Also: Putnam girls win a barnburner with Sherwood
What a difference a year makes.
The Milwaukie Mustangs, who tied Wilsonville for the Northwest Oregon Conference girls basketball championships in 2012, made quick-work of the Wildcats in last weeks NWOC opener, winning in a 57-29 runaway.
The Mustangs were in charge from the opening tip-off, building a 12-4 advantage in the first quarter and a 34-9 advantage by the intermission.
Seniors Alexis Noren (20 points) and April Meads (12 points) headed up the offensive effort. Meads had a hot hand from the outside, canning three 3-pointers.
Lorissa Martine sparked the offense with a team-high five assists. Noren and Meads had four assists apiece.
Noren also headed up the defense with five steals. Emily Downs hauled down nine rebounds.
The Mustangs (9-2, 2-0) continued in form last Friday, when they outclassed cross-town rival Putnam, winning in a 65-29 runaway. The Mustangs were in charge from the opening tip-off, building a 15-7 advantage in the first quarter and a 32-11 lead by halftime.
Noren (17 points), Martine (17 points), Downs (12 points) and senior Taylor Cunningham (9 points) headed up a balanced offensive assault.
No one from Putnam reached double digits in scoring.
Ranked seventh in the state, the Mustangs square off with Liberty (4-8, 2-0) at Liberty this Friday. Entering play this week, Milwaukie and Liberty were the only teams still unbeaten in NWOC play. Liberty last week dispatched with St. Helens 51-42 and with Parkrose 54-38.
Tuesday, Jan. 8, was a big night for Putnam girls basketball. The Kingsmen on that night opened Northwest Oregon Conference play with a 58-56 win over Sherwood.
It was the first time the Kingsmen had beaten the Bowgirls in NWOC play since they joined the league. In four previous meetings, Sherwood had won by an average of 25 points, 57-32.
Heroine honors went to junior wings Kelsea Baton and Ali Schooley, and to senior post Angelisa Simpson.
Baton burned the nets for a career-high 23 points. Schooley was on fire at both ends of the floor, scoring 16 points and stealing the ball 10 times.
Simpson came through in the clutch at crunch time. With the score tied at 56-56, she rebounded a Sherwood miss and passed the ball to Schooley, who sent it ahead to Fernanda Manzano. Manzano then found Simpson wide open under the basket for a left-handed lay-up. It was Simpsons only basket of the game.
The Kingsmen coaching staff had praise for Baton and Manzano for their defensive play on Sherwood offensive star Kyeli Hendryx. After scoring eight points in the first half, Hendryx scored only four points in the third quarter and she went scoreless in the final period, when the game was on the line.
Free throw shooting was pivotal in the outcome. The Kingsmen attacked the basket throughout the contest, resulting in a plethora of fouls by the Bowmen. And the Kingsmen responded by making 28-of-34 (.823) charity tosses. Baton was 13-of-15 from the free-throw line.
Putnam (3-8, 1-1) hosts Parkrose (4-6, 1-1) this Friday, and the Kingsmen entertain St. Helens (7-5, 1-1) next Tuesday.