CORVALLIS – Silverton may not be the team to beat in the OSAA Class 5A girls state tournament, but don’t overlook the defending state champions.
The Foxes rolled to a 51-27 victory over No. 6 seed Hillsboro on Wednesday in the quarterfinals at Gill Coliseum.
No. 3 seed Silverton (20-4) plays No. 2 seed Corvallis in the semifinals at 8:15 p.m. Thursday.
Junior wing Maggie Roth scored nine of her game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter, including a top-of-the key 3-pointer that pushed the lead to 20 points with 3:34 remaining.
Silverton, which went unbeaten last season, is making another run despite the graduation of 5A Player of the Year Alia Parsons, who averaged 23 points a game last season. Parsons is a freshman at Grand Canyon University.
But with four starters back – Roth, senior wing Hannah Munson, senior center Kayce McLaughlin, and senior wing Hailey Smisek – the Foxes have a wealth of tournament experience.
“I think it helps a lot that we’re experienced and we know what to expect and what’s gonna happen and what the environment’s gonna be like,” said Roth, who was 7 of 9 from the field and had a team-high seven rebounds.
Head coach Tal Wold credits his players for maintaining a high level of play without last season’s leading scorer.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s a boys game or a girls game, you lose somebody that scored 23 a game, that is so hard to find,” Wold said. “But it helps having those girls on the floor, and so many of them play other sports.”
Hillsboro (16-10) cut a 16-point halftime lead to 10 after three quarters, but a 7-0 Silverton run led early in the fourth quarter led by Roth and McLaughlin put the Foxes back in command at 43-25.
“Momentum’s so big in high school sports and I thought we kind of let them have it a little bit and got a little tentative and looking at the clock,” Wold said. “For us, just play.”
And that’s exactly what Silverton did by outscoring Hillsboro 18-4 in a dominant fourth quarter.
McLaughlin joined Roth in double figures with 13 points. Munson added seven points. Katherine Salas led Hillsboro with 11 points.
Silverton started the game hot, converting four 3-pointers in the first quarter for a 16-6 lead, and never trailed.
The Foxes shot 37 percent from the field and their strong man-to-man defense limited Hillsboro to 29.7 percent shooting. Silverton also had a 34-29 advantage on the boards and forced 18 turnovers.
No. 1 seed LaSalle Prep plays No. 5 seed Bend in Thursday’s first semifinal.
ghorowitz@StatesmanJournal.com, or Twitter.com/ghorowitz
SILVERTON 51, HILLSBORO 27
Hillsboro – 6-5-12-4 – 27
Silverton – 16-11-6-18-51
Hillsboro: Salas 11, Wilson 8, Gambee 7, Dy 1, Mosley, Jenkins, Promise, Theang, Minoli, Fernstrom, Johnson, Rodriguez. Total: 11 2-10 27
Silverton: Roth 19, McLaughlin 13, Munson 7, McCarty 4, H. Smisek 3, E Smisek 3, Meraz 2, Alexander, Ulven, Leggett, Rand. Totals: 17 11-5 51
3-pointers: Hillsboro 3 (Salas 3); Silverton 6 (Munson, Roth, McLaughlin, McCarty, H. Smisek, E Smisek)