Determined Jesuit girls power past Clackamas
BEAVERTON — Coming off a loss, and with the start of Metro League play right around the corner, the Jesuit High School girls basketball team not only wanted a win, but it wanted an impressive win.
And the Crusaders got it.
Jesuit, excelling on both ends of the court while pulling away in the second half, ran to a 48-31 victory over Clackamas in a non-league game played Wednesday at Jesuit High School.
"It was really important, especially after our loss against West Linn (a 60-51 setback at the PIL Holiday Classic, held Dec. 29 at Franklin High School)," Jesuit senior point guard Anna Fanelli said. "We didn't play very well, and we were pretty tired, so it was nice to get another game under our belts and start the year off right. We wanted to show everyone that we can hang at the top of the state with the best teams, and it was just good to get another win."
"I think this was a really important win for us, especially coming off of our loss to West Linn," said Jesuit senior Elsa Hookland, who scored 11 points in Wednesday's win. "We want to go into league with the best record we can, and all the momentum. This was a good push. League is just going to be harder, and we've been sharpening up all of our stuff, and this was a good example of that."
With the loss, Clackamas moved to 0-10 on the season. The Crusaders upped their record to 9-2 with the victory.
"I think we're ready for league," Hookland said. "We're excited. We have a big returning class, and I think we're ready to show that we can play at the highest level. It's important to show the rest of the state that we're contenders this year."
Jesuit started strong in Wednesday's contest. Juniors Kailynn Tuck and Taylor Freeman sank early 3-point baskets, and senior Bella Mori scored on a layup, off a pass from Fanelli, to give the Crusaders an 8-4 lead with 4 minutes and 7 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
But Clackamas, getting a 3-pointer by freshman Ava Peterson, ended the period on a 6-0 run to take a 10-8 lead into the second quarter.
Jesuit battled back. The Crusaders tied the score, at 16-16, when Tuck connected on a 3-pointer from the right side, off a pass from Fanelli, coming with 3:25 left before halftime. That ignited a 7-0 run, which included a free throw by Hookland and a last-second 3-pointer by senior Savannah Corradini, coming off another Fanelli assist, giving the home team a 20-16 advantage at the intermission.
But the Crusaders wanted to turn things up a notch in the second half.
"At halftime, we wanted about how we needed to tighten up our rebounding," Hookland said. "That took away their second shots and got our transition going faster."
Jesuit certainly crashed the boards hard in the third quarter, outrebounding Clackamas 10-1 in the period. Meanwhile, Mori and Freeman had back-to-back baskets to open the quarter, and Corradini sank a pair of 3-pointers later in the period, helping Jesuit open up a 36-23 lead going into the fourth quarter.
The Crusaders kept rolling in the final stanza. Hookland scored on a follow-up shot and then she sank a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, upping the Jesuit lead to 41-25 with 6:33 remaining to play.
Senior guard Rachel Hickey hit a 3-pointer of her own later in the period, and Freeman scored four straight points, as the Crusaders cruised to the 48-31 victory.
"We just talked about finding ways to score," Fanelli said. "We had to make our layins, and finish our shots. After halftime, we had a different mentality. We had a scoring mentality. We wanted to get each other the ball, and attack."
Jesuit outrebounded Clackamas 17-2 in the second half, while also helping force the Cavaliers into a 5-for-17 shooting performance from the field in the final two quarters.
In addition to Hookland's 11 points, Jesuit got nine points each from Freeman and Corradini. Tuck scored eight points. Fanelli scored two points to go with five rebounds and five assists.
"As a point guard, I know that I always have me teammates around to hit 3s, and we're a very good shooting team," Fanelli said. "It's nice to have teammates to step up and hit shots when we need them."
Jesuit, as a team, made 17 of 38 shots from the field, with nine 3-pointers, and five of nine free-throw attempts.
"This was really fun," Hookland said. "It's always fun to get a win at home."
Senior Olivia Morris led Clackamas with nine points. The Cavaliers made 11 of 38 shots from the field, with two 3-pointers, and seven of 10 free-throw attempts.
Jesuit will be back in action Friday, when it plays at Liberty in a non-league game starting at 6 p.m. The Crusaders will open their Metro League schedule on Tuesday, when they play at two-time defending Class 6A state champion Southridge at 7:15 p.m.
"We just need to have the right mentality," Fanelli said. "Our mindset is the biggest thing — going into games thinking we can beat the best teams. Knowing that we need to score, and that we need to play defense, and that we can win any game we play."