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Beaver girls bounce Wildcats in the clutch

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior guard Danielle Hartzog puts up a lefty lay-up in the first quarter against Westview.

Back and forth they went in the fourth quarter, Westview superstar Jaime Nared and the Beaverton girls’ basketball team.

Nared scored to give herself 30 points on the night. Beaverton answered with an Alyssa Christiansen floater. Then again with a leaner from Danielle Hartzog. And, again with two free throws off the hands of Allison Mueller.

Eventually, Nared missed, one of the rare times she didn’t deliver on an unforgettable Friday night between two Metro League archrivals. Moments later, Mueller made one of two free throws to give the Beavers a 59-55 lead with 41.9 seconds to go. Then, the Beavers’ terrific, cocooning team defense rushed Nared into a pair of missed threes. And, Beaverton was able to come through clutch at the line twice, to give itself a mammoth, 61-57, win.

“We just really wanted this one,” said Christiansen. “You could see it in all of us. We were determined to win this game and do whatever it took to get a win. It showed we can deal with pressure mentally, and we can make huge plays at the end to win.”

With the victory, Beaverton (5-1 in Metro) pulled even with Westview (5-1) for first in Metro with four games to go. Time will tell if the trying triumph was season-defining for the Beavers. But, brushing off a sulky start, against the No. 3 team in the land, on the road was the kind of stuff, league and even state champions are made off. The lead alternated between Beaverton and Westview eight times in the second half, with both squads trading straight crosses and counterpunches to the face for 16 minutes. When the dust settled, and the rollicking momentum swings subsided, the Beavers were the team left standing.

“We had to stay focused on winning,” said Hartzog. “We knew we could. We just had to play really, really hard, and I think we did a great job of playing our hardest every second of the game. We had the heart to win the game.”

“We weren’t afraid at all,” added Beaverton senior post Shaunta Jackson. “We knew what we had to do, and we did it. We slacked off a little bit, but then we came back and we’re like ‘We need to win this. We can win this. We can beat them.’ We just had confidence overall.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westviews Jaime Nared and Dana Bentz battle with Beavertons Dagny McConnell for a defensive board in the first quarter of the Beavers win on Friday.

The first half was a game of tectonic runs, as Beaverton opened the game with an 8-2 lead, only to see Nared bury two NBA-range threes to tie it and trigger an 11-0 Westview run. Wildcat sophomore Bria Thames was big, making a free throw and setting up an Ali Mahuna three by grabbing an offensive board. Mahuna tacked on a lay-up, and Thames’ three-point play gave Westview a 21-12 lead at the end of the first quarter. Nared scored 10 in the first and 21 in the first half.

“You get a rush when the game’s going back and forth so much,” said Mahuna, who scored 15 points. “You get caught up in the game. You don’t really stop and think about what you need to do, but run back down the court.”

Beaverton scratched back in the second quarter with two quick transition triples from Gigi Stoll, and an aggressive, driving mindset that went right into the teeth of the Wildcat defense and put Westview in the bonus early. With Hartzog focusing her efforts on guarding Nared defensively, Mueller stepped up huge, scoring 10 points in the second quarter, six of which were at the free throw line.

With the game seemingly getting away from them, the Beavers got to the line 12 times, making 10, to cut a nine-point deficit to just two, 34-32, at halftime. By making a living at the charity stripe, Beaverton was able to cut singe the shortage without taking much time off the clock, which is invaluable when trying to make a big retaliation on the road.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview point guard Ashley Scoggin gets into the lane for a left-handed scoop shot against Beaverton.

“We were trying to draw fouls and finish shots and that’s what we did,” said Hartzog. “Alyssa, Gigi, did a good job of that. That was pretty much the gameplan, to go to the basket. We knew we could take them if we wanted.”

As gigantic as Mueller’s 14 points were toward the conquest, Christiansen played possibly the best floor game of her young career, especially in the second half.

After Beaverton’s Sydney Boechler and Mahuna seesawed threes in the third quarter, Christiansen reclaimed the lead by driving hard to the hoop, finishing her lay-up while drawing the foul. Christiansen made the free throw to give the Beavers a 44-42 advantage.

But, the sophomore guard wasn’t done. Playing coy on the ensuing inbounds pass, Christiansen baited Westview into throwing a bomb toward the half court line and picked off the pass like a free safety on the gridiron. Then, Christiansen outraced Nared to the net, banked home the bucket with her right hand while drawing the foul on the McDonald’s All-American to go up 46-42.

Nared scored five straight at the end of the third to give Westview a 47-46 lead, yet it was the two-way efforts of Christiansen, scoring 16 points with five pilfers on the night that stole the show.

“I really wanted to get after it,” said Christiansen. “I wanted to play as hard as I could defensively and offensively. I knew I had to attack the basket to get open looks and get the ball to our wings and shooters.”

Christiansen and Nared continued to swap playmaking punches in the fourth. Christiansen picked Mahuna’s pocket, spun into the open floor and finished a floater off the glass with her left hand. Nared came back with a steal and dish to a streaking Mahuna for two to grab a 51-50 lead with five minutes to go.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton junior shooting guard Allison Mueller tries to strip the ball away from Westviews Dana Bentz in the third quarter of the Beavers win on Friday.

Christiansen’s final steal of the game led to a Jackson jump hook in the key after a Hartzog pass to the post. The point guard’s teardrop in the paint—after sneaking past the Wildcat defense, getting Dana Bentz to bite on a ballfake and tossing the rock in the hoop—gave Beaverton a 54-51 advantage.

Nared scored four consecutive points to get Westview within 56-55 with 1:45 left in the final stanza. Yet, the University of Tennessee commit missed five shots in the next 90 seconds because of the Beavers’ swarming diamond-and-one defense that stationed defenders at Nared’s each and every turn and made it nearly impossible to get a good look. With the athletic combo of Hartzog and Mueller sticking to Nared like glue, Westview only scored two points in the last minute-and-a-half.

Meanwhile, Mueller went 4-6 at the line and Stoll sank a key free throw go give Beaverton a 60-55 bump with 22 seconds left.

“Overall it was our defense and teamwork,” said Jackson. “We were able to stop the ball and go after it. We attacked every time.”

“It came down to defense and stopping them from getting in the paint,” added Christiansen. “Making free throws at the end was huge too and just keep attacking the basket hard.”

Winners of nine straight coming into the contest and riding a new wave of confidence, Westview was humbled a bit against its crosstown rival. Giving up a big lead and letting Beaverton stick around wasn’t like the ill-natured Wildcats who usually step on their opponents and never relent. However, the defeat wasn’t a state tournament game. There are more contests to go and a Metro League title to chase.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview junior wing Ali Mahuna steps away from Beavertons Sydney Boechler for a jumper in the second quarter of the Wildcats loss on Friday.

“After winning so many games in a row, we needed this to remind us why we’re here and what we need to do,” said Mahuna. “Next time, we’ll come out stronger. We need to be intense with everything we do, and know our purpose when we go out on the court. We need to come back ready and learn from this mistake. We know what teams and games are ahead of us. We can’t take anything for granted.”




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