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Girls basketball: Wilsonville held scoreless in third quarter of loss to Gladstone

Wildcats stifled by Gladiators' defense after halftime


by: JEFF GOODMAN - Wilsonville freshman Kristen Burke (right) is trapped by Gladstone juniors Alicia Feb (left) and Melisa Campos during a nonleague game Dec. 19. The Wildcats were held without a point in the third quarter.GLADSTONE — Cindy Anderson wished she had it on film, but not because she’d like it anywhere near a highlight reel.

The longtime Wilsonville girls basketball coach just wanted video evidence of her team’s scoreless quarter to see exactly what went wrong.

Plenty went wrong.

Well within striking distance after one half of play, the Wildcats didn’t muster a single point in the third period of an unsightly 53-31 loss to Gladstone on the road Dec. 19.

The setback sank Wilsonville below .500 for the first time this season, coming on the heels of the team’s encouraging performance in the eight minutes after the break against Silverton two days earlier.

“I said, ‘Let’s come out just like we did against Silverton,’ but maybe I shouldn’t have asked for that,” Anderson said. “(The girls) didn’t give up, and I don’t know if they even knew they didn’t score in the quarter until I told them. But we’re struggling in lots of aspects of the game.”

The Wildcats (2-3) trailed by just seven points at halftime but were outscored 16-0 in the decisive third quarter, their offense stagnating against a physical and disciplined Gladstone defense.

Their execution was disrupted. Their passes were deflected, if not stolen. Their looks at the basket were limited. The ones they got went begging.

Even without a visual replay, Anderson had a pretty good idea of what plagued Wilsonville during the disastrous stretch.

“They put a lot more pressure on us, and we stood around a lot and didn’t move a ton,” Anderson said. “We’re trying not to put in too much (complexity on offense) because we don’t do anything really well yet, but we need to become better shooters. We missed quite a few layups early and stopped going to the basket. We’ve got to learn to keep doing that and be aggressive.”

Gladstone’s lockdown defense was complemented by pinpoint shooting from beyond the arc. The Gladiators drained four of their five three-pointers during the third quarter, the last one by senior guard Fiona Burrell giving her team a whopping 44-21 edge.

Wilsonville sophomore Cassie Rowan put an end to the drought early in the fourth quarter with a jumper from the right baseline, logging her team’s first points since sophomore Karlin McNiel’s free throws late in the first half.

McNiel, who recently recovered from an ankle injury, scored nine of her team-high 10 points in the first half. Senior teammate ChiAnn Morris added seven. Rowan, junior Kendall Tate and sophomore Jocelyn Welberg each chipped in four.

What Gladstone coach Pat Scott saw during the third quarter was a determined team that is hankering for a deep run in the Class 4A playoffs.

“We have really dedicated ourselves to improving defensively with four starters back, and in the third quarter they decided to take over,” Scott said. “They made it a goal to get to Gill Coliseum, and defense is what’s going to have to get us there. ... The kids came out and communicated really well defensively, particularly in the third quarter, and really slammed the door shut.”

Gladstone junior Molly Webster scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the first half, while senior teammate Fiona Burrell made two threes in the third quarter as part of a 14-point effort.

The Gladiators never trailed, their lead ballooning to 50-23 on Nichole Petersen’s transition basket midway through the final period.

Teams with more size and experience — like, say, Gladstone — will likely cause problems for Wilsonville, which returned just two regular-rotation players from last year’s squad.

All but four of Anderson’s players are freshmen or sophomores, and she said many of them are still learning the nuances of the game.

“Someone on the bench said, ‘Can we go zone?’” Anderson said. “The kids don’t recognize a lot of things yet. We knew they were a good shooting team — that’s why we didn’t go zone. They’re a good team. They came out firing, and that can cause you to go ‘Woe is me’ all of a sudden. Our effort was sill there, but we’re not real basketball savvy yet.”

High praise

Gladstone coach Pat Scott said he holds Cindy Anderson in high esteem.

He acknowledged that Wilsonville is in a transition phase but said he warned his team to be prepared for strategic adjustments by the longtime Wildcats coach.

Since Wilsonville jumped to Class 5A in 2007, Anderson has led the girls basketball program to five state trophies.

“She’s one of the premier coaches in the state of Oregon,” Scott said.

Hard-pressed

Anderson is asking her players to defend in a full-court press on a regular basis this season.

Of course, the success of the strategy will depend in part on her team’s physical stamina.

So far, so-so.

“We’re going to do it come heck or high water,” she said. “We’re trying to wear teams down, but we’re not in great shape yet so I’m not sure that it’s working the way I want it to.”

***

GAME SUMMARY

Dec. 19 at Gladstone High School

Gladstone 53, Wilsonville 31

                        1            2            3            4            F

Wilsonville            10            11            0            10 — 31

Gladstone            15            13            16            9 — 53

WHS (31): Karlin McNiel 10, ChiAnn Morris 7, Cassie Rowan 4, Kendall Tate 4, Jocelyn Welberg 4, Kristen Burke 2.

GHS (53): Molly Webster 16, Fiona Burrell 14, Nichole Petersen 9, Jessica Coiteux 4, Melisa Campos 4, Jessica Petersen 2.



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