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Beaver girls get feet wet against Lynnwood

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton guard Danielle Herzog, right, fights away a trap.

The defending Metro League girls’ basketball champs didn’t particularly play or look the part in their season opener against Lynnwood (Wash.) on Friday.

Floored by the Royals’ fleet guards, and versatile posts who could pound the ball on the block or make it rain from the outside, Beaverton was beat up, 61-38, in the first round of the Northwest Invitational.

“We aren’t really used to that tempo yet, so we’re just glad we got that experience early,” said junior post Dagny McConnell. “We need to run a lot in practice to improve our speed and tempo because they were just so fast. We weren’t used to that tempo. We weren’t really able to adjust to it, but it’s good to play a team like that.”

Not that the veteran-savvy Beavers are panicking at all. This is a team, after all, that only lost one game in the Metro League last year and brings back most of its 2012-13 stars.

The ball plainly didn’t bounce the Beavers’ way against Lynnwood — a team that’s been to the WIAA state tournament three out of the past four years and has a 61-12 record over the past three seasons. Up just 28-22 at halftime, Lynnwood opened the third quarter by making five of its first six shots to open up a 44-33 lead. Then, the Royals started the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run held the Beavers to just six points in the final stanza.

“I thought if we had come out stronger in the third, then things could’ve been different,” said junior forward Gigi Stoll. “But, we came out pretty soft ,and they once again dictated tempo right from the start. I don’t think we were ready for that.”

Stoll and Taylor Christiansen both scored five points each in the third, but it wasn’t enough to stem Lynnwood’s tide. Beaverton tried to run pace-for-pace with the rapid Royals, yet couldn’t fully keep up when Lynnwood hit the gas offensively in transition.

“We were playing at a faster pace and we struggled to calm down,” added sophomore guard Alyssa Christiansen. “We needed to slow down our offense.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior post Dagny McConnell, left, drives to the cup against Lynwood.

“We could’ve been more confident with the ball in our hands and passed it better,” said sophomore Tayllor Christiansen.

Stoll said Lynnwood had the summer to play together and pick up valuable team chemistry on the hardwood, whereas Beaverton’s readjusting to each other’s games in the preseason. A lot of what the Beavers did on both ends of the floor just felt a hair off, whether it was the ball rimming on after a great offensive possesion, or pass being a second late, or a defender being half a step slow to rotate.

But, as Stoll pointed out, that’s what the preseason is for, to iron out the wrinkles.

“It was tough trying to go in there and dictate tempo when they’ve been playing together,” said Stoll. “They know how to run things. We’ve been trying to run some new defenses, and I think we kind of got mixed up. They got hot, and there’s nothing you can really do about that.”

“We definitely needed to start making shots and get our butts into people and block them out,” added McConnell. “We got outrebounded, and they hit shots, which killed us.”

Beaverton competed tough in the first half with McConnell and Shaunta Jackson dropping in jump hooks in the first quarter and Stoll draining a pull-up jumper.

In the second quarter, Danielle Herzog picked Lynnwood’s point guard clean and finished a lay-up at the other end. Tayllor Christiansen hit two free throws, and Stoll’s right-to-left crossover freed herself to bury a left corner triple that brought Beaverton within 20-18 with 4:34 to go.

The Beavers increased their defensive passion and limited Lynnwood’s second shot opportunities on the glass, which led to better looks for Stoll and Tayllor Christiansen.

“We were really hustling on defense,” said Tayllor Christiansen. “We were trying hard to intercept passes and make their point guard nervous and turn the ball over. We tried to disrupt the posts too.”

The Beavers have a week off before playing three games in four days starting on Dec. 18 against St. Mary’s Academy.

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