For a squad that won just nine games a year ago, the Tualatin High School girls basketball team set some pretty lofty goals prior to the 2019-20 season.
Well, the Timberwolves are now just one step away from achieving the loftiest of those goals. But that one last step is certainly a tough one.
Tualatin, aiming to make its first Class 6A state tournament appearance since 2009, can will accomplish that goal if it can defeat Southridge in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game, set to be played Friday, starting at 7 p.m., at Tualatin High School.
"The Chiles Center (site of the Class 6A state tournament) is so big. That's our goal now," Tualatin junior guard Teagan Gaviola said following the Wolves' 50-40 double-overtime win over Clackamas in a state-playoff first-round game played March 3 at Tualatin High School. "Obviously, we're going into the Southridge game with as much energy as we had going into this game."
"We're looking forward to it," Tualatin junior wing Sidney Dering said of the second-round contest. "They're obviously a great team, great competition, and we're ready for it."
Southridge, the No. 2 team out of the Metro League, and the No. 9 team in the final OSAA power rankings, is 18-6 on the season. The Skyhawks have played in the past three Class 6A state championship games, winning the title in 2017 and 2018.
"That's obviously a tough match-up," Tualatin coach Wes Pappas said of the second-round game with Southridge. "We're thrilled to have the opportunity to play them, and we love it that it's at our place. We're going to do everything we can to try and get to the Chiles Center."
High-scoring senior guard McKelle Meek helps lead the way for the Skyhawks. Meek, who was named the Metro League's Player of the Year, scored 22 points in the team's 65-47 first-round state playoff win over Lakeridge.
Southridge junior guard Maya Hoff joined Meek on the All-Metro League first team. She scored 12 points in the postseason win over Lakeridge. Skyhawk junior wing Kyla Vinson was a second-team All-Metro League pick, and junior wing Kilyn Dawkins was a third-team all-league selection.
Tualatin, the No. 3 team out of the Three Rivers League, and the No. 8 team in the power rankings, is 19-6 on the season.
For the Wolves, junior post Natalie Lathrop was a first-team All-Three Rivers League selection. Dering was a second-team all-league selection, and junior guard Kasidy Javernick was an honorable mention pick.
The winner of Friday's game at Tualatin will advance to play in the Class 6A state tournament, and will face either top-seeded Beaverton, or St. Mary's Academy, in a tournament quarterfinal game to be played Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. at the University of Portland's Chiles Center.
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