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The Wildcats move to 10-1 in NWOC competition, lead Putnam and La Salle by 1 1/2 games.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Wilsonville sophomore Lily Scanlan goes up for a shot during her team's 40-36 win over Putnam at Wilsonville High School on Thursday, Feb. 17.This one meant a lot.

The Wilsonville girls basketball team, coming off a painful 55-39 loss against Northwest Oregon Conference rival La Salle three days earlier, bounced back in style on Thursday, Feb. 17.

The Wildcats rallied from a seven-point deficit near the end of the third quarter and came back to knock off Putnam 40-36 in a key NWOC contest at Wilsonville High School.

"We knew coming in after La Salle that we had to get one of two this week," said La Salle senior guard Karina Borgen, who led her team with 10 points (on 4 of 11 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers and an 0 of 1 day at the foul line), along with five rebounds and five steals. "We didn't play great against La Salle so we had a whole bunch of momentum coming into this one because we knew we had to get the result, and we did."

"Oh, yeah. I feel really good right now," said Wilsonville sophomore post Zoey Davis, who scored eight points (on 2 of 3 shooting from the field and a 4 of 8 day at the foul line), along with 13 rebounds, two blocked shots, one assist and one steal. "Honestly, (the key) was just working together and making sure we got the ball down in the paint, looking for kickouts and not taking that first 'three,' just passing, movement, cuts, looking for the ball and playing good defense."

With the win, Wilsonville's fifth in its last six games, the Wildcats improved to 10-1 in NWOC play and 16-6 overall, and gave Wilsonville a 1 1/2-game lead over both Putnam and La Salle. The Kingsmen, meanwhile, saw their six-game winning streak snapped — their last loss came to Wilsonville on Jan. 21 — and fell to 8-2 in NWOC play and 14-6 overall.

"It's definitely tough, especially because we had that close of a game," said Putnam sophomore Rylee Lemen, who led her team with 15 points (on 6 of 10 shooting from the field and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with five rebounds and one blocked shot. "We should have taken it."

"We definitely should have won that game, especially being up in the (third) quarter by seven points," said Putnam senior Maddie Olma, who finished with seven points (on 2 of 13 shooting from the field and a 3 of 3 day at the foul line), along with eight rebounds, four assists, four steals and one blocked shot. "We just needed to take care of the ball better and hustle after the boards more."

The defenses held the upper hand in the first half, with Putnam taking the biggest lead of the first quarter at 11-7 when junior Kayla Kasubuchi took a pass from Olma and buried a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1 minute, 35 seconds left in the period.

From there, however, the Wildcats answered with a 12-4 run to take their largest lead of the first half at 19-15 when freshman Audrey Counts took a pass from senior Grace Gatto and knocked down a jumpshot from the free throw line with 3:28 left in the half.

After the back-and-forth of the first half, the Kingsmen appeared to take control in the third quarter. Beginning the period at a 19-18 deficit, Putnam stitched together an 11-4 run to post the biggest lead of the game at 29-22 with 3:08 to go in the stanza.

Kingsman junior Emma McDonald led the way there, hitting 3 of 4 shots (including a "three") for seven points in a span of just 2:04, while Lemen hit twice from the floor to knock the Wildcats back on their heels.

But Wilsonville closed the period with a pair of baskets by sophomore Lily Scanlan to move within 29-26, and the game got even closer from there.

In the fourth quarter, the Kingsmen led by three points twice, the last time at 35-32 when Olma hit a pull-up from the right side with 4:29 left in the game.

Wilsonville responded with a Counts foul shot and a Scanlan fast break basket set up by Counts to tie the game at 35-35, and Lemen followed with one foul shot for her team's final lead at 36-35 with 2:21 to go.

But Putnam wouldn't score again — turning the ball over twice and missing its last three shots — while Counts went end-to-end for a layin with 1:33 to go, and Davis, Gatto and Counts hit one foul shot apiece in the final 1:06 to seal the win.

"It … motivates us to know we can, at the end of the day, compete in these type of situations and come out with a 'W,'" Borgen said. "It's something we will definitely think back to when we have a tight one down the road and we don't know if we can do it."

"I hope we see them again in the playoffs — I want to shove it down their throat," Lemen said. "I really hope we see them again. It's not like we want to beat them, it's we need to beat them."

Counts finished with nine points for Wilsonville, hitting 3 of 8 shots from the field (including one 3-pointer and 2 of 4 foul shots), along with five rebounds, three assists, two steals and one blocked shot. For Putnam, McDonald scored nine points (on 4 of 14 shooting from the field, including one 3-pointer), along with four steals and two rebounds.

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