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Westview, Beaverton girls lead early in Metro race


by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton sophomore point guard Alyssa Christiansen and the Beavers are just a game back of Westview in the Metro League standings.

Sunset is equipped with talented youth, athleticism and potentially great guard play.

Aloha has the shooters and seasoning needed to be an upstart, upset-striving squad.

Southridge can beat teams inside or out and will mix up its playing styles to keep league opponents off-kilter and out of sorts.

Jesuit’s gone to an uptempo, four-out, one-in system that so far has taken advantage of the team’s strong points and fallen in line with Metro League’s elite chosen method of basketball.

Beaverton’s well-balanced, well-coached and well-stocked with guards, wings and posts who are state tournament-tested and out to prove last year’s tourney appearance wasn’t a one-player escapade.

What these five Metro League girls’ basketball teams don’t have, however, is the state’s best player.

Westview does — in Jaime Nared.

A hybrid forward/guard who’s good enough to average 30 points a game, yet gets her teammates involved in the action, Nared is one of the most impressive talents not just in the state, but the country.

She can play all five positions on the floor and dominate at each. The University of Tennessee signee is an elite defender capable of shutting down an opponent’s offense with her long arms, aggressive nature and swift feet.

On the surface, it appears Westview could merely ride Nared’s stat-stuffing talents to a Metro League title.

However, the Wildcats know their league championship hopes, and state-title aspirations, don’t fall in Nared’s hands alone.

“We can’t rely on just Jaime,” said junior wing Alia Mahuna. “We need to all contribute. We have to make it easier for her, so the pressure’s not always on her.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Southridge senior Andie Giles is one the upperclassmen guiding a young Skyhawk squad.

‘Respect all, fear none

Mahuna is one of a number of underrated Wildcats who don’t get the same publicity as their prodigally talented teammate, but are just as instrumental to team success.

Sophomore guards Ashley Scoggin and Bria Thames; seniors Olivia Williams, Brittany Carlson and Dana Bentz as well as Meghan Carter make up a supporting cast that’s surly defensively and fills a number of roles on offense.

“Defense creates offense, and defense wins championships,” said senior guard Olivia Williams. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Our motto this year is respect all, fear none. When we get out there, that’s what we think about. So when we play teams, we respect them, but we make sure we show them who we are.”

Westview’s started off Metro play undefeated at 4-0, after beating Beaverton in a hotly contested 53-50 win. The Wildcats have won eight straight games on the wings of their transition game and sound fullcourt press.

“We tried to focus on keeping them in front of us and rotating,” added Mahuna. “We tried to work as a team and trap as much as we can. We try make sure they don’t get the ball over halfcourt. We worked together well. We think defense wins games. We try to come out, play hard defense, and then our offense comes with it.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Sunset freshman point guard Maddie Muhlheim and the Apollos are young, but talented and capable of upsetting the Metros big dogs.

Firepower off the bench

Beaverton has verified it can fight tooth-and-nail with Westview and won’t meekly roll out of the way for the Wildcats to claim the Metro hardware. The Beavers have all-league-caliber skill in senior guard Danielle Hartzog, who might be the best combo guard in Metro, one capable of carrying the Beavers for long stretches; junior marksman Gigi Stoll; and skilled post Dagny McConnell. Sophomores Alyssa Christiansen, Sydney Boechler and juniors Ali Mueller and Brittany Cachon can knock down outside shots and handle the ball as well.

Senior post Shaunta Jackson is good enough to start for most Metro schools, but supplies the Beavers’ firepower off the bench.

“We want to be a strong team from every angle,” said McConnell. “We’re definitely working more with our posts. Everyone’s definitely been working on their game. We’re trying to round out our team and make it the best that we can.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit sophomore point guard Kate Andersen and the Crusaders tested Beaverton but lost by three last week in Metro League play.

Force down low

Jesuit’s sophomores have taken the bull by the horns and guided an on-the-go Crusader team that’s pushing the ball at every instance, even after made baskets. Kate Andersen, Kory Oleson, Ellie Sears and Hadley Wilhoite all can get out and run with Andersen heading the fast break from the point guard spot.

“The continuous attack and faster-paced game works well for us,” said junior Connie Parker. “Our team is all smaller and faster, so it fits us.”

Alzena Henry is a force down low offensively, and defensively, Keara Vu and Parker are juniors with strong abilities. Jesuit is also solidly equipped with senior leadership in Alexis Mendelsohn, Lauren Glick, AnneMarie Minniti and Emily Allen.

“We’re definitely title contenders for Metro,” said Mendelsohn. “They’re a few good teams that will be competitive with us. But, at the same time, if we play the way we played in that first half, and we improve on third-quarter faults, we can come out and win Metro.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Aloha senior Demetria Andrews and the Warriors are currently in fifth place in the Metro League.

Lock down

Southridge is 2-2 in Metro and coming off a 42-30 win against Beaverton. The Skyhawks’ capacity for changing up their offensive and defensive schemes can certainly keep Southridge in the thick of the Metro’s top-three spots. Junior Margaret Brock is an ambidextrous offensive post who can be relied on for scoring and rebounding.

The Skyhawks can surround both their pivots with accurate shooters like Beth George, Dayna Carlson and Andie Giles, who provide proper floor spacing and outlets for Brock and Weaver to find when the inevitable double team comes. Or, Southridge can go small and deploy its quick, defensive-minded backcourt of Makenna Bell and Kaley Fieldhouse, two of the Metro League’s best guards, and lock down the perimeter.

Keep pushing

Aloha beat Sunset, 44-40, in the Warriors’ Metro League opener but lost to Beaverton, Jesuit and Southridge in the last three contests. With Westview and a rematch coming with the Beavers, climbing up the Metro standings could be treacherous. Yet, the Warriors think they can will themselves to wins with their three-point shooting and pressure defense.

“I think we’ve come a long way since the first day of practice and tryouts,” said sophomore Mackenzie Sibert. “We’re improving each day in practice, and we’re coming together as a team more. The energy level that we play needs to be consistently higher because the Metro League is going to be tough. But, I think we can compete a lot more this year than we did last year.”

“This is our fourth year playing together and we’re almost there,” added senior Demetria Andrews. “We’ll get better before league with one more game left, if we just keep pushing and working like we’ve been doing and work as a team.”

Point potential

With only two seniors on the team, Sunset’s using this season as a year to gain experience and put money away in the bank for the future. The Apollos have quite a few building blocks in freshmen Rose Pflug, Maddie Muhlheim, Amanda Carpenter and Emily DeMots. Pflug and Muhlheim have already flaunted their stellar scoring ability and nearly capsized Southridge with double-digit outings versus the Skyhawks.

Laurie Salness, Genna Mettler and Cassidy Kroon can interchange with the freshmen duo in the backcourt and bring the matching quickness and point potential. Mettler and Megan DeMots are the only two seniors on the squad.

“We always go into these games expecting to win,” said Megan Demots. “That’s part of being more mature. We have a young team, and that comes with experience. It’s definitely a mental toughness kind of thing.”