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Tigers ground Eagles in state playoff opener

Tigard girls open the postseason with a 57-42 victory


TIGARD — It’s the playoffs.

And the Tigard High School girls basketball team said that it was going to take it one game at a time and not take anything for granted as it entered postseason play.

Clichés aside, there’s something the Tigers know they can definitely depend on in the playoffs — defense.

And that ball-hawking defense came through in a big way in the Tigers’ postseason opener, as they ran past Centennial for a 57-42 win in a Class 6A state playoff first-round contest played Feb. 27 at Tigard High School.by: DAN BROOD - UP FOR TWO -- Tigard senior Megan Risinger goes up to the basket during the state playoff win over Centennial.

“Defense is out thing,” Tigard junior guard Emilee Cincotta said after the game. “We focus on steals and rebounds.”

“We got it done on defense,” said Tigard junior guard Lexi Carter, who scored a game-high 26 points in the victory.

Centennial, the No. 3 team out of the Mt. Hood Conference, finished its season with a final overall record of 13-11. Tigard, the Pacific Conference champion, improved to 22-3 on the season to that point. The Tigers also advanced to host Jesuit in a second-round state playoff contest (see related story).

“It was good,” Carter said of the first-round victory. “We’re taking it one at a time and we’re glad to get this first one out of the way.”

In the victory over the Eagles, Carter and Cincotta, working together to cause havoc on the defensive end of the court, combined for 14 steals.

“We work off each other,” Carter said. “We’re partners in crime.”

“Defense was huge for us,” Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. “We got most of our offense in transition. That kept us in the game.”

Centennial, behind the hot outside shooting of sophomore Megan Dailey, took the early lead in last week’s game. Dailey sank a pair of three-point baskets in the first quarter to help the Eagles claim a 10-8 lead at the end of the period.

But Tigard came out strong to start the second quarter. Tiger junior guard Courtney Roshak sank a three-point basket from the right corner to start the period. Carter followed that up with a 10-foot pull-up jumper and then she came up with a steal and layup to give the Tigers a 15-10 lead with 5 minutes and 56 seconds left in the quarter.

Carter had two more baskets in the period and Cincotta sank a jumper off an assist from senior Megan Risinger, who then added a pair of free throws. But Centennial, which got two more three-pointers from Dailey, stayed close, trailing Tigard by just a 23-19 margin at halftime.

The Tigers turned up the defensive intensity in the third quarter. Tigard limited the Eagles to just four points while helping force the visitors into seven turnovers in the period.

Meanwhile, Risinger had a pair of baskets in the quarter and senior Meeka Mayhew added a hoop on a jump shot to help the Tigers up their lead to 32-23 going into the fourth quarter.

Centennial rediscovered its shooting touch in the final stanza, sinking three three-pointers in the period. But, the Eagles were never able to seriously threaten the Tigers down the stretch.

Carter scored 13 points in the fourth quarter and Cincotta added six free throws in the period to help Tigard wrap up the 57-42 victory.

“This was real important,” Cincotta said of the first-round victory. “We wanted to get momentum for the rest of the playoffs.”

“We had a slow start. It looked like we hadn’t played in eight days, which we haven’t,” Naylor said. “But we got going.”

Carter had six steals to go with her game-high 26 points in the win. Cincotta had 12 points, eight steals and two assists. Risinger also had a strong overall performance with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists.

Tigard, as a team, made 18 of 33 shots from the field and 20 of 28 free-throw attempts. The Tigers also had just 12 turnovers in the contest, compared to 22 for Centennial.

Dailey led Centennial with 21 points.



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  • 1 Sep 2014

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