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Girls basketball: Wilsonville 'a little too late' with playoff push (winter sports review)

ChiAnn Morris, Jocelyn Welberg earn all-NWOC recognition


by: JEFF GOODMAN / FILE - Wilsonville senior ChiAnn Morris (right), shown during a nonconference game at Gladstone, earned second-team all-league honors this season. Sophomore teammate Jocelyn Welberg made the third team.For the second season in a row, the Wilsonville girls basketball team finished its season in arguably the most frustrating position: one spot out of the playoffs.

The Wildcats ended up at No. 25 in the Class 5A rankings in a system that provides postseason opportunities for the top 24 teams, leaving them to reflect on a few close games in which victories eluded them.

“We needed to win an extra game or two, and we were so inexperienced early,” coach Cindy Anderson said. “If only we had played some of those (early) games later in the year. We got better, but we started from ground zero.”

Wilsonville went 9-14 overall and 6-8 in the Northwest Oregon Conference, tying Liberty for fifth place in the league standings behind Putnam, Sherwood, Milwaukie and Sandy.

Two players — senior ChiAnn Morris and sophomore Jocelyn Welberg — represented the Wildcats on the list of all-conference honors.

Morris made the NWOC second team after averaging 8.8 points and a team-high 5.2 rebounds per game while logging 63 steals.

She gave the team a reliable interior force despite regularly giving up several inches to opposing forwards and cracked the school’s top-20 list for single-game rebounds with one 13-board performance.

“She was the last line of defense, and she was our strength inside,” Anderson said. “She was a calming force because she was pretty mellow.

Morris played in Wilsonville’s youth system but started her high school career at Canby before transferring to WHS as a junior.

“She was a great teammate,” Anderson said. “It was a joy to have her back.”

Welberg earned third-team all-league recognition for her role as the Wildcats’ point guard. She averaged a team-high 27 minutes per game and led Wilsonville in assists, stepping into the role following the departure of West Linn transfer Caitlin Malvar.

“Towards the end, teams really started paying attention and denying her the ball,” Anderson said. “It’s hard to play point guard for me because I was a point guard and we’ve had great points guards here. They run the show.

Among the highlights of Welberg’s season was three-game stretch of the conference slate during which she had just one turnover.

“That was huge because she handles the ball up the floor 95 percent of the time,” Anderson said.

Welberg was one of several underclassmen who made significant contributions this season. Karlin McNiel, Alex Monello and Kristen Burke, among others, also showed signs of potential.

Wilsonville junior Kendall Tate provided one of the most memorable moments of the season with a steal and game-winning layup in the team’s home win over Liberty.

The Wildcats, who will lose Morris and Annika Oetken to graduation, went 4-3 in their final seven conference games after starting out at 2-5.

“It’s joyful to watch teams get better,” Anderson said. “It was just a little too late. I feel bad for the kids because (the postseason) a great experience. But we’ll get back there. This year of experience will be great.”

***

AT A GLANCE

WILSONVILLE GIRLS BASKETBALL 2014

Record: 9-14 (6-8 in the Northwest Oregon Conference)

Key facts: Finished at No. 25 in the Class 5A rankings, narrowly missing the playoffs for the second year in a row; went 4-3 in its final seven league games after starting NWOC play at 2-5

All-league second team: ChiAnn Morris

All-league third team: Jocelyn Welberg


By Jeff Goodman
Sports editor
Phone: 503-266-6831
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