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Henry, Oleson carry Jesuit girls' hoops to second round

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit sophomore center Alzena Henry scored 15 points and snatched 10 rebounds to help the Crusaders take out North Medford, 59-49.

Apparently, the North Medford girls’ basketball team didn’t receive the memo about Jesuit’s Alzena Henry’s prowess in the post or Kory Oleson’s marksmanship from the outside.

On Tuesday in the first round of the 6A playoffs, the Black Tornado made the terminal mistake of not doubling the 6-foot-1 Henry, who repeatedly feasted on single coverage in the paint. And, if Henry’s 15 points and 10 rebounds weren’t fatal enough, Oleson’s game-high 20 points including five threes were the determinant factor in sending Jesuit to the second round, 59-49.

The Crusaders will play at Tigard at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.

“We’re taking it one game at a time, so it’s good to survive one,” said Oleson. “It’s tough when you don’t know about a team from that far away. We had to adjust a little bit.”

“It was good practice for Tigard, but I think we need to step it up another level,” added Henry. “Every possesion counts, so when we’re not on a hot run then we still need to pick it up. We have to make sure every possesion counts.”

Jesuit jumped out to a big first quarter lead in large part because of Oleson’s searing shooting from three-point land. The honorable mention all-Metro League selection opened the game with a trio of net-ripping triples from three different areas of the floor. Oleson’s pull-up jumper from the middle of the key gave her 11 points in the first quarter and handed the Crusaders a 15-4 lead.

“I was just feeling it,” said Oleson with a smile. “My teammates were getting me open, getting me good looks. We moved the ball really well from side to side.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit sophomore forward Korey Oleson led the Crusaders with 20 points including five threes against North Medford on Tuesday to send the Crusaders to the second round of the playoffs.

Senior wing Emily Allen was the cog that made Jesuit’s dribble-drive machine go, moving the basketball unselfishly and finding the hot hands of Oleson and Henry. Allen hit Oleson with square passes that were chest-high and fireable without having to adjust. And, when Oleson was covered, Allen lobbed post entry passes to Henry who dominated the blocks with great post position and soft hands at the rim.

Patient in the paint, deciphering where the Black Tornado was situated, Henry didn’t play faster than her capabilities. She took North Medford’s single coverage and beasted it, scoring nine points in the first half to help Jesuit grab a 31-24 halftime lead.

“I was trying to take what was open and get my teammates open,” said Henry. “I looked for the open shot and if my teammate was open after they pass to me, I’d pass it back out and repost.”

With no extra defenders clinging to her or hawking at the basketball, Henry was able to show off her skill set, and ability to finish with either hand on the right and left blocks. The sophomore post— who was recently named to Metro’s all-league second team— created a big target around the tin by getting lower than her defender and keeping her both arms high in the shape of a double L. Once the ball was in Henry’s possesion in isolation situations, it was lights out for North Medford.

“That was a mistake,” said Oleson of North Medford’s defensive tactic to not double Henry. “It’s great to have (Henry) in the middle because she’s a great post player and we have good shooters on the perimeter if gets doubled. When she gets a touch in the post, usually good things happen.”

“I was kind of surprised,” added Henry. “It felt really good. I haven’t had that since the preseason. I kind of missed it. I was glad I took advantage of it.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit sophomore point guard Kate Andersen scored 11 points and tacked on six rebounds to help send the Crusaders to the second round of the state playoffs.

Allen launched the second quarter with a left corner three after an inside-out pass from Henry. Henry banked in a drop-step spin move to give Jesuit a 37-25 lead. Then, Oleson buried a fast break three following a pass from Allen that went right to Oleson’s shooting pocket to extend the lead to 42-27 with 3:24 left in the third.

Keara Vu made one of two free throws, rebounded her own miss on the second attempt and passed to Hadley Wilhoite for a lay-up and Jesuit’s biggest lead of the night, 45-29.North Medford got as close as 50-44 in the fourth, but Henry carved out space in the pivot for a lay-up and Wilhoite banked home an offensive board. Oleson kept the momentum going when drove left along the baseline and finished with her right hand to go up 54-44 with 3:24 left.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Jesuit junior guard Keara Vu looks for an open teammate in the second quarter of the Crusaders first round playoff win over North Medford on Tuesday.

Sophomore guard Kate Andersen made five free throws in the final two minutes and change to ice Jesuit’s second straight appearance in the second round of the state playoffs. The sophomore-heavy, underclassmen-clad Crusaders face off against a Tigard team that hasn’t lost since late December.

“We want to take the start and the energy we had and focus it more in the Tigard game,” said Henry. “I think we need to pick up our intensity throughout the game instead of having a run here and there.”



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