Milwaukie High Schools girls basketball team appears to be peaking at the right time.
The Mustangs won three games last week, as they closed out the Northwest Oregon Conference season with a 10-4 record (13-10 overall), finishing third back of Putnam (16-7, 14-0) and Sherwood (16-7, 11-3) in the conference.
The Mustangs last week took care of business with league opponents Parkrose (56-25) and Sandy (37-34), and they won a practice game with Madison, a .500-plus team from the PIL, 72-69.
Milwaukie takes a six-game win string into postseason play.
Im pleased [that we finished third in league], said Milwaukie coach Kevin McElroy. Weve got a lot of young players and, except for carelessness and recklessness, we would have won a couple more games and taken second.... Still, the girls have done well, considering we lost a couple of players who were starters and who would be starters now [Shelby Enevoldsen, knee; and Chloe Hester, back] to injuries. Those players dont go down and I think we have a shot at a state title.
McElroy was hopeful that his 15th-ranked Mustangs would give the 18th-ranked Cleveland Indians (12-11) a run for their money when the two teams went head-to-head in the Class 5A state play-in round on Tuesday (March 4).
They have two strong posts that the rest of their players feed off of, said McElroy. Weve got to keep them from getting it down low....
With a win on Tuesday, the Mustangs would face an even bigger challenge in this Fridays playoff game for a berth at state. Barring an upset, theyd face second-ranked Corvallis (19-4) on the road.
The Spartans lineup includes 6-0 senior post Leslie Robinson. Shes the daughter of Oregon State University basketball coach Craig Robinson and she has signed with Division I Princeton.
Shes strong as an ox and shes very physical, said McElroy. Shes a handful for anyone.
Merrily Jones (20 points), Skylar Hampton (11 points) and Karissa Delaunay (10 points, 7 assists) led the charge in last weeks rout of Parkrose.
Led by Hampton (11 rebounds) and Julia Rivers (8 rebounds), the Mustangs dominated the inside play.
Rivers was also tough on defense, stealing the ball four times.
Leading 13-7, the Mustangs put the game away in the second quarter, when they outscored the Broncs 18-4.
Jones and Delaunay had career offensive nights in the Mustangs Feb. 26 game at Madison.
Jones scored 28 points, burning the nets with 12-for-22 accuracy from the field.
Delaunay scored 25 points, hitting 5-of-9 field goals and 14-of-17 free throws.
Delaunay also fired the Mustang offense with 12 assists.
Jones also had four assists, rejected four shots and claimed seven rebounds.
The Mustangs were in command of last Fridays league final nearly all the way, but they nearly let the game get away from them.
Milwaukie was up 12-5 at the end of the first quarter and 25-7 at halftime. But Sandy battled back and pulled to within 29-21 to start the fourth quarter.
We executed our offense, made the extra pass and got open looks in the first half, said McElroy. The girls didnt play well at all in the second half, but we held them off.
Delaunay led the Mustangs offense, with eight points and three assists. She hit 6-of-7 free throws.