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The Wildcats cap their three-day run with a tough win over Vancouver's Skyview.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville sophomore post Zoe Davis goes up for a shot during her team's 47-44 win over Skyview in the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic at Grant High School on Thursday, Dec. 30.There have been some ups and down already and there are certainly challenges ahead, but for three days at the end of the December, the Wilsonville girls basketball team got to play giant killer.

Playing in the Lewis & Clark bracket of the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic at Grant High School from Dec. 28-30, the Wildcats stepped up to win three straight times, each time knocking off a school with much bigger enrollment numbers.

Wilsonville (enrollment 1,140) opened the tournament with a 59-28 rout of Tigard (which features 1,637 students) on Dec. 28, followed up with a 49-34 win over McMinnville (1,854) on Dec. 29, then capped its run by beating Vancouver, Washington's Skyview High School (1,865) 47-44 on Thursday, Dec. 30.

"We had four games in four days before Christmas and we definitely struggled the last two days," said Wilsonville senior guard Karina Borgen, who scored just two points against Skyview, but won all-tournament honors for her play over the three days at Grant. "So it was just about proving to ourselves that we could do it and living up to what we knew we could do."

"We talked about (facing larger schools) a lot," said freshman wing Payton Ratcliffe, who finished with 12 points in the win over Skyview. "One of the things we talk about all the time, one of our goals all the time, is to have good energy. We've struggled with that in the past, but I think that by coming together and being positive, it really helped us win this game."

"We just tried to do everything to the best of our abilities," said freshman guard Audrey Counts, who led all scorers with 16 points. "I think that we all used our strengths well and know our teammates well."

With their victory over Skyview, the Wildcats won for the third straight time and improved to 6-4 overall. The Storm, meanwhile, lost for the first time in 2021-22, saw their seven-game winning streak snapped and fell to 7-1 overall.

Skyview was led by senior forward Skylar Groesbeck's 14 points, and 10 points each from sophomore guard Rowyn Riley and junior guard/wing Jordan Labrador-Hallett.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Skyview junior Jordan Labrador-Hallett brings the ball upcourt during her team's 47-44 loss to Wilsonville in the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic at Grant High School on Thursday , Dec. 30.

After a pair of double-digit wins in their first two games, however, nothing came easily for the Wildcats against the Storm.

Wilsonville struggled on offense early, managing just six points in the first quarter — four from Counts — and trailed the Storm 13-6. Hallett knocked down a 3-pointer and scored five points in the period, while Groesbeck and Riley added four each.

The Wildcats still trailed 16-10 late in the second period, but Wilsonville closed the half with a flourish to tie the game 18-18 at the break. Senior wing Kameron Gibson led the way there with five points (including a "three"), while Ratcliffe added three points in the frame.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville freshman guard Audrey Counts pulls up for a shot in the key during her team's 47-44 win over Skyview in the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic at Grant High School on Thursday, Dec. 30.

The Storm hung around in the third quarter, too, leading 25-24 when sophomore Kiki Parks knocked down a 3-pointer from the left corner with 5 minutes, 35 seconds to go in the period, and trailing just 29-28 when Groesbeck drilled a "three" from the top of the key with 3:09 to go in the stanza.

The Wildcats answered with a 7-0 stretch that extended their lead to 36-28 early in the fourth quarter. The run included a 3-pointer by Ratcliffe, a basket in the key from Counts (assisted by Borgen) and a pair of Ratcliffe foul shots with 7:06 left in the game.

The Storm just kept coming, though, getting six fourth-quarter points from Riley, a putback by Parks, five points from Groesbeck and a "three" by Labrador-Hallett to close within 45-44 in the final minutes.

But Wilsonville did what it needed to do down the stretch, getting one free throw each from Counts and Riley, and surviving a pair of 3-point attempts by Labrador-Hallett and another from Parks at the buzzer that hit the back rim and — finally — bounced away.

"At the end, we had a high-pressure moment, but … Karina pulled us together and we agreed as a team not to panic and just pull it together," Counts said.

"We proved to people today that we are a force to be reckoned with," Borgen added. "I think we all just started to trust each other a little bit."

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville senior guard Karina Borgen makes a pass during her team's 47-44 win over Skyview in the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic at Grant High School on Thursday, Dec. 30.


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