The senior playmaker steals the ball a school-record 12 times in a 44-30 win over Sherwood
The Rex Putnam Kingsmen last week continued as one of the hottest teams in Class 5A high school girls basketball, stretching their win string to seven games with a 44-30 win over the upstart Sherwood Bowgirls.
It was only the second time this season that the Bowgirls had been held to as few as 30 points. The other time was on Jan. 14, when they lost to Putnam in a game played at Sherwood, 39-28.
Entering last weeks game, Sherwood was the highest-ranked Northwest Oregon Conference team in the OSAA girls basketball RPI rankings, at 11th. Putnam entered play this week ranked 17th.
Pressure defense, said Putnam coach Kris Leatherman, when asked to comment on the game.
The Kingsmen forced no fewer than 33 turnovers and the Bowmen made only seven field goals through the entire game.
Putnam took charge in the second period, outscoring the visiting Bowmen 18-11, and building a 24-18 halftime lead. The Kingsmen stretched their advantage to 32-21 by the end of the third period.
The Kingsmen prevailed despite a super-cool night of field goal shooting. They put up 42 shots, but only 10 of them found the basket.
Free throws were pivotal. The Kingsmen attempted 26 charity tosses and made 20 of them.
Mariah Oliver had a big night, scoring a game-high 14 points, while hitting 7-of-7 free throws, assisting on three baskets, and stealing the ball a school-record 12 times.
Kelsea Baton scored 11 points, hitting 7-of-8 free throws, including six in the fourth quarter.
Freshman post Haley Brandel was a force close to the basket, rejecting six shots and claiming seven rebounds.
Sophomore post Angela Arrington was also tough, scoring seven points and claiming six rebounds.
Baton had six steals and two blocked shots. Carly Bolander stole the ball three times.
The win left the Kingsmen (9-7, 7-0) two games up on second-place Sherwood (10-6, 5-2), Sandy (10-6, 5-2) and Milwaukie (8-8, 5-2) with seven league games remaining.
The Kingsmen appear headed for their first winning season since 1986-87 and perhaps their first league championship since 1981-82.
Putnam hosts winless Parkrose (0-14, 0-7) this Friday, and the Kingsmen play Sandy on the road next Tuesday.