Tualatin starts off strong, but can't hold on in the playoff tilt

TUALATIN — For three quarters, things were going the Timberwolves’ way.

But, unfortunately for the Tualatin High School basketball team, the tide turned in the fourth quarter.

It turned Jesuit’s way — in a big way.

The Crusaders, outscoring Tualatin 26-14 in the fourth quarter, rallied to get a 52-44 win in the Class 6A state playoff first-round game played Feb. 27 at Tualatin High School.

“It didn’t go our way,” Tualatin junior post Jasmine Miller said after the game. “We battled and fought, but we just couldn’t make our shots. Things happen.”by: DAN BROOD - BATTLE UNDERNEATH -- Tualatin High School senior Britta Hall (22) has the ball knocked away from her by Jesuit's Jasmine Gross during last week's state playoff contest.

“We started the game with three of our best quarters,” first-year Tualatin coach Casey Bunn said. “But we just couldn’t buy a bucket in the fourth quarter. It wasn’t our day, but I’m proud of the girls. They worked their butts off.”

With the win, Jesuit, the No. 4 team out of the Metro League, improved to 11-14 on the season at that point. The Crusaders also advanced to meet Tigard in a state playoff second-round contest.

Tualatin, the No. 2 team out of the Pacific Conference, finished its season with a final record of 15-8.

“We had a great season,” Miller said. “I’m so proud of the team. We played with a lot of heart, and this year was really fun.”

“I think the girls surpassed a lot of expectations,” Bunn said. “I’m just really proud of them.”

Miller helped the Wolves get off to a strong start in last week’s playoff game.

She scored 11 points in the first half, including a late bank shot that gave Tualatin a 22-18 lead at halftime.

“I wanted to play hard and do whatever I could to help the team,” Miller said of her first-half performance.

The Wolves continued to play strong early in the third quarter.

Miller scored on a short-range jumper off an assist from junior Lindsay Barrow and senior Britta Hall converted a three-point play to up the Wolves’ lead to 27-20 with 4 minutes and 57 seconds left in the period.

Jesuit, getting baskets by junior Emily Allen, sophomore Tarea Green and freshman Andersen, trimmed the margin to 30-26 at the end of the third quarter.

But Tualatin kept control in the early minutes of the fourth quarter. The Wolves took a 35-30 lead when sophomore Nicole Miller scored on a layup with 5:59 left in the game.

That’s when Jesuit started storming back. The Crusaders got a three-point play by Andersen and a pair of free throws by freshman Jasmine Gross to tie the game at 35-35 with 4:32 remaining. Another free throw by Gross gave Jesuit a 36-35 lead with 4:23 remaining.

Tualatin quickly regained the lead, at 37-36, when Hall made a pair of free throws with 4:09 left to play.

But a three-point basket by Andersen gave Jesuit a 39-37 lead with 3:57 remaining, and the Crusaders wouldn’t trail again.

A follow-up bucket by Gross gave Jesuit a 44-40 lead with 2:28 remaining. Green followed that up with a 6-foot jumper and Gross added another foul shot to make the score 47-40 with 1:13 left in the game.

Hall’s second three-pointer of the fourth quarter trimmed the margin to 47-43 with 1:01 left to play. But Andersen went 2-for-2 from the foul line and Green converted a three-point play in the final 40 seconds to help Jesuit wrap up the 52-44 win.

Hall led the way for Tualatin with 17 points. Jasmine Miller added 13 points and senior Baylee Lyle scored five.

Green led Jesuit in the win with 20 points, getting 11 of her points in the first half. Gross scored 12 points, all coming in the fourth quarter, and Andersen had 11.

The loss marked the final high school contest for Tualatin seniors Mikayla Ngo, Lyle and Hall.

“The seniors taught us so much,” Jasmine Miller said. “We’re going to do it next year for them.”

“Our underclassmen have some big shoes to fill,” Bunn said. “But we should have good talent coming back.”

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