Wildcats run over Willamette in first round of playoffs

The Wildcats advance to Gill for the second straight year after beating the 14 seed Wolverines 73-42.

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Greg Artman

After advancing to Gill Coliseum last year and ending the season with a third-place trophy, the Wildcats were eager to make it back to Corvallis.

First, though, they had to get through Willamette.

Coming into the game, the Wolverines were ranked 14th in the state. Willamette is in the Midwestern League, where they went 11-5 on the season. Their overall record before Friday night’s matchup was 14-11, including a six-point loss to the number one ranked Silverton.

The Wildcats entered the game ranked third in the state, having only lost to La Salle, South Medford, and West Linn. Wilsonville came out aggressive right from the tipoff and managed to enter halftime with a 34-23 lead over the Wolverines.

Junior guard Sydney Burns was monumental for the Wildcats in the first half, scoring seventeen points before the break.

Willamette had a weapon of their own in 6’0″ senior center Natalie Willoughby, who scored 21 points on the night.

Despite Willoughby’s impressive performance, Wilsonville remained in control for the entire game. The Wildcats closed the third quarter on an 8-0 run to widen the gap, taking a 53-33 lead into the fourth.

Wilsonville broke open the game in the final quarter and went deep in their bench, allowing all twelve players to see the floor. The home team came out on top 73-42 and celebrated their victory in the locker room, dousing head coach Justin Duke with a water cooler.

Wilsonville will face the 6th ranked Lebanon on Tuesday evening at Gill Coliseum. The Warriors lost to Willamette but beat #1 ranked Silverton earlier this season and 6’2″ senior center Ellie Croco will pose a problem for the Wildcat defense.

Come out and support your Wildcats at 6:30 on Tuesday night at Gill Coliseum in the quarterfinals of the 5A state playoffs!