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Girls team suffers first loss, takes 7th

Lions grind out two wins but fall in second round to South Salem


by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - West Linn's Caitlin Malvar makes a drive along the baseline during the Lions' opening round win at the Nike Interstate Shootout. West Linn knocked off Union in the game at Lake Oswego High School.The West Linn girls basketball team played three challenging games to open the Nike Interstate Shootout and saw that the opposition is no longer taking the Lions lightly.

West Linn fended off a late push from Union, Wash., in its opener, then fell to an inspired South Salem team looking to exact some revenge from an earlier loss.

The Lions then had to hold on to knock off a Lake Oswego team that is vastly improved and one that appears ready to compete in the Three Rivers League again.

The Lions saw another league rival Monday and fell to Clackamas in the fourth-place game.

In West Linn's opener, it took a quarter for the Lions to find their footing. A banked 3-pointer from Taylor Enders-Smith gave West Linn an 11-8 lead after the first quarter and the Lions then started to take control early in the second.

Strong drives from Sidney Kolasinski keyed an 8-1 run to open the period and a stingy West Linn defense held Union to just 13 first-half points as West Linn went up 25-13.

However, Union battled back quickly and heated up from the outside. West Linn also found itself in foul trouble with both Kolasinski and Morgan Haskin being saddled.

Union cut the lead to six points until a late three from Kolasinski stopped the bleeding. However, Union scored more points in the third quarter than it did in the entire first half.

West Linn's offense struggled early in the fourth quarter as the team settled for jump shots that weren't falling.

With 2:40 to play in the game, Union cut the lead to 40-38 but the Lions answered with a three-point play by Haskin.

Union missed key free throws down the stretch but the Lions were clutch. Ashley Johnson knocked down 3-of-4 attempts from the line and Haskin hit a pair to seal the win for West Linn.

In the second round, the Lions took on South Salem for the second time this year. While West Linn shut down the Saxons' potent offense earlier in the season, South Salem had more answers this time around.

The Lions were admirable defensively but it was South Salem's defense that won the day.

The Saxons built an early lead and West Linn could never find its rhythm on offense, falling 53-39.

In consolation, West Linn took on a young Lake Oswego team that is improving with each game.

Despite the Lions' recent success against the Lakers, the team was not intimidated in the least.

Both teams were slow out of the gate but West Linn did well to force turnovers and contest shots. Similarly to the Union game, the Lions built a lead and were in control for much of the contest but couldn't put the game away.

The Lakers made a valiant effort to stay within striking distance but West Linn played well enough when it needed to down the stretch to avoid a two-game losing streak.




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