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Lady Timberwolves look for yet another upset

Woodcreek in San Jose to take on Presentation Panthers
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Two teams that may feel they are looking in the mirror will do battle Thursday night in San Jose, The Woodcreek High girls basketball team is on its way to San Jose after a first-round road playoff win in Chico Tuesday night. The No. 11 seeded Lady Timberwolves rode a 38-point night from forward Jennifer Judge to upset No. 6 Chico, but now the taks gest even harder in round two of the CIF Division II Basketball Championships. Northern California No. 3 seed Presentation of San Jose had a bye in the initial round of the state tournament, and the Panthers will be waiting for Woodcreek Thursday night. Both teams like to trap in the half-court and mix in a littler full-court pressure and both have 5-foot-10 wing players who can fill it up from long range. For Woodcreek, that role belongs to Judge, and for Presentation, it is junior Chelsea Punian. Junior Nici Gilday is the leading scorer for the Panthers, and at 5-9 she likes to take the ball into the lane. That is particularly solid strategy for her because she hits 90 percent of her free throws. While Woodcreek (22-9) is battle tested as a result of playing a full season in the Sierra Foothill League, the Panthers (18-11) have had to battle their way through the Bay Area equivalent, the Western Catholic Athletic League, where Presentation also lost four league games. That league includes D-II top seed Archbishop Mitty and also to teams still alive in the D-III race in Valley Christian of San Jose and St. Ignatius of San Francisco. "Their best two players were out about six games of league, hence the fourth place finish in a very tough league," said Woodcreek coach Ray Beck. "This is a game that we are capable of winning, we just need to play some very good aggressive basketball which is what you would expect to have to do at this point. Maybe we'll continue to surprise some people. I'm really proud of these girls." Maya Cabiness will need to have a strong game in the Woodcreek backcourt, and Cara Jones will need to be strong in the middle to give this team a chance at another postseason upset. The winner gets the survivor of Thursday night's St. Francis of Sacramento vs. Carondelet of Concord contest in a Saturday Nor Cal semifinal. Thursday's game tips off at 7 p.m. in San Jose.