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Jesuit gets past Cats in opener

In a game with 80 foul shots and 58 turnovers, Jesuit wins 72-62
by: MILES VANCE, GO FOR IT — Westview sophomore guard Aubrey Ashenfelter loses control of the ball while driving down the lane in the first half of her team’s 72-62 Metro League loss to Jesuit at Jesuit High School on Tuesday night.

BEAVERTON - There are no easy games in the Metro League. There are no easy games in the Metro League. There are no easy games in the Metro League.

This is the mantra of Metro League basketball, and you can bet that's what Westview and Jesuit's girls teams were repeating after the Crusaders' 72-62 league-opening victory on Tuesday night at Jesuit High School.

The Wildcats (0-1 in league play, 9-6 overall) and Crusaders (1-0 and 8-8) attacked each other with tenacious full-court defenses from the opening tip to the final buzzer, and while the game wasn't particularly pretty - filled as it was with 58 turnovers and 80 free throws - it was exciting and entertaining until Jesuit sealed its win by making 11-of-14 foul shots in the final 1 minute, 20 seconds of the game.

'We just really wanted to come out strong tonight for Kathy because she couldn't be here,' said Jesuit freshman post Elizabeth Brenner, referring to Jesuit head coach Kathy Adelman Naro who missed the game due to illness. 'It kept going back and forth, but we ended up pulling it out because we really wanted it for Kathy.'

'We know that we had a tough preseason and we just wanted to start out the (Metro League) season with a win and get it especially for Kathy,' added junior guard Shikara Lowe. 'We were all just playing for her and playing for us.'

Youthful Westview, which features just three seniors and one junior on its roster, left disappointed with the loss but encouraged by its effort on a tough opponent's home court.

'It's just a tough loss, (but) I feel like we're a really good team,' said Westview senior wing Jackie Nared. 'Our younger girls are definitely stepping up a lot. Our coaches are trying to get them to play older because a lot of teams we play are all seniors and juniors and we're one of the youngest teams.'

The Wildcats made believers out of Jesuit on Tuesday, using their fullcourt press and uptempo style to force 30 Jesuit turnovers and limit the Crusaders to 39 percent shooting. The Wildcats rallied back from an early 15-7 deficit to tie the game 29-29 at the half thanks to six second-quarter Nared points and four each from Rachel Hershey, Ashlie Nguyen and Aubrey Ashenfelter.

The Cats kept their momentum in the third quarter, too, using a 10-5 run capped by Hershey's three-pointer to grab a 39-34 lead with 4:45 left in the quarter.

Jesuit answered in kind, however, scoring on eight of its final 10 possessions and outscoring the Wildcats 15-4 to push back in front 49-43 at the end of the period. Five of those eight scores came following Jesuit offensive rebounds, with Brenner scoring twice following rebounds and Jenna Dixon adding three points in that stretch.

'That was just a really big goal of mine, to crash the boards out there,' Brenner said. 'Me, being the biggest person out there, that's pretty much my job.'

'We just didn't box out,' Nared said. 'I think one of their players had several, several offensive rebounds.'

Jesuit kept rolling in the fourth quarter, too, stretching its lead to 57-46 on Lowe's two foul shots with 5:38 left in the game.

Westview wasn't quite done yet, though. They used an 11-4 run powered by Hershey's three-pointer over the next 4:11 and moved back within 61-57 when Nared knocked down two free throws with 1:27 remaining.

But Jesuit salted away its win at the foul line, sinking 11-of-14 in the final 1:20 to pull away. Junior forward Sarah Griffin did the most damage in the stretch, hitting all six of her free throw attempts to help ice the victory.

'Before the game, it was stressed that we needed to play our game because we knew they wanted to run and we knew we needed to slow it down and take our time,' said Lowe, who finished with nine points on 2-for-5 shooting from the field and a 5-of-8 day at the line. 'We knew they'd be coming at us on offense so we just had to be making the smart passes and slow it down and take our time both ways.'

Brenner led the Crusaders with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, Griffin added 13 and Julianne Brands 11. For the game, Jesuit hit 22-of-56 shots from the field, 28-of-40 free throws and committed 30 turnovers.

For Westview, Hershey hit 5-of-6 shots from the floor (including four three-pointers) to lead her team with 17 points, Aubrey Ashenfelter added 11 more and Nared had 10. For the game, Westview hit 16-of-49 shots from the field, 26-of-40 free throws and committed 28 turnovers.