Portola Tigers advance to semifinals
Portola senior Lindsey Compton gets under the hoop. In last Thursday’s quarterfinal match, Compton made a game-saving basket at the final buzzer to put the match into overtime. Photo by Shannon Morrow
The Portola High School girls’ basketball team won two playoff games at home last week to advance to the Northern Section Division V semifinals.
The Portola Tigers, seeded second, hosted third-seeded Colusa in the semifinal round Tuesday, Feb. 28. The results weren’t known at press time, but will be posted on plumasnews.com.
If Portola defeated Colusa, the Tigers will compete in the Northern Section championship match at Chico State University this Saturday, March 3.
To reach the semifinals, the Tigers beat Chester 58-44 in their first playoff game Feb. 21 and then eliminated Weed 42-34 in overtime Feb. 23.
In their opening playoff game against Chester, the Tigers built a 16-9 advantage by the end of the first quarter and led 32-19 by halftime.
At the end of the third quarter, the score was 45-26 in favor of Portola. The Tigers eased off in the final period and Chester scored 18 points, but Portola still came away with a 14-point victory.
Two nights later, Portola faced stiff competition against the 10th-seeded Weed Cougars, who were coming off a 50-42 upset of Tulelake in their first playoff match.
Weed jumped out to a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter and was ahead 23-15 at halftime.
The Tigers clawed their way back into the game after the break, outscoring Weed by five points through the third quarter to cut their deficit to three.
In the fourth quarter, Portola trailed 33-29 with less than a minute remaining in the game, until Marissa Wehrman sank a critical shot to put the Tigers within two points.
Clinging to a 33-31 lead, Weed was doing its best to run out the clock, but a penalty gave Portola the ball back with nine seconds remaining.
The Tigers’ first inbound pass proved fruitless after another Weed foul, but Portola maintained possession with five seconds left in the game.
With one last chance to score, the Tigers got the ball to senior Lindsey Compton. After pausing at the three-point line just enough to draw two defenders up, Compton shot around both Weed players and muscled her way to a difficult layup, which fell though the net as the final buzzer sounded.
The Portola gymnasium exploded with celebration, as the Tigers put the game into overtime and narrowly avoided elimination.
In the overtime period, Portola had no problem putting the game away, outscoring Weed 9-1 for a 42-34 victory.
The win was very reminiscent of four years earlier, also in a quarterfinal playoff match at home, when the Lady Tigers similarly avoided elimination with a buzzer beater by Compton’s older sister, Emily.
Portola, with an overall record of 24-4 going into last night’s semifinal match, won this year’s Mid-Valley South League.