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Wolves battle strong in opener


The Tualatin girls start the season with setback to South Salem

by: DAN BROOD - STAYING STRONG -- Tualatin senior guard Baylee Lyle keeps a firm grip on the ball during the Timberwolves' season-opener with South Salem.TUALATIN — It wasn’t a win.

But, the Timberwolves say, it was a good start.

And it’s a start they can build on.

Tualatin put in a strong effort, especially on the defensive end of the court, in a season-opening 45-35 loss to South Salem in a non-league game played Friday at Tualatin High School.

“It went pretty good,” Tualatin junior post Savannah Heugly said after the game. “I think it was a great start to the season. We played hard and we’ll just get better.”

Not only was Friday’s game the first of the season for the Wolves, but it also was the first for the team under new head coach Casey Bunn.

“The girls worked so hard,” Bunn said. “They work hard all the time. We just need to work on getting the kinks out.”

South Salem, which went 17-9 in the 2011-2012 season, got off to a fast start in Friday’s game. Saxon sophomore Katie McWilliams sank a 14-foot jump shot to give South Salem a 6-0 lead with 6 minutes and 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

Tualatin came battling back. Timberwolf senior guard Britta Hall scored on a drive to the hoop and junior post Audrey DePaepe added a follow-up basket to cut the lead to 6-4.

South Salem upped its lead to 9-4, but the Wolves came back again. Sophomore Madison Hall sank a pair of three-point shots in the final 1:40 of the opening period to tie the game at 10-10 going into the second quarter.

Madison Hall’s third three-pointer of the game, coming on a shot from the right corner, gave the Wolves their first lead of the contest, at 15-14, with 5:43 left in the second quarter.by: DAN BROOD - ON THE MOVE -- Tualatin senior Britta Hall looks to go up to the basket.

But the Saxons, going 8-for-9 from the free throw line, finished the period on a 12-5 run to take a 26-20 halftime lead.

Tualatin stayed close throughout most of the third quarter. Heugly scored three straight points and junior post Jasmine Miller scored on a steal and drive to the basket to help keep the Wolves within five, at 30-25, with 3:15 remaining in the period.

South Salem answered with five straight points, but Tualatin sophomore Alyssa Knudsen went 2-for-2 from the foul line with 1:09 left in the period to make the score 35-27 going into the fourth quarter.

Britta Hall opened the final stanza with a basket on another drive to the hoop, cutting the lead to 35-29.

Tualatin also got a steal and layup and a follow-up basket from Heugly in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter to keep within seven, at 40-33, with 4:55 remaining in the game.

The margin was still at seven, at 42-35, after Britta Hall went 2-for-2 from the free-throw line with 3:10 remaining. But the Wolves couldn’t get any closer.

McWilliams made three free throws down the stretch for South Salem, as it closed out its 45-35 victory.

“We tried our hardest,” Heugly said. “We want to play hard every game.”

“It will take some time,” Bunn said. “But the girls’ attitude has been awesome. They’re good kids and they push themselves. I’m really looking forward to the season.”

Heugly was Tualatin’s leading scorer in the contest with 12 points. She also reached double digits in rebounds, helping the Wolves claim a 34-25 edge in that category.

“Rebounding is my favorite thing,” Heugly said.

Madison Hall added nine points for Tualatin and Britta Hall scored six.

Tualatin, as a team, made 13 of 43 shots from the field and six of eight free throw attempts.

South Salem, which shot at a 22-for-35 clip from the foul line, was led by McWilliams, who scored 16 points.

The Wolves will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when they host Clackamas in a non-league game starting at 7:15 p.m. at Tualatin High School. On Tuesday, Tualatin will travel to Milwaukie for a non-league tilt starting at 7:15 p.m.