The Tigard Tigers (2-0) girls basketball team led from start to finish in a 57-48 win over the Sunset Apollos (0-1) Thursday night at Sunset High School.
Elise Conroy led the Tigers with 20 points, ten in each half. The 6’3″ senior post provided problems for a young Sunset team that lacked depth, and whose tallest player is 5’10”.
The Tigers jumped out to an 18-5 lead in the first quarter. Conroy’s size forced the Apollos to rely on outside shots.The Apollos were getting open looks, but failed to make a three-pointer the entire first half. Meanwhile, the Tigers moved the ball swiftly around the outside before finding a teammate inside for easy looks at the rim.
However, Sunset was able to force turnovers as Tigard’s ball movement stagnated in the second quarter. Maddie Mulheim took advantage with eight of her ten points in the first half. The teams stayed even throughout the second quarter as the Tigers took a 29-16 lead into the locker room.
The Apollos came out with a new-found aggression to start the second half. A layup by Rose Pflug cut the deficit to 29-23. However, Tigard responded by feeding Conroy in the paint, as she scored eight points in the quarter. The Tigers responded with a 12-5 run to maintain a 41-28 lead heading into the final eight minutes.
Senior guard Kaylie Boschma scored eight of her ten points in the fourth quarter to put Tigard ahead 53-36. Despite the efforts of Sunset’s Rose Pflug, who scored all 19 of her points in the second half, Sunset was never able to pull within single digits until Pflug’s final basket at the buzzer.
Steve Naylor, Tigard Head Coach
1.) Two wins in two days for your team. What do you think about the performance tonight?
“We were a little more offensive tonight than we were last night. We got bogged down and had 16 points at half last game. Tonight, we came out and executed our offense. Then, we got a lead of 15 points, and what I didn’t like is we stopped running our offense. We were jacking up shots we don’t want to shoot, then they cut the lead back and we were in a struggle the rest of the game.”
2.) It looked like you were really focusing on ball movement in the first half.
“Yeah, we were trying to get the ball to Conroy by moving the ball around. They double-teamed her a lot. We just had a lot of errant passes that really hurt us.”
3.) What’s it like to have a 6’3″ post player like Conroy?
“It’s great. If she’s working hard and the girls are working hard, she’s very tough down there. It’s great to have her.”
4.) What impact does she have defensively?
“She’s huge. We’re playing zone and she’s actually a lot quicker than people think. Her ability to block shots and change shots is huge.”
5.) What does your team need to do when they get a big lead to keep adding to it?
“We just need to be more patient on offense. We were playing like we were down six instead of up 15. We just need to move the ball and get great shots. They switched it up between man and zone. We got great shots against both of them, but you don’t do that after two passes and that’s what we were doing.”
6.) What is the biggest strength of your team right now?
“I don’t know. We’re still figuring that out. We lost Faithe Wantland, who was a starter, in the first game. So, we had Ashley Holzgang start tonight. It’s hard to say. We might be physically and mentally pretty tough. We’re just not there yet. I’m hoping that’s where we’re headed.”
7.) What is the biggest area of improvement you’re looking for right now?
“That’s just too many points to give up. There was three-pointers everywhere. We play zone, but one of our goals is not to give up threes. We did not play a good zone defense tonight. We just got to get better.”
Sarah Griffin, Sunset Head Coach
1.) It was your team’s first game. How do you think they played?
“They played hard. We don’t have a lot of depth with six varsity girls ready to go. We had three JV girls on the bench, helping us out. I really couldn’t ask more from them, especially this early in the season. Most of them played 28-32 minutes. I’m proud of the effort they gave.”
2.) What do you think your team did well?
“I thought we did well adjusting defensively. The 2-3 zone, we had a hard time covering backside. But, we were able to cover the inside much better. We did pick up man-to-man full court. I thought that worked really well for us. We also did 1-3-1 press. Being able to switch it up, they were good being on top of that. Obviously, there was a mismatch with No. 12 (Conroy) inside. Offensively, we knocked down some shots. We still need to be a little more aggressive.”
3.) It looked like your team opened the second half more aggressive.
“Yeah, I also attribute it partially to preseason nerves. It’s been a little bit of time since we played together. At halftime, I just told them to be aggressive and attack the rim. You saw that a lot from Rose Pflug.”
4.) Rose had 19 points in the second half. Is she going to be the consistent leading scorer of your team?
“It’s going to be someone different every night. Last night at Hillsboro, we saw good things from Cassidy Kroon and Maddie Muhlheim. It’s going to really depend on the game. She (Rose) really did lead us tonight, especially in the second half.”
5.) What do you think is the biggest strength of your team?
“Their biggest strength is that they’re relentless. With the six players we had, it would have been easy just to give up. But, they were consistent and kept going at it. We were hovering at that ten-point mark. They competed for 32 minutes and that’s what I need from them.”
6.) What’s going to be the biggest area of improvement for your team?
“I think a few things here and there defensively. Offensively, it’s just going to be a matter of playing together and developing that chemistry. I’m confident we’ll be able to get there and that there will be some really good things. In the meantime, it’s going to be a process.”