The Wildcats lost a back and forth battle with the number one Comets in the playoff opening round

SUBMITTED PHOTO - Wilsonville Wildcats fell against the Crater Comets in the first round of the 5A girls basketball playoffs. Wilsonville—It was not meant to be for the Wildcats girls' basketball team. In the first round of the 5A playoffs, Wilsonville squared off with the Crater Comets, the number one ranked team in the state. At the end of 32 minutes, the visiting Comets had snagged the win from the Wildcats 65-58 on Friday, Mar. 2.

Wilsonville ends it's season 20-5 after claiming the second spot in the Northwest Oregon Conference with a 12-2 league record. Crater (21-5) moves on in the tournament to face the winner of La Salle Prep-Corvallis.

"There's nothing that you can say right now to make them understand what a great season they had," Wilsonville head coach Justin Duke said. "They wanted it pretty bad. They lose to four teams all year, and unfortunately the way the RPI sets up is that I don't think this was a round of 16 game, this felt more like a quarterfinal, semifinal type of game. Give Crater a lot of credit because that's the best I've ever seen them. They came to play, they came out here, and they earned it."

The first half was one where Wilsonville found itself in a hole early. Over the course of the first quarter, Crater moved into a 10-point lead at 18-8.

Wilsonville soldiered on in the second quarter, mounting a comeback against the top ranked team in the state. It began with a 3-point basket from senior Jessica Classen, who nailed another one later in the second stanza. Junior Teegan McNamee hit two free throws, and the Comet lead had been cut to just three.

Crater junior Eliza Idiart scored five points for the visiting team, and momentum swung towards the visiting team. But it would not last long. Crater passed a ball in from the baseline, and Wilsonville junior Cydney Gutridge stole it right away. A second later, Gutridge hit a layup and the crowd erupted.

"I thought that we came out, defensively and offensively, really strong," Gutridge said. "We had one of our better games of the season. I just give credit to Crater, they had a really awesome game."

Again, Crater picked up more points to up their lead to eight, but Wilsonville would not be deterred. Wilsonville freshman Sydney Burns hit a 3-point basket to the delight of the home court fans. Burns would not stop there, as she had a takeaway that led to a layup at 4:06 of the second quarter.

"I think I just try to work as hard as I can," Burns said. "I know I'll always make mistakes, miss shots, and have turnovers. The only thing you can control is your effort that you put into it. I just tried to go out as hard as I can and do whatever I can control."

A pair of baskets from Gutridge, and a jumper from junior Reese Timm brought the Wildcats to within two points of the visitors. As the buzzer blew signaling halftime, it was 31-29 for Crater.

Coming out of halftime, Wilsonville played with an intensity that gave them the lead at several points in the second half. McNamee hit a layup to bring the teams even at 31. Crater found two more baskets, but Wilsonville answered in short order.

Timm hit a 3-pointer to bring the Wildcats within one point, and Gutridge hit a layup and subsequent shot from the free throw line. Wilsonville had the lead, 37-35. Gutridge continued to battle, taking three shots in a row and snagging rebounds as they came. Crater went on an 8-1 run and retook the lead by 2:13 of the third quarter, 43-38.

Yet again, Wilsonville battled back. Reese Timm and Teegan McNamee combined for six points in the final two minutes of the third quarter, and it was 44-44 leading into the final frame.

Wilsonville started off the quarter on the right foot, with Sydney Burns nailing a technical foul free-throw, and Timm hit a pair of her own. Crater answered well though, with a trio of junior Maya Van Hook baskets.

With a little more than three minutes left in the fourth quarter, it was 54-54. Gutridge had another steal off a Crater inbound pass and put another two points on the board for Wilsonville. It was at this point that Crater would go on a game clinching, seven point run. Baskets from junior Sydney Gray and senior Mackenzie Ryerson put the Comets up 61-56, and Wilsonville was once again searching for a shift in momentum.

Junior Kayla Hieb knocked down two free throws with 1:27 left in the game, and the Wildcats were down only three points. Hieb missed a 3-pointer after a Crater timeout, and following another timeout from the Comets, the deciding baskets were sunk. A pair of free throws from Gray put the Comets up by five points again with just 28 seconds left, and it was too much for Wilsonville to overcome. At the end of the game, it was 65-58 for the Comets.

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