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Big lineup lifts Ashland to victory

ASHLAND -- In the first half of Tuesday night's game, Ashland High girls basketball coach Heather Roberts tried to attack Grants Pass with a full-court press.

It didn't work.

So Roberts brought in her big lineup in the second half and the Grizzlies ran to a 67-54 victory over Grants Pass and clinched a tie for third place in the Southern Oregon Conference.

Ashland's Djuna Wilhelm, a 6-foot-3 senior center who signed with Portland State prior to the season, and 6-0 freshman post Jaquelyn Woods combined to score 23 straight points for the Grizzlies in the third and fourth quarters to propel Ashland to the win.

The victory gives Ashland a final SOC record of 10-6 and ties the Grizzlies with Klamath Union for third place. Ashland travels to Klamath Falls for a playoff contest 7:30 p.m. Thursday to decide which team advances to the Class 4A state playoffs as the No.

3 team out of the SOC. The loser gets the No. 4 spot.

Wilhelm scored 16 of her 18 points in the final 11 minutes, and Woods had seven of her 14 points during that stretch.

We tried to press them early, and we weren't ready to do it, said Roberts. Our press wasn't working because we came out slow. So I decided to try our big lineup.

Trailing 40-35 in the final two minutes of the third quarter, the Grizzlies started to pound the ball inside to Woods and Wilhelm. Woods scored on a layup and Wilhelm followed with an offensive rebound and basket to cut the Grants Pass lead to 42-39 entering the fourth quarter.

Wilhelm opened the fourth quarter by hitting an 8-foot bank shot and a layup to narrow the Cavers' lead to 44-42. Woods added back-to-back baskets off offensive rebounds, and hit a free throw for a 3-point play on the second rebound and ensuing put-back shot.

Suddenly, the Grizzlies were in front 48-44 with 6:10 left in the game.

Woods hit a 10-foot jump shot and then Wilhelm heated up by making five straight baskets -- the last of which came on a left-handed layup with 1:10 left to give Ashland a 60-53 lead.

Ashland's Hanna Seltzer converted two free throws and Christina Cooley made a 3-point shot from 23 feet out as time ran out on Grants Pass.

Our big girls (Wilhelm and Woods) worked well together tonight, said Roberts. Jacquelyn didn't play like a freshman tonight.

Woods, who started the season on the Ashland junior varsity team, said it felt good concluding the regular season by dominating older players inside.

I wanted to play hard and get on the floor for the ball, said Woods. I have some jumping ability, and that helped me get some rebounds.

Wilhelm, who took over the inside lanes in Ashland's offense in the second half, had seven rebounds in front of her future coach, Portland State's Jenny Yopp.

I knew she was going to be here, and I was a little nervous about it, said Wilhelm. But I just tried to play hard.

We played dead ball until halftime. We were embarrassed at halftime because we knew our fans came to see us play hard. We decided to go do it in the second half.

Led by senior guard Kaci Williams, Grants Pass took leads of 10-3 in the first quarter and 16-9 in the second before the Grizzlies cut the lead to 29-24 at halftime.

Back-to-back inside shots by post Staci Kleier gave Grants Pass a 37-28 lead with just under four minutes left in the third quarter.

But Woods and Wilhelm took over on the inside the rest of the way.

Williams led Grants Pass with 18 points and guard Krystal Hopkins added 14 for the Cavers.

GRANTS PASS (54) -- Hopkins 14, Lane 7, Kleier 6, Williams 18, Moser 2, Kelly 7.

ASHLAND (67) -- Morgan 9, Wilhelm 18, Cooley 6, Seltzer 9, Pippa 5, McNaught 2, Woods 14, Ruth 14.

Grants Pass16 13 13 12 -- 54

Ashland9 15 15 28 -- 67

3-point goals -- Ashland — (Cooley 1, Seltzer 1, Pippa 1).