WILSONVILLE — Scott Dippel knew exactly what it would take for his team to upset Wilsonville and his team had exactly what it took to rise to the occasion.
Needing an extraordinary effort to keep its season alive, Crater burned Wilsonville’s press defense early with an aggressive offensive attack, then used balanced scoring and a standout defensive effort by junior post Nehkyah Ellis to surge past Wilsonville late in the fourth quarter for a 65-58 victory in a Class 5A first-round playoff game Friday.
Junior post Maya Van Hook scored eight of her game-high 23 points in the first quarter for the No. 10 seed Comets (21-5), who trailed by one point with about two and a half minutes to play when Ellis blocked a shot that led to a transition basket by Alexus Woodard that put Crater on top to stay.
Junior guard Sydney Gray (12 points, eight rebounds, two assists) knocked down a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation and senior guard Mackenzie Ryerson added a breakaway layup to help the Comets close out the win.
Van Hook was a major force on the finishing end of Crater’s offensive press break, able to convert one-on-one opportunities against the scrambling Wildcats.
“They executed the game plan tonight better than any other game this season,” Dippel said. “It’s a credit to them on knowing how important it is to focus on the game plan.”
Ellis, who pulled down 12 boards and swatted away three shots, redirected several shots that led to long rebounds and transition offense for Crater. She also anchored the defense during a critical stretch in the second half, when the Comets’ guards got into foul trouble in the second half trying to slow Wilsonville’s primary play-making guard, junior Cydney Gutridge.
Junior wing Reese Timm had 16 points, Gutridge scored 13 and junior wing Teagan McNamee chipped in 10 points for the No. 7 seed Wildcats (20-5), who had won 15 of their previous 17 games, with both losses coming against second-seeded La Salle Prep.
Wilsonville fought back from a 10-point first-quarter deficit before falling short of the state quarterfinals, which will be held March 6-9 at Oregon State University in Corvallis.
Instead, it’s the Comets who will face La Salle, a 60-34 first-round winner over Corvallis, in the quarterfinals. The Falcons (21-4), who finished undefeated in the Northwest Oregon Conference, have won 16 straight games.
“Our two seniors [Woodard and Ryerson], they just don’t want their season to end and the rest of the kids have rallied around that,” Dippel said.
“I’m proud of the effort that they have put in,” he added. “It’s a great testament to the effort the girls have put in so far this season.”
CRATER (65): Idiart 7, Van Hook 23, Ryerson 11, Gray 12, Ellis 5, Robison 0, A. Woodard 5, Young 2, K. Woodard 0. Totals: 25 11-17 65.
WILSONVILLE (58): T. McNamee 10, Timm 16, Burns 10, Bishop 0, Gutridge 13, Classen 7, Hieb 2. Totals: 21 10-17 58.
3-point goals — Crater 4 (Ryerson 2, Idiart 1, Ellis 1), Wilsonville 6 (Timm 3, Burns 1, Classen 2)
Technical foul — A. Woodard.