Wildcats stifled by Gladiators' defense after halftime
GLADSTONE Cindy Anderson wished she had it on film, but not because shed like it anywhere near a highlight reel.
The longtime Wilsonville girls basketball coach just wanted video evidence of her teams scoreless quarter to see exactly what went wrong.
Plenty went wrong.
Well within striking distance after one half of play, the Wildcats didnt muster a single point in the third period of an unsightly 53-31 loss to Gladstone on the road Dec. 19.
The setback sank Wilsonville below .500 for the first time this season, coming on the heels of the teams encouraging performance in the eight minutes after the break against Silverton two days earlier.
I said, Lets come out just like we did against Silverton, but maybe I shouldnt have asked for that, Anderson said. (The girls) didnt give up, and I dont know if they even knew they didnt score in the quarter until I told them. But were struggling in lots of aspects of the game.
The Wildcats (2-3) trailed by just seven points at halftime but were outscored 16-0 in the decisive third quarter, their offense stagnating against a physical and disciplined Gladstone defense.
Their execution was disrupted. Their passes were deflected, if not stolen. Their looks at the basket were limited. The ones they got went begging.
Even without a visual replay, Anderson had a pretty good idea of what plagued Wilsonville during the disastrous stretch.
They put a lot more pressure on us, and we stood around a lot and didnt move a ton, Anderson said. Were trying not to put in too much (complexity on offense) because we dont do anything really well yet, but we need to become better shooters. We missed quite a few layups early and stopped going to the basket. Weve got to learn to keep doing that and be aggressive.
Gladstones lockdown defense was complemented by pinpoint shooting from beyond the arc. The Gladiators drained four of their five three-pointers during the third quarter, the last one by senior guard Fiona Burrell giving her team a whopping 44-21 edge.
Wilsonville sophomore Cassie Rowan put an end to the drought early in the fourth quarter with a jumper from the right baseline, logging her teams first points since sophomore Karlin McNiels free throws late in the first half.
McNiel, who recently recovered from an ankle injury, scored nine of her team-high 10 points in the first half. Senior teammate ChiAnn Morris added seven. Rowan, junior Kendall Tate and sophomore Jocelyn Welberg each chipped in four.
What Gladstone coach Pat Scott saw during the third quarter was a determined team that is hankering for a deep run in the Class 4A playoffs.
We have really dedicated ourselves to improving defensively with four starters back, and in the third quarter they decided to take over, Scott said. They made it a goal to get to Gill Coliseum, and defense is whats going to have to get us there. ... The kids came out and communicated really well defensively, particularly in the third quarter, and really slammed the door shut.
Gladstone junior Molly Webster scored 11 of her game-high 16 points in the first half, while senior teammate Fiona Burrell made two threes in the third quarter as part of a 14-point effort.
The Gladiators never trailed, their lead ballooning to 50-23 on Nichole Petersens transition basket midway through the final period.
Teams with more size and experience like, say, Gladstone will likely cause problems for Wilsonville, which returned just two regular-rotation players from last years squad.
All but four of Andersons players are freshmen or sophomores, and she said many of them are still learning the nuances of the game.
Someone on the bench said, Can we go zone? Anderson said. The kids dont recognize a lot of things yet. We knew they were a good shooting team thats why we didnt go zone. Theyre a good team. They came out firing, and that can cause you to go Woe is me all of a sudden. Our effort was sill there, but were not real basketball savvy yet.
Gladstone coach Pat Scott said he holds Cindy Anderson in high esteem.
He acknowledged that Wilsonville is in a transition phase but said he warned his team to be prepared for strategic adjustments by the longtime Wildcats coach.
Since Wilsonville jumped to Class 5A in 2007, Anderson has led the girls basketball program to five state trophies.
Shes one of the premier coaches in the state of Oregon, Scott said.
Anderson is asking her players to defend in a full-court press on a regular basis this season.
Of course, the success of the strategy will depend in part on her teams physical stamina.
So far, so-so.
Were going to do it come heck or high water, she said. Were trying to wear teams down, but were not in great shape yet so Im not sure that its working the way I want it to.
Dec. 19 at Gladstone High School
Gladstone 53, Wilsonville 31
1 2 3 4 F
Wilsonville 10 11 0 10 31
Gladstone 15 13 16 9 53
WHS (31): Karlin McNiel 10, ChiAnn Morris 7, Cassie Rowan 4, Kendall Tate 4, Jocelyn Welberg 4, Kristen Burke 2.
GHS (53): Molly Webster 16, Fiona Burrell 14, Nichole Petersen 9, Jessica Coiteux 4, Melisa Campos 4, Jessica Petersen 2.