Tigard also tipped by St. Mary's at the 6A state tourney

by: DAN BROOD - IN BETWEEN -- Tigard High School senior guard Lexi Carter (5) drives hard to the hoop between Oregon City's Taylor Shaw (left) and Toria Bradford during last week's Class 6A state tournament quarterfinal game. PORTLAND — The Tigard High School girls basketball team seemed to be able to meet most any challenge it faced during the 2013-2014 season.

But there is one challenge that the Tigers just can’t seem to conquer.

Oregon City.

The Pioneers just seem to have Tigard’s number.

Unfortunately for the Tigers, that looked to be the case at the start of the Class 6A state tournament, as Oregon City — seemingly making three-pointers at will early on — ran to a 67-44 win over Tigard in a tourney quarterfinal game played March 12 at the Moda Center.

“They’re good shooters,” Tigard junior Kaylie Boschma said after the game. “And we knew it. We just couldn’t get out on them, and they made some long shots.”

by: DAN BROOD - SCOOP IT -- Tigard senior Emilee Cincotta scoops the ball toward the basket in the game with Oregon City. “We knew they could shoot,” Tigard junior Faithe Wantland said. “But we wanted to come out hard and put up a fight.”

The setback marked the third time in the past four seasons that Oregon City has bested Tigard at the state tournament. In 2011, the Pioneers got a 66-36 win over the Tigers in a state tournament quarterfinal contest. Last year, Oregon City got a 68-29 win over Tigard in the tournament third-place game. And, earlier this season, the Pioneers got a 68-47 victory at Tigard in a regular season non-league contest.

Oregon City kept its streak against the Tigers going, in impressive fashion, in last week’s tourney contest.

“They shot well again,” Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. “They seem to always do against us. They hit some very deep threes. And it’s tough to expand the zone (defense) that far. There press hurt us a lot. We had a lot of turnovers.”

With the win, Oregon City, the Three Rivers League champion, improved to 20-6 on the season to that point. The Pioneers also advanced to the semifinal round of the tournament, where they beat Westview, before moving on to defeat South Medford 57-48 in Saturday’s state championship game.

by: DAN BROOD - GETTING READY -- Tigard coach Steve Naylor talks to his team prior to the start of last week's quarterfinal game at the Class 6A state tournament.Tigard, which brought a 17-game winning streak into the quarterfinal contest, fell to 21-6 on the season to that point.

“They’re a great team,” Tigard senior guard Lexi Carter said of Oregon City. “They play up-tempo and they’ve got great shooters all around. There were no surprises.”

The Pioneers put on a shooting display right from the start.

Oregon City sophomore guard Cierra Walker drilled a three-pointer from the right wing to give the Pioneers a 3-0 lead just 37 seconds into the contest.

Tigard came back with a layup by sophomore post Elise Conroy off a pass from senior guard Emilee Cincotta to make the score 3-2 with 5:26 left to play in the first quarter.

But the Pioneers quickly pulled away.

A pair of three-pointers by senior Jessica Gertz gave Oregon City a 9-4 lead with 3:02 left in the quarter. Gertz’ second three-pointer ignited a 9-0 Pioneer run that pushed the margin to 15-4 with 1:03 left in the period. And the Tigers were forced to try and play catch-up the rest of the way.

Tigard got a free throw by Boschma and a basket on a drive to the hoop by Carter in the final 33 seconds of the period, but another three-pointer by Gertz helped the Pioneers claim an 18-7 lead at the end of the quarter.

by: DAN BROOD - TOGETHERNESS -- The Tigard girls basketball team, including junior Faithe Wantland (center) and senior Hannah Armstead (right) gather just prior to the opening tip of the state tournament quarterfinal contest.Tigard, trying to battle back, got a basket by Carter, a free throw by Conroy and a bucket on a running scoop shot by Cincotta early in the second quarter, trimming the lead to 22-12 with 5:57 left in the half.

But the Pioneers took off again. Oregon City, getting a three-pointer by senior Toria Bradford, scored 10 unanswered points to up the margin to 32-12 with 3:07 remaining in the quarter.

The Pioneers went on to take their biggest lead of the game to that point, at 36-14 on a follow-up hoop by junior post Taylor Shaw with 1:28 left in the half.

But Wantland scored on a pair of drives in the final 1:15 to cut the lead to 38-18 at the intermission.

Tigard tried to get some momentum on its side in the third quarter. Carter scored five points in the period and Cincotta added four, but the Tigers still found themselves trailing 51-29 going into the fourth DAN BROOD - JUMPER -- Tigard sophomore Elise Conroy shoots over Oregon City defenders at the state tourney.

Oregon City went on to take a 60-36 advantage with 4:29 left to play.

But Tigard wasn’t about to quit. And, with nothing to lose, the Tigers went to a ferocious full-court press. And it paid off.

After Carter went 1 for 2 from the free throw line, Boschma came up with a steal and got the ball to Cincotta for a layup. Carter followed with a steal and layup and then, after another Oregon City turnover, Boschma connected on a three-pointer from the left corner off a pass from Carter to make the score 60-44 with 3:23 left in the contest.

“We had a bunch of energy in the fourth quarter,” Wantland said. “I think pressing gave us energy.”

“We had nothing to lose, so we just flew around,” Boschma said. “We weren’t going to give up.”

“We tried to do what we could,” Naylor said. “These girls don’t give up. The effort was there throughout.”

Oregon City was able to fight off the late Tigard rally, scoring the final seven points of the game to wrap up its 67-44 victory.

Carter was Tigard’s leading scorer in the victory with 16 points, scoring 12 of those points in the second half. She also had seven rebounds and three steals.

Cincotta had 11 points to go with four rebounds and three assists. Boschma had four points, six rebounds and two steals. The 5-foot-6 Wantland pulled down seven rebounds in 18 minutes of action, in addition to scoring four points.

by: DAN BROOD - FIGHTING FRESHMAN -- Tigard freshman Kylie Warren dives for the ball between a pair of Oregon City players in last week's state tournament game at the Moda Center.“I wanted to win so bad,” Wantland said. “It was all about heart.”

Tigard, as a team, made 16 of 41 shots from the field in the contest. The Tigers outrebounded Oregon City by a 33-22 margin, but they were hampered by 21 turnovers.

Gertz and Walker led Oregon City with 18 points apiece. Bradford added 15 points.

The Pioneers made 24 of 49 shots from the field.

Tigard saw its season come to an end with a 59-51 loss to St. Mary’s in a consolation semifinal contest played last Thursday at the Moda Center.

The Tigers trailed early on in that contest, but they took a 24-21 lead with 1:47 left in the second quarter following a pair of free throws by Cincotta and a layup by Boschma.

St. Mary’s came back to take a 27-25 lead on a layup by freshman Bendu Yeaney coming with 16 seconds left before halftime.

Tigard tied the game on a jumper by Conroy to start the second half, but the Blues answered with a three-pointer by junior Martina McCowan, and they would keep the lead the rest of the way.

Carter, who will play at Clemson University next year, paced the Tigers in that game with 18 points. She also had six rebounds and a pair of steals. Cincotta had 13 points, seven rebounds and three DAN BROOD - BATTLE INSIDE -- Tigard senior Jessie King (right) looks to go up to the basket against Oregon City's Toria Bradford.

Boschma had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. She also had five steals. Conroy had seven points and senior Jessie King scored three.

McCowan led the Blues with 19 points.

The loss gave the Pacific Conference champion Tigers a final overall record of 21-7.

And, despite the losses, the Tigard team still had reason to smile.

“It’s wonderful,” Boschma said of the state tournament experience. “I’m so thankful to be here with my team. It’s just an amazing experience.”

Last Thursday’s game marked the final high school contest for Tigard seniors Cincotta, Carter, Hannah Armstead, Jessie King, Melissa Keenan and Stephanie King.

Other players on Tigard’s state tournament roster include freshman Megan Priaulx, junior Sarah Clymore, junior Ashley Holzgang, freshman Kylie Warren and freshman Natalie Clark.

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