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Determined Tigers grab tourney bid

Tigard, which bested Jesuit 57-32, will face Oregon City on Wednesday


by: DAN BROOD - TOURNEY VETERANS -- Tigard seniors Lexi Carter (left) and Emilee Cincotta will each be playing at the Class 6A state tournament for the third time.TIGARD — Determination.

The Tigard High School girls basketball team sure seemed to have plenty of it.

The Tigers weren't about to let anything stand in their way — not even a talented, athletic Jesuit squad.

Tigard, relying on its usual stifling defense, and turning things up a notch on offense, ran to a 57-32 win over the Crusaders in a Class 6A state playoff second round game played Friday at Tigard High School.

With the win, Tigard advances to the Class 6A state tournament for the second straight year and for the third time in four years.

by: DAN BROOD - CLEANING THE GLASS -- Tigard sophomore post Elise Conroy pulls down a rebound in front of Jesuit's Lauren Click.“We're going,” Tigard senior guard Lexi Carter said with a big smile on her face during the team's victory celebration. “We were confident. We knew we could do it.”

“This means so much to us,” Tigard senior guard Emilee Cincotta said. “We worked all season for this.”

“We were really detmermined,” said Tigard junior Kaylie Boschma. “I wanted to do whatever I could to help get my team there. We worked so hard for this. Now, this feels amazing.”

We have so many goals,” Tigard junior Faithe Wantland said. “This was one of the main goals — another one to check off. This is huge for us.”

Jesuit, the No. 3 team out of the Metro League, finished its season with a final overall record of 16-9.

“Jesuit played hard, and that's going to be an amazing team,” Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. “They like to push the ball on offense. We knew if we didn't sprint back on defense, we would lose. Our girls did a good job of that, and they really battled on the boards.”

Tigard, the Pacific Conference champion, improved to 21-5 on the season with the win, its 17th straight.

The Tigers will next face Oregon City in a Class 6A state tournament quarterfinal game, set to start at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Moda Center.

Tigard is taking some high hopes into the tourney.

“This is always a team goal,” Carter said of reaching the state tournament. “Now, we want to achieve the next goal — that's getting a ring. I definitely think we can do it.”

by: DAN BROOD - ON THE MOVE -- Tigard junior Kaylie Boschma (right) brings the ball up court against Jesuit sophomore Kate Andersen.“It's anyone's game this year,” Cincotta said.

“This is our third time,” Carter said. “The third time is the charm.”

Oregon City, the Three Rivers League champion, brings a 19-6 overall record into Wednesday's state tournament game. The Pioneers bested Crater 66-27 on Friday to earn their tourney bid.

The Tigers have already faced Oregon City this season, with the Pioneers getting a 68-47 victory in a non-league game played Dec. 13 at Tigard High School. But Tigard played that game without 6-foot-3 sophomore post Elise Conroy, who was out of action due to an ankle injury.

by: DAN BROOD - HEADS-UP PLAY -- Tigard senior Emilee Cincotta calls time out after making a diving steal in the state playoff win over Jesuit.Conroy showed how much difference she can make in the win over Jesuit, as she had 14 points, five rebounds and a pair of blocked shots, in addition to causing havoc on the Crusader offense all night long.

“I just really wanted to win,” Conroy said. “When I get aggressive, I'm at my best, both on offense and defense.”

The whole Tigard team seemed to be aggressive throughout Friday's playoff game.

In the contest, Jesuit took a quick 3-0 lead when senior Emily Allen sank a three-pointer from the left corner just 19 seconds into the game.

That would turn out to be one of the few open looks the Crusaders would get all night against Tigard's swarming zone defense.

“They're a great team, so we tried to focus on defense and rebounding,” Cincotta said. by: DAN BROOD - TWISTING FOR TWO -- Tigard senior guard Lexi Carter goes up to the basket to score two of her game-high 20 points.

“We tried to come out and play with a lot of energy,” Carter said.

With Jesuit holding a 5-4 lead, Tigard went on the first of its many scoring runs on the night. Carter ignited an 8-0 run with a driving reverse layup. She followed that up with a pair of free throws after coming up with a steal. Conroy then scored four straight points to give Tigard a 12-5 lead with 30 seconds left in the first quarter.

The Tigers continued rolling in the second quarter. Carter scored six more points in the while Boschma added four points, three rebounds, a steal and an assist in the period to help Tigard up its lead to 25-18 at halftime.

Tigard then took total charge in the third quarter. Cincotta, who was held scoreless in the first half, scored six points in the first 5:33 of the period, helping the Tigers push the margin to 35-21.

“I had to keep going,” Cincotta said. “I knew I couldn't slow down. I had to help the team.”

Tigard, which took a 39-23 lead into the fourth quarter, made sure there would be no Jesuit comeback in the final stanza.

The Tigers opened the period with an 8-2 run, which gave the home team a 47-25 lead with 5:52 left to play in the game.

“I looked up at the scoreboard, and we were ahead by more than 20,” Conroy said. “That's what we had to do to win. We need to know when to drop the hammer. We had to put them away, and we did.”

From there, Tigard, getting baskets by Carter, Conroy, freshman Kylie Warren and senior Hannah Armstead in the fourth quarter, cruised to the 57-32 win — which was followed by a wild victory celebration.

“I had such a good time at the tournament last year,” Conroy said. “It means a lot to be going back. This is the ultimate goal. We hope to do well.”

by: DAN BROOD - CELEBRATION TIME -- The Tigers begin their celebration after the final horn sounds in Friday's state playoff game.“It was all heart,” said Wantland, who turned in a strong defensive effort in the playoff win. “We talk about that a lot.”

“The team really wanted this,” Boschma said.

Carter led all scorers in the victory with 20 points. She also came up with five steals. Cincotta added 12 points, all coming in the second half, to go with eight steals, four assists and three rebounds.

Boschma, seemingly getting to every loose ball and up-for-grabs rebound, had five points, seven rebounds and three steals before injuring her left ankle with 1:33 left to play in the game.

“I hope I recover fast,” she said.

Senior Jessie King, Warren and Armstead added two points apiece for the Tigers.

Tigard, as a team, made 18 of 41 shots from the field and 21 of 29 free-throw attempts. Tigard also had just nine turnovers in the contest while helping force Jesuit into 22 turnovers.

Sophomore Kate Andersen led Jesuit with six points. Allen and sophomore Kory Oleson added five apiece for the Crusaders.

by: DAN BROOD - TOURNAMENT TEAM -- The Tigard High School girls basketball team is moving on to the Class 6A state tournament. Pictured are, from left, Megan Priaulx, Hannah Armstead, Elise Conroy (top), Melissa Keenan, Jessie King, Ashley Holzgang, Kylie Warren (sitting), Natalie Clark, Stephanie King, Faithe Wantland, Lexi Carter, Emilee Cincotta and Kaylie Boschma.General Admission ticket prices for the state tournament are $12 for adults and $7 for students per session.

The Class 6A state tournament championship game is scheduled for March 15, starting at 6:30 p.m. at the Moda Center.

For a more complete game story, see the March 13 issue of The Times. And, for coverage of Tigard's play at the Class 6A state tournament, see the Times' Web site, at, www.tigardtimes.com, and the March 20 issue of the paper.




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