The Portola Lady Tigers basketball squad advanced to the North Section semifinals last week with a pair of playoff wins at home. The girls defeated the Durham High Trojans 47 to 43 on Tuesday, Feb. 22, and then whipped the Quincy Trojans 55 to 33 Saturday, Feb. 26.
The Durham girls came to Portola looking to avenge an early season loss to the Lady Tigers. However, the Cats pounced on the Trojans early and by the end of the opening act, led 10 to 6. In the second quarter, the Fighting Tigers outscored Durham by five points to lead 24 to 15 at intermission.
A key factor was Portola’s aggressive full court trapping press. They kept relentless pressure on the Lady Trojans, nabbing 15 steals in the first half. After the break, Durham came back hard and gained three points on the Tigers, closing to within six points after the third period. The final frame was intense as both teams turned up the heat. The referees were busy, and both squads went into double bonus as the fouls piled up.
Durham took advantage of numerous trips to the foul line to chip away at the lead, but the Cats hit their share of free throws as well. Overall, Durham hit 20 out of 35, while Portola drained 17 out of 37 giving Durham a three-point edge from the line. It wasn’t enough, however, as the Tigers kept the defensive pressure up and made the shots every time it looked like Durham was on a run. At the buzzer, the Lady Cats were on top 47 to 43.
Lindsay Compton picked off five steals to lead Portola, while senior Ellie Kibble, senior Anna Roach and freshman Rachel Wehrman swiped three each. Lucy Wilbanks swatted away two shots, and stole two. Total steals for the Cats: 24. Leading the scoring for the Purple and White was sophomore center Kaitlin Boyd tallying 12 points; Roach, Kibble, and Compton sank seven apiece, and Lucy Wilbanks netted five. The Tigers were strong under the glass as they have been all year, with Roach grabbing eight rebounds, while Marissa Wehrman, Boyd and Wilbanks pulled down seven each.
Next on the Tigers’ dance card was a rematch with the Lady Trojans from Quincy. The Red and White spoiled Portola’s perfect record at home on Feb. 8, 34 to 47, and the Lady Cats were looking for revenge.
Once again the Tigers came out hard and fast in their full court trapping press. Their aggressive defensive play caused numerous Quincy turnovers: 16 in the first half, and 30 for the game. The Portola girls capitalized on most of the steals, putting 27 points on the board to Quincy’s 14 at the halftime break. In spite of two power outages, the Cats kept the pressure on in the third quarter, outscoring Quincy by five points to lead 42 to 24 going in the last period. The Lady Tigers smelled victory as the clock ticked down, and kept up the pressure on the Trojans. At the final horn, the Tigers closed the book on Quincy 55 to 33.
The Tiger offense was well distributed. Once again leading the Cats in scoring was Boyd with 11, Emma Briggs with 10, Marissa Wehrman with seven, Roach and Rachel Wehrman with six each and Compton, Bailey Holt and Wilbanks with five each. Roach led the Tiger rebounders, collecting nine; Compton and Boyd grabbed three apiece; and Marissa Wehrman, Holt and Wilbanks wrestled down two each.
The two victories improve the Lady Tigers’ overall record to 24 and 3, and put them in the Northern Section Division 5 semifinal against Colusa on Tuesday, March 1. No scores were available at press time.