Starting instead of coming off the bench, Beaverton’s energizer bunny Allie Mueller brought the same kind of defensive exuberance that’s expected of the junior guard against Central Catholic on Friday.

Mueller’s teammates, in succession, were just as salty defensively and railroaded the Rams with a third quarter effort that blew the game wide open for a 69-24 win in the first round of the Lake Oswego Shootout on Friday.

Mueller was at the front of the Beavers’ attacking fullcourt trap that morphed into a wide-ranging 2-3 zone in halfcourt scenarios.

Poking and prodding at the basketball while using her quickness to beat the Rams’ guards to their preferred spots on the floor, Mueller notched five steals and headed a Beaverton defense that was prickly all night.

“Steals really turn the game around and give us the momentum going forward,” said Mueller. “On top (of the zone) we just want to stay in front of them, get steals and lay-ups and quick points.”

Starting in the place of the injured Tayllor Christiansen, Mueller impacted the game with her tireless energy and desire to defend Central Catholic’s best perimeter players. Being a part of the starting five has helped Mueller get her energy going earlier in the game, particularly on defense.

“If I can get a couple quick steals, I feel that’s a great way to start the momentum,” said Mueller. “That’s a way to put the other team on their heels and get us going.”

Up 32-19 at halftime, Beaverton bowled over Central Catholic with strong-armed, nagging fullcourt defense that kindled 10-second violations, over-and-back blunders and double-dribble infractions.

Mueller and Danielle Hartzog scored off steals while Shaunta Jackson tallied six points in the post off dishes from Alyssa Christiansen.

“We were really playing well together,” said Hartzog. “We were on the same page up top and on the wings on defense. We had good chemistry on the court and were able to work together to make stops and get steals.”

Dagny McConnell dropped in a jump hook and scored off an offensive board. Sydney Boechler’s three from the right corner capped an incredible two-way effort by Beaverton who raced to a 55-24 lead at the end of the third.

by: TIMES PHOTO: MATT SINGLEDECKER - Beaverton senior post Shaunta Jackson goes up for a basket.

Trapping and hammering the Rams on defense helped mix up Central Catholic’s halfcourt offense and allowed the Beavers to get a good offensive rhythm going in transition.

“We’ve been putting in new things and working really hard in practice so we can get stops like we did today,” said Hartzog. “We want to be a defense-first team that wins games like this. Our goal every game is to improve defensively and keep that going.”

McConnell opened the fourth with a lay-up and Boechler and Alyssa Christiansen buried a pair of threes each to push the advantage out to 66-24.

“We slowed down a lot more on offense,” said Jackson. “We looked at our open players and knocked down shots consistently. It was good to come out strong, get the win and play hard. That’s what we all want.”

Hartzog had a first half to savor, scoring 17 points in the first 16 minutes of action by wearing out the right wing and abusing the middle of Central Catholic’s defense.

The Rams closed on Hartzog— a good outside shooter— which allowed the all-league guard to pump fake, attack the lane in one or two dribbles and either hit the mid-range jumper or get all the way to the rim for bunnies.

Hartzog scored Beaverton’s first seven points of the first quarter. On one possesion, Hartzog missed a free throw, but rebounded her own miss, hopped into the lane and finished.

The following possession, Hartzog caught a pass along the right baseline, and finger rolled home a lefty offering to give Beaverton a 7-0 lead.

Mueller’s three from the right corner, and Jackson’s over-the-left-shoulder jump hook helped hand the Beavers a 16-5 lead at the end of the first quarter.

“I was just trying to be aggressive,” said Hartzog, who finished with 25 points and 5 assists. “I wanted to make shots on the break, finish, look for good passes to my teammates.”

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