Not used to being on the wrong end of a lopsided final score, the Wilson High girls basketball team got served a big slice of humble pie on Friday night.
And for a team with Class 3A state title aspirations, the Rams sure didn’t like how it tasted.
Visiting Oregon Class 6A powerhouse and nationally ranked Oregon City High came into the Wilson gym and decisively handed the Rams their first loss of the season, 84-38.
“(The loss shows) we are not as good as we think,” said Wilson senior guard Bethany Montgomery. “We have a lot of work to do if we want to reach our goal, which is winning state. We’ve got to be more disciplined, we’ve got to hustle, we’ve got to listen — and have more heart.”
Ranked No. 11 in the nation by USA Today, the Pioneers – who have won 11 Oregon state championships over the past 20 years – showed their talent early, racing to a 22-13 lead after the first quarter. Wilson, the fourth-ranked 3A team in the state, kept within striking distance until six minutes remained in the first half when Montgomery picked up her third foul and went to the bench.
Oregon City (7-0) proceeded to hold the Rams scoreless until halftime, rattling off a 21-0 run to put the game out of reach.
“There were a lot of kids today that were scared to be the option,” Wilson coach Michelle Birge said of the second-quarter run. “I don’t mean scared in a bad way, but they weren’t mentally prepared. They weren’t mentally prepared to step up, an.htmld we have to get better at that.”
Oregon City looked like a finely-tuned machine, scoring on a variety of backdoor cuts, jumpers and long 3-pointers – what one would expect from a team with four players already committed to playing at the college level.
The Pioneers’ defense forced Wilson (4-1) into 12 turnovers in the fateful second quarter.
“We have known all along that we’re working on being mentally tough,” Birge said. “That doesn’t mean that we’re weak. Sometimes we’re just not as strong in the game when we’re faced with an opponent that is competitive with us.”
Montgomery had two points at halftime and eventually fouled out with 5:42 left. She finished with nine points.
“That’s usually our (final) scores, so we know how that feels now,” the senior said of her team’s final deficit. “And I don’t ever want to feel that again. So I’m going to be going hard. I can’t speak for the rest of my teammates – I hope they do – but I’m going to be working out three times a day trying to go hard.”
Tia Briggs added 10 points and 11 rebounds for Wilson.
Oregon City had 12 players score at least one point, led by Metro State recruit Jenae Paine, who finished with 16.
“Our coach stresses mental toughness but we proved tonight that we’re not there yet,” Montgomery said. “I still think we can get there.”