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Cavs top No. 3 Lions in a barnburner

The Cavaliers score the last 11 points in a 48-39 victory


by: JON HOUSE - Clackamas senior post Erica Pagano (right) gets the jump on West Linn sophomore Caitlin Malvar (3) as they battle inside during last Fridays game at West Linn.WEST LINN — Clackamas survived an early-game shooting slump to rally from behind for a 48-39 win over West Linn in a Friday night defensive slugfest between two of the state’s top Class 6A high school girls basketball teams.

The Lions entered the contest ranked No. 3 in the state in the OSAA RPI rankings, while the Cavaliers entered the contest ranked No. 4.

Clackamas trailed 8-2 at the end of the first period, after going one-for-seven from the field.

Rallying around the sharp outside shooting of 5-8 junior Sidney Kolasinski (17 points, four 3-pointers), the Lions widened the gap to 10 points by early in the third quarter.

It was still a 10-point game, at 35-25, when Kolasinski connected from downtown with 1:36 remaining in the third period.

“Turnovers killed us in the first half,” said Clackamas senior playmaker Kaitlyn Reiner. “Once we cut down our turnovers and made some shots, things started going our way.”

Clackamas never led until senior post Erica Pagano answered a West Linn turnover on a five-second call with a 3-point basket with 2:27 to play. Pagano had tied the score for the first time, at 39-39, just 18 seconds earlier, when she scored on an inbound pass from junior wing Erin McDonald. Clackamas out-scored West Linn 11-0 in the final 2:45 of play, as the Lions appeared to panic — tossing up bricks from long range and turning the ball over — as the game wound down.

Reiner and senior wing Sydney Azorr combined to hit 6-of-10 free throws in the game’s final 1:19, to seal the victory.

The play of Clackamas 6-3 sophomore post Peyton Carroll and 5-11 junior post Jordan Rasberry was pivotal in the comeback. They took turns guarding West Linn senior post Morgan Haskin and held the Lion “big girl” scoreless.

“Peyton and Jordan’s [defensive play on Haskin] was huge!” said Clackamas coach Todd Lane. “She’s a very big part of their offense and rebounding. With her in foul trouble most of the game, I think it made a big difference.

“We had her playing under 10 minutes [because of her foul trouble] and with just one rebound. She had 13 rebounds the last time we played them [a 55-40 Clackamas win], and 10 of them were at the offensive end.”

The leadership and poise of seniors Pagano, Reiner and Azorr at crunch time was also huge.

“Their confidence really showed,” said Lane. “Having been down before in big games and their knowing that we could come back was a big calming influence on the rest of the team. We didn’t panic....”

Even with Haskin playing sparingly, West Linn sophomore Caitlin Malvar led the Lions to a 25-21 advantage on the backboards, hauling down 11 rebounds.

Defense was another important factor in the Cavalier comeback win. The Cavaliers forced 27 turnovers, applying pressure both full- and half-court.

McDonald (5 steals), Azorr (3 steals) and junior wing McKenzie Giancola (3 steals) led the defensive assault.

While Kolasinski was the only West Linn player in double digits in scoring, Reiner (15 points, three 3-pointers), Azorr (12 points) and McDonald (11 points) were the top point-getters for Clackamas.

“I think this win was a real confidence-builder for our girls,” Lane said. “West Linn is a very good team and a really quality program.”

“This was definitely one of our toughest games,” said Reiner. “It’s always tough to beat West Linn at their place. [This win was] was huge. It sets the tone for the rest of league.”

It was the first game of the Three Rivers League season for both Clackamas and West Linn. The Cavaliers improved to 12-3 on the season with the win; West Linn slipped to 11-3 with the loss.

Clackamas hosts Lake Oswego (7-7, 0-1) this Friday and the Cavaliers play Oregon City (9-5, 1-0) on the road next Tuesday. The Pioneers, ranked eighth in the OSAA power rankings, hammered Lakeridge 87-23 last Friday.

“I expect [the Oregon City game] to be a really good game,” said Lane. “I’m excited! Two really good teams playing before a big crowd in a great atmosphere. It should be a lot of fun. But Lake Oswego first.”

The Cavaliers turned in an impressive showing on Jan. 14 as they knocked off Beaverton 48-30.

It was the lowest scoring game of the season for the Beavers, who entered the contest ranked fourth in the state in the OSAA coaches poll. It was Beaverton’s second loss to Clackamas, which won 69-51 in a Dec. 6 tournament at Southridge. The Beavers had averaged 56 points in 11 previous games.

“Our defense was really good, half-court and full-court,” said Lane. “We slowed down their transition game.”

The Beavers made only 24 percent of their shots from the field.

The Cavaliers also dominated the backboards, with Sydney Azorr (9 rebounds), leading her squad to a 35-17 advantage on the glass.

Azorr played a strong game all around, scoring a game-high 15 points — with two 3-point baskets, and making three assists. Erica Pagano had 13 points and five rebounds.

Coach Lane also praised Azorr for her defensive play: “Sydney did a great job on Danielle Hartzog.”

Hartzog and Alyssa Christiansen tied for Beaverton team-high honors, each with nine points.

The Cavaliers were in command all the way, building a 13-8 advantage in the first quarter and a 25-14 lead by the halftime break.



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