The Mustangs bite the bullet in games with Canby, Tigard and Sunset

by: JON HOUSE - Milwaukie sophomore Julia Rivers is stripped of the ball by junior guard Kaylie Boschma in last weeks 56-22 loss to Tigard. The Mustangs hope to rebound this Friday, when they host cross-town rival Putnam in a Northwest Oregon Conference league game.A super tough schedule continued to cause Milwaukie’s boys and girls basketball teams headaches last week.

The Mustang guys slipped to 1-8 in preseason with losses to Canby (83-64) and Sunset (78-47), while the Mustang (6-3) girls got blown out by Canby (61-22) and by Tigard (56-22).

Canby and Tigard have both had their boys and girls teams ranked in the top 10 in the state this season, either in the OSAA RPI rankings or in the Class 6A coaches poll.

Milwaukie girls got out-hustled by the Class 6A Tigard Tigers on Jan. 7.

The Tigers started the game like a house afire, forcing eight first-quarter turnovers. They were a hot-handed 10-for-14 (71 percent) from the field in the first period, with two 3-pointers among their 10 makes.

Meanwhile the Mustangs struggled to find the basket all night, making only 23 percent (8-of-34) of their shots from the floor.

The game was over at the end of the first period, with Tigard leading 23-1.

Merrily Jones’ inside bucket off a pass from Chloe Hester with 3:50 left in the first half was the Mustangs’ first field goal of the game. Tigard was up 29-1 at the time.

The Tigers were led by 5-8 senior point guard Lexi Carter (17 points) and 5-8 senior guard Emilee Cincotta (13 points).

Jones (14 points) was the only player to score more than five points for Milwaukie.

“We didn’t come out hard,” said Milwaukie team co-captain Julia Rivers. “They’re quicker than us and they were getting their hands in the passing lanes. We were a little intimidated.”

“We underestimated them,” said Jones. “We went through their roster and saw their lack of height and we underestimated them. We thought they were going to be easy.”

Except for Elise Conroy, a 6-3 sophomore, the tallest player in the Tiger starting lineup stood 5-8.

Milwaukie starters included 6-2 sophomore Merrily Jones, 6-0 sophomore Julia Rivers, 5-10 senior Shelby Enevoldsen, 5-8 senior Karissa Delaunay and 5-6 junior Chloe Hester.

With the win, Tigard improved its record to 5-5 on the 2013-14 season.

Milwaukie slipped to 3-5 with the loss. The game followed on the heels of a tournament at Gresham in which the Mustangs had gone 3-0, defeating strong teams from Barlow, Reynolds and Crater.

“We’ve shown a lot of growth this year,” said Rivers. “We showed at Gresham that we could put it together and win.”

“I still believe 100 percent that we can be league champions again,” said Jones. “Back-to-back-to-back.”

Cold shooting and turnovers continued to plague Milwaukie’s girls team last Friday. After hustling to a 15-5 lead in the first quarter, the Mustangs only scored seven points the rest of the game. They went scoreless in the second and third periods.

Jones (14 points) was the only Mustang who could find the basket.

Milwaukie coeds were to begin Northwest Oregon Conference play on Tuesday (Jan. 14) at Wilsonville (3-6). They entertain cross-town rival Putnam (2-6) this Friday.

NWOC girls teams have struggled in preseason. Heading into this week’s league openers, Sandy (5-4) and Sherwood (5-4) were the only league girls teams with winning records.

Tyler Spencer (18 points), Matthew Chilberg (11 points) and Wesley Johnson (11 points) all scored in double figures for Milwaukie boys in last week’s game at Canby.

Spencer (11 points) was the only Mustang in double figures in Friday’s game with Sunset. Milwaukie sophomore guard Aaron Wenger (9 points) had a hot hand from long range, hitting three 3-pointers.

The Apollos were led by 6-8 senior Tyler Gutierrez (26 points); the Cougars were led by 6-3 junior guard Jace Cates (26 points).

Milwaukie guys will attempt to regroup this Friday, when they play cross-town rival Putnam (1-8) at Putnam.

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