The Cardinals win the season-finale 39-37 to finish third in league and secure a berth in the 3A playoff bracket

by: THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Corbett's Simone Ballard reaches above a crowd to pull down a rebound during the second half of the Cardinals' 39-37 win at Oregon Episcopal on Thursday night.

PORTLAND — The Corbett girls basketball team clinched a spot in the 3A playoffs Thursday night with a 39-37 road win at Oregon Episopal.

The Cardinals trailed briefly at the start of the second period, but Maddie Stevens hit a 3-pointer in front of the Aarvarks bench and Corbett never trailed again.

Corbett seemed to be in command late in the game after Christine Soulagnet stole the ball away from OES point guard Erica Massaro. Soulagnet had dropped to the court in the effort, but made a quick pass downcourt from her knees, setting up Stephens for a breakaway chance. She was fouled on her way to the rim, but sank both free throws for a 35-24 lead with 3:02 to play.

The Aardvarks rushed back in the closing minutes, shrinking the gap to three points on a free throw by Rachael Haugh after Corbett was issued a technical foul for calling a timeout it didn’t have.

OES took possession with 41.5 seconds left, but missed a chance to tie the score when it bobbled the ball out of bounds.

Corbett sealed the victory at the free throw line where it went 9 for 12 (.750) in the fourth quarter, including a stretch of six straight makes while the game was still in the balance.

Corbett (11-4) finishes as the No. 3 seed in the Lewis & Clark League and will play at No. 2 Rainier in an opening playoff game Tuesday. Regardless of the result, the Cardinals have clinched a spot in the 3A playoffs, although a win Tuesday night could boost their RPI number enough to give them a home game in the first round at state. Corbett is No. 9 in the rankings, needing to move up one spot to get that home date.

Look for extended game coverage in the Tuesday, Feb. 12, print edition.

View a photo gallery of the game at …

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