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Cougars finish 8-6 in Three Rivers League, host Jesuit Tuesday in first round of Class 6A playoffs

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Canby senior Nicole Mickelson scored 27 points Friday night against St. Mary's Academy.

Nicole Mickelson was not sure how she would play Friday in her return to the basketball court.

"I definitely did feel a little rusty warming up," said Mickelson, who missed the previous two games with a bone contusion and grade two sprain in her right foot. "Before this game I was a little scared that we weren't going to have the same flow and connection that we used to have as a team collectively."

Mickelson had nothing to worry about.

The Canby senior scored 27 points as the Cougars held off a late rally from St. Mary's Academy to close the regular season with a 61-60 Three Rivers League victory.

Mickelson made her mark from the opening tip, scoring 15 points in the first half, as Canby and St. Mary's Academy went into intermission tied 35-35.

"I wanted to get back and start off strong and prove that I'm OK and I can do this," Mickelson said. "It was definitely a collective game. I scored a lot of points, but it took other plays and players to get me the ball."

The Cougars outscored St. Mary's 17-8 in the third quarter to take a 52-43 lead into the final period.

After Zoe Thompson buried a 3-pointer to extend Canby's lead to 60-48, the Blues answered with a 10-0 run to get within 60-58 with 1:30 remaining.

Canby senior Naarai Gomez made one of two free throws with 28 seconds to go. St. Mary's scored with 9.8 seconds remaining, but the Cougars were able to hold on for a one point victory.

"It was just grit," said Canby senior Ally Odell, who scored nine points in her final regular season game. "A lot of us had played the whole game so we were tired, but we wanted it for the seniors, for everyone."

All five Canby seniors, Mickelson, Odell, Gomez, Arika Evans and Katie Mill, started for the Cougars.

Gomez finished with eight points. Thompson scored 12 points on four 3-pointers.

Canby finished the regular season 14-9 overall and 8-6 in the Three Rivers League.

The Cougars, who enter the Class 6A playoffs as the No. 13 seed, host No. 20 Jesuit Tuesday in the first round.

"Our league prepared us so well," Odell said. "We definitely have the hardest league in the state, and we had to show up to every game"

No. 3 West Linn, No. 5 Oregon City and No. 8 Tualatin are also hosting first round playoff games.

"I think we're definitely prepared," Odell said. "Every game we were tested. We couldn't take a day off, and I think that's going to help us going into the playoffs."

More photos at derekwiley.smugmug.com.


Derek Wiley
Reporter
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