Three players reach double figures as Wildcats erase early deficit

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - Alex Monello, shown during a home game against St. Helens, scored 10 points to help the Wilsonville girls basketball team defeat Sandy on the road Feb. 11.Eight minutes into its game against Sandy, the Wilsonville girls basketball team was facing a nine-point deficit and in danger of being swept in the season series.

But the Wildcats slowly crawled back into it.

With an encouraging shooting performance and a sense of urgency on defense, they dug in and clipped the Pioneers 46-44 to capture their first road victory of the regular season.

“We needed to win a close one,” coach Cindy Anderson said.

That sense of need likely had something to do with how Wilsonville had fared in Northwest Oregon Conference play up to that point.

It lost three competitive games in a row to Milwaukie, Sandy and Liberty, each one coming by 12 points or fewer. Then, after defeating St. Helens and holding Parkrose to 14 points in a blowout victory, it fell to Sherwood by eight despite leading at halftime and converted just 23-perent of its shot attempts in a lopsided loss at Milwaukie.

“That kills you — that’s not going to work,” Anderson said. “But we’ve been in just about every league game.”

With her team’s game schedule affected by the recent snowstorm, Anderson held an optional practice session for her players that focused on one thing: putting the ball in the basket.

“All we did for an hour and a half was shoot,” she said.

It seemed to pay dividends against the Pioneers. The Wildcats made 21 of their 42 shots, topping the 45-point mark for just the fifth time all season.

Freshman guard Kristen Burke finished with a team-high 12 points, while senior ChiAnn Morris and sophomore Alex Monello each added 10.

Their performances distanced Anderson’s team from a 45-35 loss to Sandy at home Jan. 17 in which it was blanked 16-0 in the second quarter.

Wilsonville’s improved efficiency on offense was complemented by its defensive intensity.

Led by sophomore guard Jocelyn Welberg, the Wildcats stymied the Pioneers with a variety of pressing and trapping schemes. They recorded 13 steals and 10 deflections.

Anderson’s team erased a 27-20 halftime deficit by outscoring Sandy 13-6 in the third quarter.

“We got some great defensive stops, we played hard and we rebounded well,” she said. “We battled.”

Wilsonville also put the clamps on Pioneers junior Raquel Pellecer, who scored 26 points in the teams’ first meeting. This time around, Pellecer didn’t score from the field in the second half and finished with nine points.

“It was a great team effort,” Anderson said.

Whether the Wildcats are able to snag a postseason berth remains to be seen. Last year, they went 5-2 in their final seven conference games after a difficult 2-5 start but still missed out on the playoffs for the first time since 2004.

For Wilsonville, the second half of this year’s NWOC slate includes two games against league-leading Putnam and an anticipated matchup against Sherwood in their home finale Feb. 25.

“We’re getting better, and that’s what’s important,” Anderson said. “They’re understanding what they’re doing, getting used to playing with each other and shooting a little better. That’s what you want in the team. We just wish we could’ve got a few more wins early in the league season.”



Wilsonville 46, Sandy 44

Feb. 11 at Sandy High School

1 2 3 4 F

Wilsonville 6 14 13 13 — 46

Sandy 15 12 6 11 — 44

Wilsonville (46): Kristen Burke 12, ChiAnn Morris 10, Alex Monello 10. Rest of team: 14.

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