The Oregon City Pioneers didn't exactly breeze through Tuesday's opening round of the OSAA 6A girls basketball playoffs.
They won, but the Newberg Tigers made them work for it.
Oregon City's Tyra Bradford finished with a game-high 16 points and the No. 5-ranked Pioneers knocked off the visiting Tigers 61-35, but don't be fooled by the final score.
This one was close until the first few minutes of the fourth quarter when Bradford knocked down a 3-pointer to spark a 12-0 run that turned a four-point cushion into a commanding 48-32 lead with 5:46 remaining.
Oregon City's Katie Kathan scored 10 points and Emmaly Welch added nine to help send the Pioneers (19-6) into Friday's second round and another home game against No. 12 Mountainside (17-9).
"In the fourth quarter, we definitely showed what we're capable of doing," Pioneers coach Tiffani Traver said. "Our defensive pressure was lacking in the third quarter, and part of it was we had a lot of fouls called on us and sometimes that takes away from our aggressiveness.
"Tyra hitting that 3-pointer to start the fourth quarter hleped everyone's confidence, and then the sheer motivation to sit down and work defensively helped us pull away."
Karly Fouche and Alli Stilp led Newberg with nine points each, and Ashley Kosmicki added eight points for the Tigers, who finished the season with a 12-13 record.
"It was a gutsy performance for three quarters and then we let Oregon City get loose there and turned the ball over a little too much," Tigers coach Luke Lindell said. "Once they got rolling, that was tough.
"I give a lot of credit to our kids for the effort, sticking to the game plan, the discipline that they showed, and the willingness to want to fight back. That was kind of us all year long."
Oregon City never trailed in the game, but the Pioneers struggled to shake loose of the Tigers after opening a 26-13 halftime led.
Newberg opened the second half on a 12-4 run, cutting the lead to 30-25 when Stlip, the sophomore forward, drove to the basket and scored with 4:43 to play in the third quarter.
After the Pioneers countered with a 5-0 burst to push the lead back to 10 points, 35-25, the Tigers answered with a 7-0 run that ended with Stlip rebounding her own miss and scoring to make it 35-32 with 32 seconds left in the third.
Kathan made one of two free throws for Oregon City to close out the third-quarter scoring and then Traver sounded the alarm on the Pioneers' bench during the break between periods.
"Basically, the message was, 'We have to play defense, we have to rebound, and we have to take care of the ball offensively,'" Traver said. "Those are things that we should be doing regardless of who we're playing, but for some reason, we got sloppy with all that.
"So, I made sure they knew that they needed to come out stronger in the fourth quarter if they wanted to win this basketball game."
Bradford set the tone with her 3-pointer from just beyond the top, left of the arc, and the Oregon City's defense forced four consecutive Newberg turnovers that all led to points at the other end.
"We just didn't do enough in the fourth quarter to keep it close," Lindell said. "When you go on the road in the playoffs, you have to play really well for 32 minutes and we didn't get that done. I thought we played well for about 16 to 18 minutes and it just wasn't enough.
"We showed a lot of perseverance, and from that standpoint, you really can't be too upset. Oregon City is a good basketball team and they can throw a lot at you really quickly. We let it get away a little too much and that was the story."
NEWBERG 6 7 19 3 — 35
OREGON CITY 10 16 10 25 — 61
Newberg (35) — Karly Fouche 9, Alli Stilp 9, Kosmicki 8, Bell 6, Hampton 3, Morace, Bromegem, Krebs.
Oregon City (61) — Tyra Bradford 16, Kathan 10, Welch 9, Martineau 8, Willard 7, Remsburg 5, Lugo 4, Guelsdorf 2, Hood, Leasure, Billings, Wootan, Buckley, Ashley.
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