Girls basketball: Tualatin seemingly can't miss in the second half of its 77-58 win against rival Tigard
by: DAN BROOD, STANDING TALL — Tualatin sophomore Aly Brown (50) looms above Tigard sophomore Chelsea Biglow during Friday’s game.

TIGARD - For one game at least, the Timberwolves showed that they very well could still be the team to beat.

They also let it be known that the road to the Pacific Conference championship may still go through Tualatin.

The Tualatin High School girls basketball team, behind a red-hot second half shooting performance, opened league play by scoring a 77-58 over rival Tigard in a game played Friday at Tigard High School.

'This is pretty big for us. It's amazing,' Tualatin sophomore post Aly Brown said of the victory. 'This game was very important to us. It was a good way to start off league.'

'It's huge,' Timberwolf junior post Kelly Millager said. 'We were hoping to get it together tonight.'

With the win, its 34th straight in league play, Tualatin not only got off to a 1-0 start to league, but it also moved to 7-3 on the season at that point. Tigard moved to 0-1 in league and to 7-3 on the season with the setback.

'They came out ready to play and we didn't,' Tigard junior guard Corinn Waltrip said.

Tualatin, which never trailed in the contest, started off fast, grabbing a quick 8-0 lead, and then the Wolves put the game away with some amazing accuracy in the second half. In the second half of the win, Tualatin made 18 of 25 (72 percent) shots from the field with five of those baskets being from three-point range.

'It helps when you do that,' Tualatin coach Todd Jukkala said. 'If we could do that every night it would make things a lot easier.'

'The shots were going in and that got us all pumped up,' said Brown, who came off the bench to lead a balanced Tualatin scoring attack with 14 points.

The Wolves also seemed to be pumped up at the beginning of the contest. Tualatin senior post Janelle Cromie sank a three-point basket less than a minute into the game to ignite an 8-0 run to start the contest. Millager added a jumper and senior Danielle Roisom made a pair of free throws during the Wolves' early scoring spree.

'The good start was very important,' Millager said. 'We were really pumped up and excited for this game. We had a lot of heart.'

Tigard, with senior post Brittany Duty sinking a pair of short-range bank shots, answered back by scoring the game's next seven points to cut the lead to 8-7. But the Wolves then rolled off 10 unanswered points, with Brown and sophomore Marissa Senger sinking back-to-back three-pointers, on their way to claiming an 18-9 lead at the end of the first quarter.

Tigard, with Waltrip, junior Melissa Woolard and sophomore Chelsea Biglow each making three-pointers in the second quarter, cut the Tualatin lead to 34-27 at halftime.

But that's as close as the Tigers could get the rest of the way - thanks to Tualatin's pinpoint shooting in the second half.

In the third quarter, the Wolves made 12 of 16 shots from the field. Senger connected on a pair of three-pointers in the period while sophomore Kelsey Allred, Brown and sophomore Meaghan Cichoke also sank a shot from beyond the arc in the quarter, which ended with Tualatin holding a 63-40 lead.

'We passed the ball real well and got each other open shots,' Brown said.

Tigard didn't give up. Tiger freshman Kelsey Kaelin scored the first four points of the fourth quarter and Waltrip followed with a three-point basket off an assist from Duty to trim the margin to 63-47 with 5:59 to play in the game.

Waltrip sank two more three-pointers in the period, and she scored 12 points in the quarter, but, with Tualatin still shooting at a high percentage, the Tigers weren't able to challenge for the lead.

The Wolves made six of nine shots from the field in the final stanza as they cruised to the 77-58 victory.

'Oh my God. They were so hot with the three-pointers,' Duty said. 'I felt like we worked hard, but they were just making all of their shots.'

In addition to Brown's 14-point outing, Tualatin had four other players reach double figures. Millager and Senger each scored 12 points while Cromie and Allred scored 10 apiece. Millager had six rebounds and a pair of steals to go with her 6-for-8 shooting night. Cromie also pulled down six rebounds while also having two assists and two blocked shots.

As a team, Tualatin made 30 of 57 shots from the field and seven of 14 free throws.

Waltrip led all scorers with 24 points. She made five three-point baskets and she also had four rebounds and four steals.

Duty had 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Tigers. Senior Heidi Pizer, Biglow and Kaelin each scored six points.

Tigard made 21 of 56 shots from the field and eight of 16 free throws.

'It's hard for me to sit there and be upset with our intensity level. The girls played hard,' Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. 'It came down to them making the shots - and they made them. They were the better team tonight.'

Both teams picked up wins on Tuesday. Tualatin moved to 2-0 in league with its 65-59 home win over McMinnville. Senger scored 18 points in that game, Millager had 11 and Roisom scored 10.

Tigard bounced back to win 67-36 at Newberg on Tuesday. Waltrip paced the Tigers with 19 points in the victory. Pizer scored 18 and Duty had 14 points.

Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Tigard will host Forest Grove and Tualatin will be home to face Canby. On Tuesday, Tigard travels to McMinnville and the Wolves will be home to take on Forest Grove.

Tigard and Tualatin will meet again on Jan. 22 and again on Feb. 8.

'We'll be more prepared the next time,' Duty said.

'We've got them two more times,' Waltrip said. 'We're looking forward to it.'

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