- Associated Press - Saturday, March 15, 2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) - Junior Olivia Gulliford scored 16 points as top-seeded Sutherlin capped its undefeated season with a 52-40 win over second-seed La Salle Saturday in the 4A state championship.

Sophomore Kayce Mock added 15 points and nine rebounds for Sutherlin (27-0), which became the first school of its size to end the season undefeated since Burns in 2006.

“It’s unreal right now,” said Gulliford, who added that her team’s goal was to win every game this year.

And with only one senior on the roster, the Bulldogs seem poised to repeat. “I think we have a really good chance,” Gulliford said. “We work our butts off.”

Sterling Smith scored 15 points and Aleah Goodman added 11 for the Falcons (25-2).

The game was, for the most part, a scrappy, back-and-forth contest before Sutherlin pulled away in the fourth quarter. Sutherlin shot 42 percent from the floor, compared to 23 percent for La Salle.

The Bulldogs took the opening tip and Gulliford made a lay-in three seconds into the game. The Bulldogs forced two turnovers and a jump ball on La Salle’s first three possessions and led 4-0.

But the Falcons clawed back with their own defensive intensity.

The first quarter ended with Sutherlin up 12-9. Goodman made a 3-pointer to start the second quarter and tie the score.

Sutherlin went into the break up 18-16. Gulliford played only five minutes in the half as she collected an early second foul.

She led the team averaging 15 points in the Bulldogs’ first two tourney games, which both turned into blowouts.

Sutherlin took a quick five-point lead in the third-quarter, but the Falcons recovered, taking a 24-23 lead on a Swift lay-in at the 1:31 mark.

The Bulldogs led 28-25 entering the fourth quarter. Mock made a lay-in, was fouled and sank the free throw with 5:16 remaining to stretch the Sutherlin lead to 38-29.

The Bulldogs, the Far West League champions, took third place at state in 2013 and lost the title game in 2012. Sutherlin’s last state championship in girls basketball came in 2008.

Sutherlin has had only four games this year decided by 13 points of less, including the championship game.

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