Wildcats took a 25-20 halftime lead, broke open Jan. 31 road game with 13-3 run to open second half

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Wilsonvilles Reese Timm (5) takes a defensive stand as Milwaukies Noelani McGowan brings the ball into the front court Wednesday.  If there were any soft spots in the Wilsonville Wildcats' defense Wednesday night, Milwaukie's girls' basketball team struggled to find them. Throw in a Wilsonville offense that was quick to capitalize on Milwaukie turnovers and the net result was a long, mostly frustrating night for the Mustangs as the Wildcats rolled to a 56-39 Northwest Oregon Conference road win. Cydney Gutridge scored a game-high 11 points and Reese Timm added 10 points to help the Wildcats (15-3, 7-1 NWOC) complete a two-game series sweep against the Mustangs (8-10, 4-4). "We showed up a little bit tonight," Wildcats coach Justin Duke said. "Credit to the kids for grinding through and finding a way to get it done." Kinsleigh Edmunds, India Gultry, and Ariana Sanchez finished with nine points each for the Mustangs, who went into Wednesday's game riding a four-game win streak. "Wilsonville is a good team," Mustangs coach Kevin McElroy said. "They share the ball and they can score from a lot of different angles with a lot of different people. "We hung with them for a little bit in the first half, and then they got that big spurt early in the third quarter that took us out of the game and we never recovered." Milwaukie erased an early seven-point deficit to tie the score at 17-17 on Mackenzie Ware's basket, but Wilsonville answered with an 8-3 run in the closing 3:53 of the half to take a 25-20 lead at the break. The Wildcats then opened the second half on a 13-3 run that ended with Jessica Classen knocking down a 3-pointer from the left corner to push the lead to 38-23 with 3:45 to play in the third quarter. Two keys factors during that particular run. One was the Mustangs' inability to work the ball inside consistently to any of their three bigs -- 6-foot-1 Alev Ersan, the 6-foot Edmonds, and the 5-11 Gultry. Another was some relentless on-ball pressure by Wilsonville, which forced two turnovers that led to a couple easy transition lay-ins for Timm and Kayla Heib right before Classen's pivotal trey. "I thought that was really the turning point in the game," Duke said. "We knew that if Milwaukie kept it close, it was going to get real tight at the end. We needed a run like that to make sure that they couldn't slow the ball down and they had to keep attacking us.  "We switched up a little bit and tried to run some trap out of our man-to-man defense just to give them a different look. I think it caught them off guard just a little bit, but that's the team we are. We just want to keep that pressure on and hope they make a few mistakes and we take advantage of that." Faced with a double-digit deficit, the Mustangs had little choice other than to pick up the pace, which is not a style they are comfortable playing. PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Wilsonvilles Kayla Hieb (30) drives around Milwaukies MaKenna Presley (12) during the fourth quarter of Wednesdays 56-39 road win over the Mustangs. "We have to keep people under 40 points," said McElroy, whose team climbed within 40-30 heading into the fourth quarter. "Sometimes, if we press a little bit or the other team presses, we get going in that flow and we don't have the same success that we do when we keep teams under 40. "A team like Wilsonville that can get scoring from so many different players, it's hard to get into an up-and-down game with them and win it. It's something that we'll have to learn from and hopefully we can get better down the stretch from that." Milwaukie had opportunities to cut into Wilsonville's lead at the free-throw line, but went 7 for 17 from the charity stripe in the second half, including missing the front end of the one-and-ones. "You've got to do a better job of shooting free throws to stay in a game like that," McElroy said. "Wilsonville is a good team, so hats off to them. They played a great game and they're a top-10 team for a reason." PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Wil​sonvilles Sydney Burns (13) sets up the half-court offense under pressure from Milwaukies Ariana Sanchez (3) in the first quarter of Wednesdays Northwest Oregon Conference girls basketball game at Milwaukie High School. Classen finished with eight points and Teagen McNamee and Emily Scanlan had seven points each for the Wildcats. "I felt like we kept our composure even when it was close and I think our defense kind of spoke for itself tonight," said Timm, the Wildcat's junior transfer from La Salle Prep who scored six of her 10 points in the first half. "We know we're pretty quick in transition and we know how to get up and down the floor. That's always one of the keys to our game." Both teams return to action Friday when Wilsonville returns home to face Hillsboro (9-9, 6-2), and Milwaukie plays host to league-leading La Salle Prep (14-4, 8-0). "Milwaukie is capable of beating anybody because of the style that they play and if they get into it," Duke said. "This was a great way to start the second half of league play, especially after the stretch we had, playing some weaker opponents and trying to get back up for a big game on Friday against Hillsboro. "We knew that if Milwaukie wins this one tonight, they're still in the race for second. So, this was a big win for us to kind of get some separation. Now, it's La Salle, us and Hillsboro, and hopefully we beat Hillsboro Friday night and it's La Salle and us playing for first at the end."

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