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Wildcats finish non-league schedule 9-2, host St. Helens Tuesday in NWOC opener

PMG PHOTO: DEREK WILEY - Sydney Burns had 11 points, six rebounds and six assists Friday night at Skyview.

Wilsonville led Class 5A in scoring last season.

This year, the Wildcats are showing they can play defense, too.

On an off shooting night, Wilsonville defeated Skyview 54-45 Friday in Washington.

"Defense really carried us," Wildcats coach Justin Duke said. "Rebounding has been a challenge for us for the first half of the season and defense and rebounding especially, it was the best game that we've had. It was learning how to win a little bit differently when the shots aren't falling like they usually do. We didn't shoot it as well as we wanted to, but everything else we did really well and it was a good win."

Wilsonville led 16-5 by the end of the first quarter and never trailed in the game.

Emilia Bishop recorded a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds. Sydney Burns added 11 points, six rebounds and six assists.

The road win came after the Wildcats lost at home to Skyview 76-72 last season.

"They have a couple of kids who can really shoot it from outside," Duke said. "They'll be a state playoff team in Washington. It's a tough place to win up there. It's not easy."

It was the fourth straight game this season that Wilsonville has held an opponent to 45 points or less.

"The kids played really hard," Duke said. "It's encouraging because defense hasn't carried us in years past and it's bailed us out a couple of times already this year. It's good to see."

The Wildcats finished their non-league schedule 9-2 as they prepare for NWOC play, where La Salle Prep (9-2), St. Helens (8-1) and Putnam (6-5) are all inside the top 10 of the OSAA rankings.

"It's a little bit different this year and really refreshing," Duke said. "It appears that our league is quite a bit tougher than it was last year. I could tell just by the rosters that all of the teams would probably improve, and I really think that's the case."

Derek Wiley
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