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Westview's dogged defense wallops Tualatin

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview's Ashley Scoggin (5) and Jaime Nared (30) smother Tualatin's point guard for a steal in the first quarter of the Wildcats' blowout win on Friday night. The Wildcats forced 20 turnovers overall.

Turning the ball over against the Westview girls’ basketball team is plainly a death wish.

Live-ball turnovers. Dead- ball cough-ups. The Wildcats absolutely feed off other teams’ mishaps and transform those troubles into transition opportunities that usually result in hoops on the other end.

On Friday, in a non-league contest, Tualatin made the fatal faux pas of forking over the rock 18 times to the seemingly ball-starved Wildcats as Westview jumped out to a 43-20 halftime lead and never recanted, taking down the Timberwolves, 76-46.

“Defense creates offense, and defense wins championships,” said senior guard Olivia Williams. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Our motto this year is respect all, fear none. When we get out there, that’s what we think about. So when we play teams we respect them, but we make sure we show them who we are.”

“We focused on our steals and anticipated every pass they made,” added senior post Dana Bentz. “That’s what made our defense so effective. We get up in their faces and try to steal it before they even get across halfcourt. We took them out of their game, and that’s why we were able to get up so quick.”

Westview was the aggressor, the instigator and the attacker from the outset, forcing 10 turnovers in the first quarter alone, which allowed the Wildcats to grab an early 21-9 lead. Tualatin had a heck of a time trying to break Westview’s rugged, fast-paced, fullcourt press that deployed superstar Jamie Nared and a slew of athletic defenders on the T-Wolves.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview's Brittany Carlson (32) and Alia Mahuna apply a double team on Tualatin's Jasmine Miller.

“Everyone has a desire to hustle,” said Williams, who had three steals. “We’re really good at keeping up that intensity and energy up on defense. I think we can even improve that more and raise it.”

Getting the ball across the timeline was reason enough to celebrate for Tualatin, who trailed by as much as 25 in the second quarter.

“We tried to focus on keeping them in front of us and rotating,” said junior wing Alia Mahuna. “We tried to work as a team and trap as much as we can. We think defense wins games. We try to come out, play hard defense, and then our offense comes with it.”

“Teams just can’t get past us because we’re so aggressive,” added Bentz.

Tualatin tried to use a 2-3 zone against Nared, but the Wildcats provoked such an abundance of blunders that turned into fast break highlight hoops that the Timberwolves couldn’t set up their defense.

Westview turned the game into a lay-up line of sorts with Nared triggering the fast break with pinpoint outlet passes to Bentz, Mahuna, Bria Thames, and Ashley Scoggin for easy hoops. In the first half, the Wildcats shot an impressive 65 percent from the field, primarily because the majority of their shots came from two feet and in.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Westview senior post Dana Bentz puts up a jumper over Tualatin.

“I liked how quick we were,” said Bentz. “Our favorite game is when it’s up-and-down, getting fastbreaks, chucking the ball down the court, and Jamie (Nared) leading us in transition. We love that.”

Nared was stellar as ever, scoring 38 points on an economical 13-19 shooting to go along with five assists and five steals. The University of Tennessee commit scored 11 of Westview’s first 15 points and scored 26 in the first half.

A top-five prospect in the class of 2014, Nared’s comprehensive game was running on all cylinders with a full display of long-range bombs from NBA distance, quicksilver hands that picked Tualatin clean, and a number of next-level passes that kept her teammates happy and working hard.

“She takes the game into her own hands and puts the team on her back,” said Bentz

The ever-humble star had it all working, but she shied away from the postgame praise, in favor of commending the rest of the Wildcats for their effort.

“I credit my teammates for all those passes,” said Nared. “They were finding me. I don’t think I did anything spectacular, but I just credit my teammates for setting me up in those situations.”

Better yet, the Wildcats received big contributions from Mahuna, who scored 17 points and Scoggin who had 8. Five other Westview players scored as well, providing Nared the type of leading supporting cast that’ll be critical come state tournament time.

“We can’t rely on just Jamie,” said Mahuna. “We need to all contribute. We have to make it easier for her, so the pressure’s not always on her.”

“We have a group where everybody works hard,” said Nared. “But, we can’t pick and choose when we work hard. We’re not going to be a team that blows everybody out. We need to work on playing hard all the time and getting everybody to contribute and know their roles in order to get what we want to accomplish as team.”

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