West Linn survives Central Catholic test, wins 73-71 in OT
It was just the second game of the season, but the West Linn girls basketball team sure got its money's worth.
The Lions got tested by a quality non-league opponent, they had to deal with adversity, they learned a lot about their new freshmen quintet and they had to rally from a deficit that grew as large as 13 points.
Oh yeah. There was one more thing, too — they also got the "W," coming back from a big third-quarter hole to beat Central Catholic 73-71 in overtime at West Linn High School on Tuesday.
"Once we got settled and talked about it at halftime, we regrouped and pulled it out," said senior guard Brooke Landis, who finished with 12 points on Tuesday. "But they did a good job and it was a good game."
"If you're having a rough half, then you've got to get it together," said senior guard Lexie Pritchard, who had 16 points in the win. "I feel like we stepped it up as a team. We know what we're made of. It was a rough half, but we got it together."
As to those freshmen, 6-4 frosh post Aaronette Vonleh made the biggest splash on Tuesday, pouring in a game-high 26 points — 16 of those in the second half — after making 10 of 13 shots from the field and all six of her free throws.
"I was just thinking, "Get the ball and score," and if I wasn't open, just pass it back out," she said. "When I was open, I was calling for it and they knew when to reset."
With the win, the Lions improved to 2-0 in non-league play, while the Rams fell to 0-2 on the season.
The Lions started fast in the opening quarter, getting eight points each (including two three-pointers apiece) from Landis and Pritchard, and another four points by Vonleh, but Central Catholic stuck close to West Linn, thanks in great part to sophomore wing Claire Bass.
Bass knocked down 4 of 5 shots from the floor — including three three-pointers — in the opening quarter, added one foul shot and scored 12 of her team-high 23 points in the stanza to keep the Rams within 23-20.
Central Catholic turned up its defensive pressure in the second quarter, forced nine West Linn turnovers and then got even hotter from the field. Bass did her part again, burying three more "threes," but she got plenty of help. Senior Mya India Thomas knocked down three "threes" of her own and scored 11 points in the period, teammate Tiana Abraham added another seven points and Bass' last three-pointer — with six seconds left before the half — helped the Rams take a 49-38 lead into the break.
"With it being our first home game, we weren't taking care of the ball and had a lot of turnovers early and they took advantage of that," Landis said. "A lot of their points came off of our turnovers."
"You're going to run into games like that sometimes and they just brought it," Pritchard said.
Things got worse before they got better, too. The Rams got Isabella Scarlett going in the third quarter and saw Central Catholic extend its lead to 13 points when Scarlett took a Kiora Ridgeway pass and connected inside to make it 61-48 with just 1 minute, 8 seconds remaining in the period.
The Lions, however, did not go away. They rallied with a 19-6 run over a span of 6:43 that included 12 points from Vonleh (she hit 5 of 6 shots from the field and both her foul shots), a short jumpshot by Audrey Roden, two Pritchard foul shots, another free throw by Alyx Burkhartzmeyer and finally, a bank shot in the lane by Makayla Long that tied the contest at 67-67 with 1:10 to go in the fourth quarter.
"It just took a little while to get into our rhythm, but once we started getting into the flow of things, we started to get more shots up and see what was open and play better 'D,'" Vonleh said.
After two foul shots each from India Thomas and Vonleh in the final 56 second of regulation, the game rolled into overtime at 69-69. Pritchard hit an early free throw there, saw Central take its last lead at 71-70 on a pair of Scarlett foul shots, then pulled away to win when Long rebounded her own missed free throw to set up Pritchard's layup with 50 seconds left, and Landis hit one foul shot with 15 seconds remaining to make it 73-71. From there, India Thomas' step-back, three-point attempt from the left wing rimmed out at the buzzer to give West Linn the victory.
"I got scared a little bit, had a little heart attack," Pritchard said of India Thomas' final shot, "but it was a win and that's a great team so I'll take that."
Long added six points in the win and Roden five, while India Thomas finished with 22 for Central and Scarlett another 10.
For the game, West Linn turned the ball over 24 times while the Rams gave it back 17 times.