The conference champs are prepping for the playoffs

by: DAN BROOD - CARRIED AWAY -- Tigard High junior Kaylie Boschma gives Tiger senior Emilee Cincotta a lift off the court following Tigard's game with Forest Grove on Friday. Cincotta has 12 points and 11 steals in the 58-31 win. TIGARD — What’s new with the Tigard High School girls basketball team?

Well, nothing much.

It seems to be the same old thing for Tigard — another dominating defensive performance, another conference championship and more high hopes for the state playoffs.

The Tigers, on their way to wrapping up their second straight perfect conference season, rolled to a 58-31 win over Forest Grove in a Pacific Conference game played Friday in front of a Senior Night crowd at Tigard High School.

“This was great,” said Tigard guard Emilee Cincotta, who, along with the other Tiger seniors, played in her final regular season home game. “It hasn’t hit me yet, but it will. This was our last league home game. Now, we’re looking forward to the playoffs.”by: DAN BROOD - HIGH FLYER -- Tigard senior guard Lexi Carter goes up strong to the basket in the win over Forest Grove.

With the victory, its 28th straight in Pacific Conference play, Tigard, which had already clinched the conference championship, moved to 13-0 in league play and to 18-5 at that point.

“It’s always special,” Tigard senior guard Lexi Carter said of the conference title. “But it’s a habit now.”

Forest Grove fell to 6-7 in conference and to 13-10 on the season at that point with the loss.

And, in the setback, the Vikings seemed to be stymied for most the night by what looked to be a very motivated Tigard squad.

“This was definitely a great win,” said Carter, who now has played on four conference title-winning Tiger teams. “We wanted to send a message tonight.”

Mission accomplished, as the Tigers certainly seemed to send a message that they look to be as good as ever on the defensive end of the court.

In Friday’s game, not only did Tigard help force Forest Grove into a 15-for-35 shooting night from the field, but the Tigers also pressured the Vikings into 34 turnovers.

Cincotta seemed to be the biggest thorn in Forest Grove’s side, as she came up with 11 steals in the contest.

“Emilee killed it,” Carter said.

“I wanted to be aggressive and play hard for my team,” Cincotta said. “I was fired up tonight. We have to get ready for the playoffs.”

While Cincotta and the Tigers may have been fired up, it was Forest Grove that got off to the fast start I Friday’s game.

The Vikings, with senior post Madi Andresen scoring on three straight put-back shots to start the game, took a 6-0 lead with 5 minutes and 43 seconds remaining in the first quarter.

But the rest of the game belonged to the DAN BROOD - UP CLOSE -- Tigard sophomore post Elise Conroy shoots for two of her 12 points in the win over the Vikings.

Tigard responded to the 6-0 deficit by scoring 12 unanswered points. Tiger junior guard Kaylie Boschma started the scoring spree with a basket on a drive up the middle. Boschma also added a three-pointer in the scoring run, which also included hoops by sophomore post Elise Conroy and Cincotta and free throws by Carter and junior Faithe Wantland.

Cincotta’s basket, which came after a steal by Wantland, gave Tigard a 12-6 lead with 1:18 left in the opening quarter. A short-range bank shot by Conroy with 34 seconds left in the period gave Tigard a 14-8 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

The 6-foot-3 Conroy continued her inside scoring attack in the second quarter. She scored six points in the period to help Tigard up the margin to 27-17 at halftime.

Andresen scored two baskets early in the third quarter to help Forest Grove trim the Tigard lead to 29-21. But the Tigers took off again.

With Cincotta scoring six points, Tigard finished the third quarter on a 9-2 run, giving the home team a 38-23 lead going into the fourth quarter.

The Tigers didn’t let up in the final stanza.

Carter lit up the net, scoring 10 points in the first 4:28 of the fourth quarter. Senior post Jessie King added four points and senior Melissa Keenan sank a three-pointer to help Tigard close out the 58-31 victory.

“The girls played a great second half,” Tigard coach Steve Naylor said. “We’ve been working on our press a lot, and it was effective at times tonight.”

“We had a lot more energy in the second half, and we put them away,” Cincotta said.

Carter led all scorers in the contest with 17 points. She also had five steals and a pair of assists.

Cincotta turned in a double-double, with 12 points to go with her 11 steals. Conroy also scored 12 points to go with three blocked shots.

Boschma had seven points and five steals and King scored six points while also pulling down five rebounds.

Tigard, as a team, made 21 of 50 shots from the field and had just eight turnovers.

by: DAN BROOD - HAPPY WINNERS -- Tigard's (from left) Melissa Keenan, Ashley Holzgang ane Jessie King celebrate following the win over Forest Grove.Andresen led Forest Grove with 14 points.

“Now, let’s go get Century,” Carter said.

The Tigers did that on Tuesday, as they wrapped up their Pacific Conference schedule with a 49-23 victory over the Jaguars in a game played at Century High School.

Carter scored 19 points in the win. Jessie King added eight points and Cincotta had seven.

Tigard will next be in action Tuesday, when it opens play in the Class 6A state playoffs. The Tigers will host a yet-to-be determined team in a first-round playoff game, starting at a time to be announced.

“We’re ready to start a new chapter,” Carter said.

“Our last chapter,” Cincotta added.

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