by: FILE PHOTO - Westview senior superstar Jaime Nared scored 40 points for the Wildcats against Canby in the first round of the 6A playoffs.

PORTLAND - Westview standout Jaime Nared will be part of one of the nation’s premiere college basketball programs at the University of Tennessee next season.

But the Wildcats senior has some unfinished business to take care of before becoming a Lady Volunteer, namely helping Westview grab a state championship that has narrowly eluded it the past two seasons.

Nared, the three-time reigning Metro League Player of the Year, filled up the stat sheet as the Wildcats, who finished fourth in the state last year and second in 2012, earned their third consecutive trip to the Moda Center and the OSAA Class 6A Quarterfinals with a 68-52 victory over visiting Candy last Friday.

The second round win did not come easy, but, after a slow start for both her and her teammates, Nared came to the rescue, finishing with 40 points, 15 rebounds, six steals, and four emphatic blocked shots. She dropped in 20 points in each half, buried a trio of three pointers, and calmly knocked down 13 of 16 free throws.

“I just wanted to win,” said Nared. “We need to play the game we’ve been playing all year (at the Moda Center). If we focus on what we need to do, everything will work out. We have a lot of people that have roles to fill.”

The game was much closer than the lopsided final score. Hot shooting by the Cougars combined with shaky defense by Westview propelled Canby to a 20-17 lead after the first quarter.

“We need to figure out how to come out stronger,” said Wildcats junior guard Alia Mahuna.

The second period was a different story as the Wildcats defense stiffened and Nared began to take over. She knocked down a three to tie the game at 20 and then fed a nifty no-look pass to Mahuna, whose layup gave Westview its first lead since early in the game.

Mahuna returned the favor by dishing to Nared for another easy basket. Seven more points from Nared and a baseline jump shot from sophomore Hailey Garrity game the Wildcats a 34-23 lead.

Westview faced a small scare just 15 seconds into the third quarter, when Nared committed her third personal foul. One pondered whether third-year Westview Head Coach Lindsay Strothers might sit her for a spell.

Strothers would have none of that. “When Jaime gets in foul trouble, she doesn’t foul out,” he said. She knows when we’re stagnant she needs to get going. She does phenomenal things.”

Not only did Nared stay on the floor, but she was savvy enough to record all four of her blocked shots following that third foul, including a pair of vicious swats on Cougars guard Skylee Doman.

“(Coach) trusts me to be smart,” Nared added. “Everybody was playing good defense after the first quarter.”

Canby, though, would not go away, and tied the game at 45 late in the third quarter.

Nared answered with a pair of jumpers to give Westview a 49-45 lead heading into the fourth. She then opened the final quarter with a three-pointer and another baseline bucket from Garrity ran the lead back to nine.

“She has no fear,” Strothers said of the feisty Garrity.”

Mahuna finished with a pair of three pointers and ten points and sophomore point guard Ashley Scoggin chipped in with six points, four assists and three steals.

Sophomore Bria Thames (four points) and senior Dana Bentz (two) rounded out the scoring for the Wildcats.

Strothers and his girls know that a very tough road lies ahead at the Moda Center, and that opposing teams will mostly likely key in on Nared.

“The key is for other players to pick up the slack and do their part,” Strothers added. We’ve got to get the other players going, attack the gaps on defense, and not be casual with the ball.”

Mahuna was in agreement with her coach. “We want everyone to become involved and we all need to contribute,” she said. “But I think it’s going to be good. We can play with anybody.”

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