Beaverton gets defensive in quarterfinal win over West Linn
Don't be surprised if Beaverton gets defensive about their defense.
The Beavers used that defense to smother West Linn in their state tournament quarterfinal, holding the Lions to just seven second-half points en route to a 42-19 win Thursday afternoon, March 10, in the OSAA Girls State Basketball Tournament at the Chiles Center in Portland.
Leading just 17-12 at the half, the top-seeded Beavers leaned on that defense to hold West Linn scoreless in the third quarter, and open up a 17 point lead before cruising to victory over the No. 8-seeded and overmatched Lions.
"That (defense) has been our focus all year," Lainey Spear said. "We take pride in our defense and our goal is to make every single shot tough for the other team."
And they did that, holding the Lions to just 26.9 percent from the field on 7-of-29 shooting.
Spear led the Beavers with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and combined with teammate Zoe Borter to score 35 of her team's 42 total points. Borter however—like Spear—was more interested in talking about their defensive effort opposed to her offensive one after the game.
"I was just really proud of our team for responding from what wasn't a really strong first half," Zoe Borter said. "We played really great team defense and that showed with them not scoring in that third quarter."
West Linn however did their part defensively as well, bottling up the high-powered Beavers for two quarters with a 1-3-1 zone, which Spear said caught her and her teammates by surprise.
"It threw us off a little because they were so known for playing man and the film we watched was man and some 2-3 zone, so we weren't expecting it," Spear said. "I also think there was obviously some nerves there, which is why we were kind of a little frazzled. But I think once we calmed down and moved the ball and attacked and kicked, I think we were fine."
Lions senior post Audrey Kehoe said it was a tale of two halves for her team against the Beavers, crediting the Metro League champs for adjusting to what they were doing at the half.
"We had it going the first half. We were very organized, we were talking, we were hitting," Kehoe said. "But at halftime, I don't know what happened in the Beaverton locker room, but they just started to figure out our 1-3-1 and a knew how to score off it, and we didn't know how to stop them."
Spear and Borter scored all of Beaverton's 17 first-half points, while West Linn got five points from Allie Roden, three from Avery Jordan, and two apiece from Kehoe and Alana Molden to keep within striking distance at the half. But Kehoe said she thought their mindset wasn't what it needed to be to start the second half, and that became evident in the scoreless third quarter.
"I honestly think we should have had better effort (in the second half)," she said. "I think we just had the mindset that we were going to lose that game and ... we just kind of crumbled there at the end of the third quarter."
Spear applauded her team's improved second half effort and attributed some of their first half struggles to nerves associated with their first tournament game. Spear—and Borter—however were both on the Beaverton roster that made it to the state semifinals two years ago when the tournament was cancelled due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and said that despite a limited role on the team two years ago, it's inherent upon her to use that experience to help this year's team as they advance.
"A couple years ago my role was super different, so I was a little nervous," Spear said. "This is the first year that I'm actually playing a lot and I feel like a lot of leadership comes into play because I've been here before. And I know for others it was nerve wracking, but I think we dealt with it and performed well."
Borter added that due to that lost opportunity, she feels a heightened sense of responsibility to win this one for everyone.
"I definitely think there's unfinished business, especially for the seniors that we played with our freshman year," Borter said. "I really want to finish it for them."
Meanwhile West Linn—despite the loss—isn't packing it in. In fact, they still have a lot to play for, with a fourth place trophy remaining on the line.
"We want to play two more days," Lions senior Olivia McVicker said. "We want to play on the last day of basketball season. That's the goal."
Beaverton scorers included: Spear 19, Borter 16, Jaydin Lutu 3, Madison Naro 2, Faith Meyer 2.
West Linn scorers included: Roden 5, McVicker 5, Kehoe 4, Jordan 3, Molden 2.
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