Wilsonville moves on to Corvallis
Little more than two minutes into the first round of the playoffs, home team Wilsonville proved why they are the No. 1 team in the state. Wilsonville dominated the visiting Pendleton Buckaroos 92-41 on Saturday, March 2.
Though the visiting Buckaroos were even early in the first quarter, an injury to freshman Muriel Hoisington noticeably changed the demeanor of the team. Hoisington went up from a layup, successfully, against Wilsonville junior Kayla Hieb and came down in a heap of pain.
"That really took the wind out of their sails a little bit, and it was taking us a while to get going, a little nervous in the playoff game," Wilsonville head coach Justin Duke said. "It just happened at the worst time possible for them. We were starting to get our footing, and for their best player to go down was a bad combination for them, unfortunately."
From then on, it was one-way traffic for Wilsonville. There was no area on offense that the Wildcats did not dominate. In transition, sophomore Sydney Burns and Hieb were dynamic on the breakaway offense; from range, senior Cydney Gutridge and junior Renee Lee drained a whole host of "3's"; and sophomore Emilia Bishop and senior Hannah McKinney were dominant in the paint.
At one point, Gutridge sank four straight 3-point baskets in a row, including three straight baskets from the end of the first quarter into the second quarter. Gutridge finished the game with 21 points. Renee Lee finished with 11 points, 9 of which came from beyond the arc.
The team could not miss for long stretches of play. Wilsonville finished the first half with 49 points. Duke was happy with the way his team performed, but still saw areas where his squad could improve for the latter stages of the playoffs.
"I thought the kids shot the ball really well," Duke said. "There's always an opportunity for the kids to improve. Emilia and Hannah got in a little bit of foul trouble there, not something that they're used to, Hannah a little more, but I thought the kids did really well. On defense, it took a little bit to get going, but I think the lesson learned from this game is having that slow start and we can get ready for Thursday, come out as the more aggressive team."
The Wildcats advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since the 2011-2012 season. The vast majority of the squad has yet to have participated in the quarterfinals of the state playoffs, but the energy is good, according the Wildcats coach.
"It's all excitement now," Duke said. "We've wanted to get there so bad for our seniors, and for kids like Teagan and Cydney, kids that have never been there before. This is just kind of like no better way to go out than winning your last game at home and sending those kids to Gill. It's been a while since a Wilsonville team has gotten there, so it's a real pride for the group and excitement overall."
Wilsonville (21-5) will square off with Crescent Valley (15-10) at Gill Coliseum on Thursday, March 7.