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In crucial fourth quarter, La Salle overtakes the Wildcats for only lead switch on Jan. 19

SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Wilsonville junior Teagan McNamee earned praise from her coach after the game for her hustle and adaptability. McNamee had just three points in Wilsonvilles 59-48 loss to La Salle on Friday, Jan. 19. Wilsonville—It was a game to determine the number one team in the league. Wilsonville came into the matchup riding a seven game winning streak, not having lost since a tournament defeat to 6A standout Canby. La Salle had a five game win streak of their own, and both teams were unbeaten in the Northwestern Oregon Conference.

The Wildcats came out and dominated in the first half.

"We were playing really well, we were attacking them, I thought we were more aggressive," Wilsonville head coach Justin Duke said of the first half. "I thought our defense was really, really good."

La Salle's head coach Kelli Wedin gave Wilsonville it's due respect for a first half well played as well.

"They shot lights out in the first half," Wedin said. "We always say that everybody is going to shoot the ball well against us, we always have a target on our back. Credit to them, I don't know what they were in the first half, but they were lights out from beyond the arc. They don't normally shoot it that well, and they did. They shot the ball really well, they executed really well, and we scouted their drive, and wanted to take away the paint, and they knocked down shots."

The home team wanted to continue their streak of dominance, and for 23 minutes and 30 seconds, it appeared they were on their way to doing just that. But La Salle had other things in mind. SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Wilsonville junior Cydney Gutridge led her team in scoring with 18 points against the La Salle Falcons. It was not enough though, as La Salle defeated the Wildcats 59-48.

As the third quarter was winding down, La Salle was trailing the home team 33-32 and searching for something to finally put the momentum in their favor. They found it courtesy of a La Salle senior Taycee Wedin three pointer. A free throw from senior Colby Jansen sealed the third quarter 36-33 in favor of the Falcons.

The fourth quarter was fairly even early on. Wilsonville kept things close on the scoreboard, courtesy of several players. Freshman Sydney Burns hit an easy basket inside the paint for two, and sophomore Kayla Hieb contributed two field goals of her own. The most significant bucket for Wilsonville inside the first four minutes of the final quarter came from junior Cydney Gutridge, who drained a three pointer to bring the Wildcats within one of the number five team in the state. Gutridge has 18 points in the game, and shot 40 percent on the night.

However, in the second part of that final quarter, La Salle turned it up. A nine point streak put them comfortably ahead of the home team, as baskets from Wedin, Jansen, and sophomore Kylie Burg all found their marks. Senior Lyndsay Riehl also went four for four from the free throw line.

Wilsonville would have the final basket of the game, a Sydney Burns three pointer, but by then it was too little too late. The Wildcats fell 48-59 at the end of regulation .SPOKESMAN PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - La Salles Emily Niebergall led her team in scoring with 18 points against the Wilsonville Wildcats. It was that contribution in the first half that kept La Salle in the game. The Falcons defeated the Wildcats 59-48 on Friday, Jan. 19.

After the game both teams coaches said that though there were positives to take away from the game, improvements and progress were still needed.

"We have to continue to get better," La Salle's Wedin said. "Wilsonville is a really good team, and we still have a couple tough games in league play coming up here this next week. We just have to get better every day. We're not at our peak, and I don't want us to be at our peak, but we got to continue to work really hard to get better defensively in practice, and I think we're going to do some really good things this year."

"I think some of those kids were playing such a good game that when they went ahead we had the tendency to get the lead back right away instead of taking it one play at a time," Wilsonville's Duke said. "We haven't had a lot of close games this year, and it's unfortunate we haven't. Now it's how do we go into practice and do some of those things and get better at those end of game situations."

Wilsonville (12-3 overall, 4-1 in NWOC play) will head to Parkrose on Tuesday, Jan. 23. La Salle (11-4 overall, 5-0 in NWOC play) takes sole possession of first place in the league, and will face St. Helens at home on Tuesday, Jan. 23.

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