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Spartans start league play with split

Forest Grove snaps Hilhi's 10-game win streak but the Spartans regroup to beat McMinnville


As far as conference openers go, last Friday’s between the Hillsboro and Forest Grove girls basketball teams was a pretty notable one — certainly the highlight contest in the league that night.by: HILLSBORO TRIBUNE PHOTO: CHASE ALLGOOD - Hillsboro sophomore Michaela Rogers blocks a shot by Forest Grove's Alyssa Villalobos during last Friday's game.

After all, the Spartans entered the game with a perfect 10-0 record. After playing a pretty solid nonconference schedule, the Lady Vikings sat at 7-3.

So while it is often difficult to predict how a high school sports contest will turn out, given the quality of the two teams, the scenario that played out Friday was one most in attendance probably did not see coming — a resounding 48-24 Forest Grove victory.

Playing with inspiration and poise on both sides of the ball, the Vikings raced out to a 10-0 lead inside the first three minutes and never looked back while snapping the Spartans’ win streak and superlative start to the season.

Afterward, Hilhi coach Sara Harsin was able to put her finger exactly on the difference between the two teams.

“They shot the ball well,” Harsin said. “We did not, period. We weren’t getting the looks. It wasn’t happening.”

Indeed, behind a combined 10 points from Emilia Anderson and Madi Andresen, the Vikings spurted out to that double-digit lead before the Spartans could even catch their breath and settle in.

Tarea Green then cut the lead to 10-2 on an assist from Lauren Lykins with about five minutes left in the first, but that was the first and only time the home side would trim its deficit to single digits.

“It just didn’t fall. We were waiting to get good looks, and we were being patient with it, which was awesome,” said Harsin, a Forest Grove grad who is in her first season as the Hilhi varsity coach and used to coach in the Vikings program.

“They were good shots that they were taking. It’s not like we were throwing up bad shots. We were actually taking good shots, but they weren’t falling.”

As evidence of Hilhi’s scoring woes, aside from Green — who scored a team-high 14 points — no other Spartan scored more than three points.

That undoubtedly difficult outing set up a situation Hilhi had not yet faced all season: having to bounce back from a loss. Heading into a Tuesday matchup against McMinnville, Harsin got the exact response she wanted from her team.

“We lost, we came in, we had a great practice Saturday after,” Harsin recalled. “It was probably one of the best practices we’ve had in about three weeks. We had a good practice (Monday).

“This group of kids doesn’t like to lose, and they showed it with what they did after that loss against Forest Grove. They came in with a new focus and it was, ‘Boom, this is what we’ve gotta do.’”

The payoff was a 51-40 home victory against the Grizzlies in which the Spartans jumped out to a 29-13 halftime lead and never looked back.

After having been shut out of the scoring column against the Vikings last week, Lykins — the Spartans’ senior all-conference guard — rebounded Tuesday with a game-high 20 points, many of them coming on layups and free throws.

Afterward, she reflected on the team’s recent growth.

“We were hoping to never lose. Obviously, that’s the ultimate goal,” Lykins said. “But I think it’s important for us to lose one, so then we can appreciate each win a little bit more. But I thought we came back a lot stronger this game.”

Green and Makenna Gambee added eight points each for Hilhi, which upped its record to 11-1 overall and 1-1 in league play heading into tonight’s road contest against Newberg. Of note, with their next victory, the Spartans will best their overall number of victories from last season.

The girls’ game tonight kicks off a varsity doubleheader at 5:45 p.m. The Spartans and Tigers boys will follow at 7:15.




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