Class 1A girls basketball — Holding its three opponents to an average of 25 points per contest, CSLA moves into playoff position

Casco League power Perrydale must have been in shock when it looked at the scoreboard after three quarters of play at C.S. Lewis Academy Jan. 14.

The Pirates had compiled just 17 points and held a tenuous six-point advantage over the Watchmen entering the final period.

Taking advantage of a tired CSLA roster, Perrydale doubled its point total for the game in the fourth to pull away for a comfortable 38-14 victory, but on the strength of its stellar defense, the Watchmen’s performance against the Pirates was possibly the best in program history and certainly the best in recent SETH GORDON - Working the glass - Brittany Trowbridge corrals a rebound during C.S. Lewis Academy's ­­­27-20 win over Falls City Friday night. Trowbridge saw extended action in the game after starting post Lana Friedrich fouled out.

Head coach Jeremy Friedrich’s squad, however, didn’t let up, putting the screws to non-league foe Portland Waldorf in a 32-17 victory Jan. 16 before holding off visiting Falls City 27-20 on Friday night.

“The score did not portray how the game went,” Friedrich said of the loss to Perrydale. “Up to the fourth quarter, we were just fighting them. We can play with anybody if we play like that. I just have to figure out a way to keep us from getting too tired.”

In addition to its short and inexperienced bench, the Watchmen’s other major weakness, offensive efficiency, was also on display against the Pirates, who shut out the hosts in the first quarter. Katelyn Reimer and Lydia Pia led the team with five points apiece, but the takeaway from that game won’t be statistical, but psychological.

“Part of it is that the girls got a taste of what that’s like against a powerhouse, basically,” Friedrich said. “Last year we probably got beat by 30 or 40 and they had their third string in, so that’s a huge confidence builder.”

C.S. Lewis was slow to warm up offensively two days later at Portland Waldorf, scoring just six points in each of the first two quarters, but maintained its focus defensively to take a 12-9 lead into the break.

The Watchmen got on track in the second half, outscoring the Wolfpack 9-2 in the third and 11-6 in the fourth to secure the win. Lana Friedrich scored a game-high 11 points, with Pia and Reimer adding eight apiece.

CSLA saw its depth severely tested again against visiting Falls City Friday, as Friedrich — the team’s leading scorer — was in foul trouble for most of the game before fouling out with about six minutes remaining to play in the fourth.

The Watchmen outscored the Mountaineers 12-3 coming out of the break to carry a 24-14 lead into the fourth, but without Friedrich, Falls City began to mount a comeback.

Scoring the first six points of the quarter, the visitors trimmed the deficit to 24-20 with 2:20 remaining and seemed to have all the momentum behind them when Pia seized it back.

With senior Halah Grobey also on the bench, the 5-foot guard became an absolute terror on the boards the rest of the way, thwarting any second-chance opportunities for Falls City and extending Watchmen possessions on the other end.

Pia sank the first of two foul shots with 39 seconds remaining and misfired on the second, but got her own rebound, drew a foul and sank both ensuing free throws to put the game to rest.

“She’s is phenomenal,” Friedrich said. “Once she gets it in her head that something has to be done, she does it. She was a game changer for us (Friday). She singlehandedly changed the flow for us.”

The win propelled the Watchmen (6-10, 2-4 Casco League) into fifth place in the standings and because they hold the early tiebreaker over the Mountaineers (8-5, 2-4), C.S. Lewis now has a clear path to district tournament.

Friedrich’s team can make significant progress toward a historic playoff appearance this week, having played at seventh-place Crosshill Christian Tuesday (results unavailable at press time) ahead of a home contest versus league cellar dweller Willamette Valley Christian Friday.

“I’m so excited about the possibilities,” Friedrich said. “We have a long fight ahead of us, but the girls are starting to understand.”

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