COTTONWOOD – No. 8 Portola had to pick its poison Thursday against the top-seeded West Valley Eagles.
The Tigers had to choose: Jasee Heacock or Madalynn Bassett. Didn’t matter as the pair combined for 33 points as the Eagles defeated Portola 54-47 to advance to the CIF NorCal semifinals on Saturday against U-Prep, a 53-48 winner over Calaveras.
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Bassett and Heacock went to work early. Heacock scoring the very first basket of the game, then attacking the paint, finishing inside with tough and-one layups and knocking down jumpers. She finished with a game-high 17. West Valley’s leading scorer Bassett trailed with 16, shooting 7-of-12 from the field and drilling 2-of-5 from three.
Portola brought the intensity early answering a Heacock layup with a Margaret Canseco layup and left wing 3-pointer by Mya Wilson. Although, it was the Eagles’ 5-2 run to close the first that put them up five at the end of one.
“You got to give Portola a lot of credit,” West Valley coach Lenny Ehn said. “They were 30-3 on the season for a reason. “They have good ball players, they shoot and rebound well. They play hard from start to finish.”
“We told our girls going in how tough the game would be and we just needed to match the intensity. I think we stepped up and matched the intensity of a good team.”
In the second period, West Valley started to find their rhythm. Heacock took it inside for a layup and converted the old-fashioned 3-point play. She followed that with an assist to Rose Matthews on a layup to give the Eagles a 29-19 advantage heading into intermission.
And out of the break, the Eagles built their lead to 17 as a 10-3 mid-quarter run was sparked by Heacock’s and-1 layup, steal and layup in transition, Hannah Wayne’s putback layup and Heacock finding Bassett inside.
Entering the fourth, West Valley’s 17-point lead seemed to have them in control. However, Portola’s resilience saw them enter the bonus early as they knocked down 7-of-10 free-throws and a 3-pointer to pull within striking range with 2:51 remaining. Although, a backdoor cut layup from Heacock stopped the bleeding for the Eagles, holding on to win 54-47.
“I think the key was just talking on defense and relaxing instead of playing to their pace,” Bassett said. “They were playing at a fast pace and we started to keep with them and do the same.
“We talked as a team and said we need to play our game like we know how to play. We did that and we came out with the dub.”
West Valley improves to 25-8 and moves on to Round Four against its Northern Athletic League foe, which the Eagles have beaten three times already. The most recent win was 29-26 last Saturday in the Northern Section Division IV finals at Shasta College.
“We can’t get overconfident, even though we’ve beat them three times in the past. We got to come out strong, like we always do, this Saturday,” said Heacock.
No.1 West Valley 54, No.8 Portola 47
West Valley (25-8) 15-14-17-8-54
Portola (33-4) 10-9-10-18-47
Portola – Wilson 20, Canseco 10, Sheridan 5, Folchi 5, Ward 4, Klemesrud 2, Segna 1.
West Valley – Heacock 17, Bassett 16, Matthews 5, Baxter 4, Brown 4, Wayne 2, Steele 2, Kramer 2, Proscher 2.
3-Pointers- West Valley 2 (Bassett); Portola 5 (Wilson 4, Ward)
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