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Wildcats post best year in eight

Westview's girls make first state trip in four years, win first since '00
by: MILES VANCE, HANDLE IT — Westview’s Kelley Pullin  drives upcourt against Central Catholic in the Cats’ Saturday’s loss.

Westview's girls basketball team saw its season come to an inglorious end at the hands of powerful Central Catholic on Saturday, but that final loss did little to steal the luster from Westview's best season in almost a decade.

The Wildcats, the fourth-place finishers from the Metro League, won their first state playoff berth in four seasons, and by beating Grant 67-56 on Feb. 27, also notched their first state playoff win since 2000. The Rams ended Westview's season with a 78-44 victory over the Cats on Saturday and won a berth in the eight-team state tournament.

'It's been a couple years since our team's made the playoffs, and even to make it to the second round is a big accomplishment,' said Westview junior Kelley Pullin, who had seven points in each of her team's two playoff games. 'We just hope that in years to come we can just set this as a standard and get farther the next years.'

'Looking back over the year to now, we improved a lot,' said Westview sophomore Ashlie Nguyen, who had 25 points against Grant and three versus Central Catholic. 'That's pretty much all you can ask for. We're losing great seniors, great leaders, but we'll have a lot of people back and a lot of team chemistry.'

Central Catholic 78, Westview 44

PORTLAND - As well as Westview had played in beating Grant three days earlier, the Wildcats were simply no match for top-ranked Central Catholic (22-3), the eight-time defending Mt. Hood Conference champions.

Westview trailed just 12-8 when Rachel Hershey scored on a fast break assisted by Aubrey Ashenfelter with 2 minutes, 35 seconds left in the first quarter, but the Rams closed the quarter on a 5-2 run, then added eight more at the start of the second frame to take control at 25-10.

Central senior Audrey Miller, who led all scorers with 23 points, was particularly tough early in the game, hitting 3-of-6 shots from the field (including two three-pointers) and both her free throws for 10 points in the opening quarter.

The Rams kept the heat on too, using its sharp shooting, accurate passing and advantage in rebounding to outscore Westview 22-9 in the second period and lead 39-19 at the half. Central continued to push its advantage in the last two quarters, extending its edge to 60-24 after three quarters and coasting home from there.

'It's a disappointing game, but we tried our best,' Pullin said. 'We knew that they were ranked second in the state and that we were major underdogs, but we just tried to play our game.'

'This was not the outcome we wanted, but we came into this game with the goal of wanting to play hard from start to finish,' McGrath added. 'Just to be here was exciting.'

Senior Jackie Nared, one of just three seniors on the Wildcats' roster, led her team with nine points. Kate Lanz added 12 for the Rams and Courtney Flynn 10.

Westview 67, Grant 56

PORTLAND - The youthful Wildcats, who feature seven sophomores and freshmen on their varsity roster, got their playoff adventure off to an upbeat beginning when they upset Portland Interscholastic League runner-up Grant at Grant High School.

Westview hit the ground running against the Generals, getting a first-quarter 'three' by Pullin and four points each from Nguyen and Ashenfelter to push ahead 15-10 after one quarter.

Grant, led by freshman Krystal Forthan's 14 points, stayed close in the second quarter thanks to Patrice Polk's nine points, but Nguyen began to get loose inside for Westview and racked up nine of her 25 to extend the Cats' lead to 35-28 at the half.

Nguyen, who benefited from Nared's passes all night long, added six in the third quarter, Nared tacked on six of her own and kept the Wildcats' lead at 50-43. Forthan came back with six points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough - Nguyen came through with her final six points in the final period and the Cats hit 8-of-12 foul shots to win.

'Our goal was to make playoffs and we did that, and we even got farther than we were supposed to go,' Nguyen said. 'Making it to the top 16 teams in the state was amazing.'

'Ashlie had a great game. Jackie just kept feeding her down low and they played hard,' McGrath said. 'They weren't scared. They were ready and they just did everything we asked.'

Nared and Ashenfelter finished with 13 points each, Pullin added seven and Hayley Cusick five. After Forthan's 14, Victoria Luttmann added 13, Polk 12 and Jacquie Shaw 10 for Grant.