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The beat goes on, Valiants crush Cougars


by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic post Kim Duyck looks for an open teammate against Portland Adventist.

Is anybody in the Lewis and Clark League going to dare goad the Valley Catholic girls’ basketball team into a competitive contest anytime soon?

The short answer? No.

Corbett tried to run with the Valiants’ stable of racehorses and got trampled by 18.

Oregon Episcopal School hung tough for a half and ended up getting housed by 15.

Heck, Catlin Gabel was beat down by 48 points and didn’t bother to show up for the rematch.

On Tuesday, Portland Adventist Academy was the latest league squad to get a licking laid on them, 67-28 at the expense of a Valiant team that’s making its league look like child’s play.

Valley’s too skilled outside, too mountainous inside and too hungry as a team for the LCL’s opposition. Its true tests won’t come until the postseason that commences in two weeks and hopefully stretches into the first week of May for the 3A state tournament. Still, the Valiants are thinking of every league foe as a tourney-worthy team while being mindful that better competition lies in wait.

“We don’t want to get complacent,” said senior post Kim Duyck. “We want to fight hard against teams because it’s going to be a long journey until the end, when the hard games happen. We’re trying to act like these are the hard games, so we can keep it going.”

“Every game we go in with a faceless opponent,” added junior post Bailey McDevitt. “We just go in and play our game. We don’t worry about who we’re playing. We just work on what we do. We play as a team together, go out there and play hard.”

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic forward Kaylynn Bush goes up high for two off the window against Portland Adventist.

Powering into the paint

Valley forced nine turnovers in the first quarter, and got out to 10-0 lead thanks to six points from Kaylynn Bush, four from Duyck and four rebounds from McDevitt. Addie Flemmer chipped in six points, including a lay-up off a fastbreak pass from Bush to go up 21-8 at the end of the first quarter.

McDevitt was the Valiants’ kingpin in the second quarter, scoring eight points powering into the paint for lay-ups and knocking down mid-range jumpers. Bush bore through the PAA defense with strong left-handed drives to the cup, and Duyck drilled a pair of baseline jumpers to give Valley a 35-12 lead at halftime.

PAA tried to combat Valley’s size and athleticism with a 2-3 zone, but the Valiants disintegrated the defense with succinct passing, particularly from post-to-post. Valley’s triple tower trio of Kaylynn Bush, Bailey McDevitt and Kim Duyck dissected PAA with their willingness to share the sugar from the high post and cut hard to open areas of the defense to catch the ball in ideal scoring areas.

“We play well together, and we really replace each other well when we go out to the wings,” said Duyck. “We really communicate and talk to each other. If there’s a problem we say, ‘Hey, look at this and try to fix it.’ We’re not afraid to hold each other accountable.”

Bush, McDevitt and Duyck are all 5-foot-8 or taller, which gives the Valiants a decided height advantage over any team in the LCL, or any squad in 3A for that matter. Valley knows where its bread is buttered too, so while the Valiants are surefooted relying on threes and the perimeter game, the guards ensure their posts are well-fed when it comes to entry passes and paint touches.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic guard Lindsie LaBonte drives to the basket for two points in the second quarter of the Valiants' win over Portland Adventist.

“That’s a really big strength,” said Duyck. “We try to keep the ball high and be strong with the ball so we can keep it away from smaller people. Our offense has gotten so much better than last year. We’re so much more prepared to get the ball.”

Playing with fire

Teams have tried to pick their poison against Valley’s stature by choosing a post to double and getting the ball out of say, McDevitt or Duyck’s hands on the block. That, however, leaves the opposite pivot open to dive to the rim for high-low dishes and either finish or get fouled and go to the charity stripe. All three forwards are good passers, so when opponents try to take one Valiant away, that targeted post is willing to allocate the orange. Each of the Valiant posts scored in double figures against PAA.

“Unselfishness is definitely key,” said McDevitt. “It’s good to stay strong when you get doubled and being able to see the floor from the high post, squaring up, being strong and looking down low.”

Towering over PAA, the Valiants pounded the glass with persistence for four quarters, doubling up their LCL foe in the rebounding category and putting offensive boards back in for hoops. Duyck and McDevitt padded their scoring totals with offensive putbacks in the fourth and helped extend Valley’s lead to 67-28.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Valley Catholic's Addie Flemmer (left) and Kaylynn Bush (right) swarm a Portland Adventist point guard in the first quarter of the Valiants' win on Tuesday.

McDevitt said the Valiants struggled rebounding the ball last year during their state championship run, which hindered the squad’s offensive potential and explosiveness. However, Valley’s thoroughness on the glass this season has yielded bonus possessions, second-chance opportunities and a higher amount of points per game. By hitting the glass, Valley’s been able to profit on its biggest strength, literally and figuratively.

“Rebounding’s all about wanting the ball and heart,” said McDevitt. “There’s not much technique to it. It’s all about going up hard for the ball and playing with fire.”