'I was happy with our effort in the second half,' Tualatin coach Todd Jukkala said after the game. 'We weren't really focused in the first half. We got more aggressive with the press in the second half, but we still had trouble converting that into points. We're trying to work through some things and we're still learning.'

With the loss, Tualatin fell to 4-2 on the season at that point. South Eugene improved to 4-3 at that point with the victory.

The Wolves seemed to struggle to find their shooting touch throughout the contest. They made just eight of 23 shots from the field and were outrebounded 20-10 in the first half, which ended with South Eugene holding a 26-17 lead.

Tualatin made just two of 15 shots in the third quarter, but the Wolves were still able to close the gap to 31-26 at the end of the period, thanks to a pressure defense that helped force South Eugene into 11 turnovers in the quarter.

Tualatin junior guard Madeline Houston had three steals in the quarter and senior Danielle Roisom sank a three-pointer, off an assist from sophomore post Aly Brown, late in the period to help cut the deficit to five points going into the final stanza.

South Eugene was still holding a five-point lead going into the final minute of the contest before Tualatin made one last strong rally attempt. Timberwolf junior post Kelly Millager scored off an assist from Roisom, following a steal, to cut the lead to 37-34 with 33 seconds left to play.

Then, after Tualatin senior Janelle Cromie came up with another steal, Timberwolf sophomore wing Marissa Senger sank a three-pointer to tie the game at 37-37 with 15 seconds left to play.

But South Eugene's Olivia Roberts was fouled with 11.7 seconds remaining and she sank both free throws to give the Lady Axes a 39-37 lead. Then, after a Tualatin missed shot, South Eugene sophomore Mackenzie Kerins was fouled and she also made both foul shots to make the final score 41-37.

'We're still learning how to deal with situations,' Jukkala said. 'But we put ourselves in a position to win.'

Millager was Tualatin's leading scorer in the game with eight points. Houston had seven points to go with seven steals. The Wolves, as a team, made 14 of 49 shots from the field and four of 13 free throw attempts.

Kerins led all scorers with 12 points.