Girls basketball: The young Tualatin team battles hard but falls to the Irish in the state playoff tilt
by: DAN BROOD, PLAYOFF BATTLE — Tualatin sophomore Julie Arndorfer battles Sheldon’s Tami Brown for the ball as Tualatin sophomore Meaghan Cichoke (14) runs over.

TUALATIN - The Tualatin High School girls basketball team, as usual, played with a lot of effort.

But, unfortunately for the Timberwolves, that effort wasn't enough to overcome their own cold shooting and a talented, experienced Sheldon team.

Tualatin saw its season come to a close with a 57-39 loss to the Irish in a Class 6A state playoff game held Saturday at Tualatin High School. The Wolves shot at about a 20-percent clip from the field in the setback.

'The girls played hard. I can't fault their effort,' Tualatin coach Todd Jukkala said. 'But we just didn't shoot well. For the most part, we had good shots, but we just didn't make them.'

With the win, Sheldon improved to 20-7 on the season and advances to play at the Class 6A state tournament, which starts today (Thursday) at the University of Portland Chiles Center. The Irish will meet Central Catholic today in a state tournament quarterfinal game starting at 6:30 p.m.

The young Tualatin team, which won a share of the Pacific Conference championship and opened the state playoffs with a 59-36 win over McNary (see related story), finished its season with a final record of 20-6.

'I'm very pleased with our season,' Jukkala said. 'I think we exceeded our own expectations. Winning a share of the league title isn't something we looked at from the start of the season. The girls took on the challenges and played hard.'

Tualatin, in Saturday's playoff contest, got off to a decent start and trailed Sheldon just 12-10 at the end of the first quarter. Timberwolf sophomore post Aly Brown came off the bench to score five points and grab four rebounds in the opening period.

However, the Irish outscored Tualatin 21-11 in the second quarter to claim a 32-21 halftime lead. The Wolves faced an uphill battle the rest of the way.

Sheldon upped its lead to 48-32 going into the fourth quarter before putting away the victory.

Sophomore wing Marissa Senger paced Tualatin with nine points. Brown added eight points. Senior Danielle Roisom and Kelly Millager each scored six for the Wolves.

The loss marked the final high school game for Tualatin seniors Roisom, who missed almost all her sophomore and junior years to injury, and Janelle Cromie.

'What a great story,' Jukkala said of Roisom. 'It's a testament to her athleticism that she came back. She just has a lot of guts. Janelle has been a great leader for us. In the last part of the league season, she was our rock. We're going to really miss them both.'

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