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Vikings stay busy with three wins

The Forest Grove boys basketball team stayed busy during the holiday break, winning two of its three games at the Saxon Winter Tournament in Salem just after Christmas, then following it up with a nonleague victory over Lakeridge last Friday.

The Vikings (6-3) notched convincing wins over Dallas and Corvallis at the tournament, but fell to host South Salem to ultimately finish in third place.

Several different players stepped up along the way, but none were steadier than senior Michael Garcia, who averaged 19.7 points per game during the tournament while shooting nearly 50 percent (13-for-28) from 3-point range.

It was Garcia’s 22-point outburst that sparked the Vikings to a 72-48 romp over Corvallis in the tournament opener on Dec. 26. Angler Emerick contributed 16 points in the victory, and Andrew O’Donnell came off the bench to score 17 points on near-perfect 8-of-9 shooting from the field.

Forest Grove ran into trouble the next night against hot-shooting South Salem, which held on for an 80-71 victory that bounced the Vikings from title contention. Garcia had 23 points in that game, including 5-of-11 3-point shooting, and Emerick added 20 points and 11 rebounds.

The Vikings righted the ship in the third-place game against Dallas, racing to a 75-56 win over the Dragons. Four Forest Grove players cracked double figures in that contest, led by Emerick’s 19-point, 13-rebound performance. Taylor Jensen added 17 points and seven assists, Zac Collins had 15 points and Garcia finished with 14.

After a short break to celebrate the new year, Forest Grove was back in action last Friday with a 71-59 nonconference victory against Lakeridge. This time, Jensen led the way with 20 points and eight assists, while Emerick notched another double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. Garcia and Ben Godfrey finished with 15 points apiece.

Forest Grove, which has climbed to seventh in the Class 6A OSAA rankings, will open Pacific Conference play on Friday with a road game against Hillsboro.

Banks takes 2nd at Sisters Tourney

The Banks girls basketball team kicked off the new year with a second-place performance at the Sisters Tournament last week, outlasting La Grande and tourney host Sisters in the first two rounds before falling to 7th-ranked Philomath in the championship game.

Banks (6-4) opened the tournament with a narrow 41-39 win over La Grande last Thursday. The score was tied at 29-all heading into the fourth quarter, but Banks sophomore Megan Bunn scored six of her 10 points in the final stanza to help lift the Lady Braves to victory. Amy Hilger and Ariel Slifka scored 12 points apiece for Banks, and Mary Schorn had seven.

The next night, Banks used a more balanced scoring effort to get past Sisters, 44-38. Schorn scored a team-high 10 points, while six other players made it into the scorebook. Bunn and Hannah VanDomelen had eight points apiece, and Hilger added seven more.

The Lady Braves’ tournament run ended short of a championship, however, as Philomath’s stingy defense was too much in a 46-34 loss in the finals on Saturday. The Warriors jumped out to a 12-6 lead in the first quarter and stretched it to 26-17 by halftime.

Madison Soper scored a team-high 10 points in the loss, while Slifka had nine and Lauren Birr added six.

Banks will continue tuning up for Cowapa League play with a nonleague contest against Gladstone on Friday. That game is set for a 7 p.m. tip at Banks High.