Tigard girls stay unbeaten in league with 62-56 win

by: DAN BROOD - SWARMING -- Tigard seniors Lexi Carter (5) and Emilee Cincotta keep pressure on Tualatin senior Madi Hall in Wednesday's contest. Carter and Cincotta combined to score 37 points in the Tigers' 62-56 win.TIGARD — Typical.

Just typical.

Typical Tigard vs. Tualatin girls basketball, that is.

That usually means two teams battling from start to finish, both leaving everything they have on the court.

That certainly seemed to be the case in the rivals' latest meeting, as the Tigers, playing strong throughout, posted a hard-fought 62-56 win over the Timberwolves in a spirited Pacific Conference game played Wednesday at Tigard High School.

“It's crazy,” said Tigard senior guard Emilee Cincotta, who led all scorers in the contest with 19 points. “It's always a good game when we play them. They always play tough.”

“We wanted it bad,” said Tualatin senior post Savannah Heugly, who paced the Timberwolves with 14 points. “But Tigard is a good team, and they played really well tonight.”

With the setback, Tualatin moved to 6-4 in Pacific Conference play, leaving the Wolves in third place in the conference standings, and to 11-7 on the season.

With the victory, its 25th straight in league play, Tigard improved to 10-0 in conference games (15-5 overall), giving the Tigers a commanding three-game lead over second-place Glencoe in the Pacific Conference standings.

“This was an important game for us,” said 6-foot-3 Tigard sophomore post Elise Conroy, who seemed to be a dominating force on both ends of the court in Wednesday's game. “This will help us in the rankings, and we want to win the league title.”

“This was important not only because it was Tualatin, but also in our RPI rankings,” Cincotta said. “That's why we came out with a lot of energy.”

That sure seemed to be the case with Conroy, who had seven blocked shots and six rebounds to go with 14 points.

“I really wanted it,” Conroy said with a smile. “I always want to beat Tualatin. Today, I was ready.”

“Elise played a great game,” Tigard coach Steve Naylor said.

“She did a great job drawing fouls and on offense and blocking a lot of shots on defense,” Cincotta said.

While Conroy and the Tigers may have been fired up from the start on Wednesday's game, it appeared the same could be said for Tualatin.

The Wolves, getting a three-pointer by senior Lindsay Barrow and a jumper by senior post Jasmine Miller, jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the contest. Tualatin would go on to take an 8-7 lead after senior wing Madi Hall sank a three-pointer with 1 minute and 54 seconds left in the opening DAN BROOD - IN THE PAINT -- Tualatin sophomore Hannah Self (right) looks to go up to the basket against Tigard sophomore Elise Conroy in Wednesday's game.

But, Tigard, with junior Kaylie Boschma converting a three-point play and with Cincotta scoring on a drive to the bucket, came back to claim a 12-10 lead at the end of the first quarter.

The Tigers, and Conroy, continued to roll in the second quarter. The sophomore post scored eight points in the quarter and Cincotta added six points in the period, helping Tigard push its lead to 30-22 at halftime.

“I think we were really ready to play tonight,” Conroy said.

The red-hot Tigers then went on an 8-0 run to start the third quarter. Senior Jessica King and Conroy each sank jump shots to start the scoring spree. Boschma then went 2 for 2 from the free throw line and then scored on a drive to the basket to give Tigard its biggest lead of the game to that point, at 38-22, with 5:14 left in the period.

But the persistent Wolves came storming back.

Hall sank another three-points and Heugly scored six points in a span of 1:57 to help Tualatin trim the margin to 42-33 with 1:15 left in the third quarter.

Tigard got a basket by senior guard Lexi Carter and a pair of free throws by Cincotta to end the period, giving the home team a 46-33 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Wolves started the final stanza with a pair of free throws by Heugly and a basket by Barrow, trimming the margin to 46-37.

But, again, the Tigers were able to pull away. Carter, scoring six points in a span of 1:23, ignited an 11-2 Tigard run, giving the Tigers their biggest lead of the contest, at 57-39, with 4:32 left to play.

But the Timberwolves wouldn't say die.

Tualatin, getting three-pointers by Barrow and from sophomore Tamika Etherly, and, with Heugly continuing her second-half scoring spree, scored 17 points in the final 4:18 of the contest, cutting the final margin to 62-56.

“We didn't quit,” Heugly said. “We were more determined in the second half. But we need to put a whole game together.”

“It got a little scary,” Conroy said. “It's like this every time we play them. We have to put them away.”

“It was a hard-fought game on both sides,” Naylor said. “I thought we had good aggression on both offense and defense tonight. That really helped.”

Cincotta, in addition to scoring a game-high 19 points, had five rebounds and five steals for the Tigers. Carter scored 18 points, 13 coming in the second half. She also had four rebounds and two steals. Boschma added nine points and four rebounds.

Tigard, as a team, made 21 of 46 shots from the field and 18 of 31 free throw attempts.

Heugly, after sitting out a good part of the first half with foul troubles, had all 14 of her points, and all nine of her rebounds, in the second half of the contest. She also had three steals and two assists.

Miller added 11 points and six rebounds for the Wolves and Barrow scored 10 points.

Tualatin made 22 of 50 shots from the field and seven of 14 free throws.

Both teams return to action on Friday. Tigard will travel to Newberg for a 5:45 p.m. contest and Tualatin will be home to face McMinnville at 5:45 p.m.

For a more complete story, and more photos, see the Feb. 20 issue of the Tigard/Tualatin Times.

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