La Salle Prep rides Lindsay Drango's hot hand, upends Wilsonville, 65-55
The Wilsonville Wildcats were not ready for La Salle Prep's Lindsay Drango to light it up from long range Friday night.
Drango erupted for a career-high 23 points with seven 3-pointers, lifting the No. 3-ranked Falcons to a 65-55 Northwest Oregon Conference girls basketball victory over the No. 2 Wildcats at La Salle Prep in Milwaukie.
La Salle's Addi Wedin finished with 17 points and Emily Niebergall added 14 as the defending Class 5A state champion Falcons avenged an earlier 52-47 loss at Wilsonville and climbed into a tie with the Wildcats atop the league standings with four games remaining in the regular season.
There was no shortage of drama in a game that featured three ties, 10 lead changes, and ultimately turned on Drango hitting back-to-back 3-pointers that sparked an 11-0 run in the final four minutes, sealing the win for the Falcons.
"I didn't necessarily see that I was going to score as much as I did tonight," said Drango, the Falcons' 6-foot-1 senior. "I just knew that I was going to play my role and if I had a shot, I'd take it.
"My team set me up, so I took the shots and it worked out."
Drango had already been through two ACL surgeries as a freshman and a sophomore at Lake Oswego High School when she transferred into La Salle before the start of her junior year and eased her way into the Falcons' lineup.
Even after she earned a spot in the starting lineup this season, she was recognized more for her defense than anything she did on offense, where the Falcons typically look to Wedin and Niebergall to most of the heavy lifting.
But on a night when the Wildcats went out of their way to limit Wedin and Niebergall, they left the door open from Drango to step up and have a big night.
"Really, Lindsay Drango was the difference in the game," Wilsonville coach Justin Duke said. "Give all the credit to her. We talked about it Thursday at practice that we were determined not to let Addi beat us and that somebody else was going to have to step up. And Lindsay did.
"Our kids executed the game plan as well as they possibly could have, and when you play a great team like La Salle, you can't stop everything. So we had to pick our poison and we got burned a little bit."
Drango went into Friday's game averaging 3.0 points a game and had scored in double figures only one previous game this season on Jan. 17 when she scored 14 in an 80-35 blowout win over Putnam.
Nobody had ever seen her shoot as she shot against Wilsonville other than the Falcons, who insist she shoots like that all the time during practice.
"We knew as a coaching staff that Lindsay had that in her and she has always had the green light," Falcons coach Kelli Wedin said. "Tonight, it was just really opportune."
It also was the first night the Falcons (18-3, 9-1 NWOC) had played without sophomore guard Mia Skoro, who went down with a knee injury in the second quarter of Tuesday's 82-30 win at Putnam.
With Skoro sidelined indefinitely, Rhyan Mogel, the 5-9 freshman, moved into the rotation and played the high post on offense, allowing Drango to play on the perimeter in positions where Skoro would often roam.
"We took advantage of the lineup that we had to tonight and it really paid off for Lindsay," said Kelli Wedin, who stuck to a six-player rotation the entire game.
Drango had the hot hand in the first quarter when she knocked down her first four 3-pointers, pacing La Salle to a 21-15 lead.
She added a basket off an offensive rebound in the second quarter and then didn't strike from long range again until her 3-pointer from the left corner pulled the Falcons within 49-46 with 1:04 left in the third quarter.
After Wilsonville's Kayla Hieb grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to give the Wildcats a 55-54 lead, Drango knocked down another 3-pointer from the right corner to put the Falcons on top 57-55 with four minutes left.
"My team just set me up and I didn't hesitate," Drango said. "I knew my teammates believed in me, I knew it was going to go in, so I was ready to take the shot."
On Wilsonville's next possession, Mogel stole the ball for La Salle, and the Falcons worked the ball from side to side before getting it to Drango, who knocked down her seventh and final trey of the game to make it 60-55 with 3:39 remaining.
"It was the same as all the others," Drango said. "I knew my teammates believed in me and I believed in myself and that's how I knew every shot was going to go in. We were just all really feeling it and playing for each other."
Wilsonville's Sydney Burns finished with a team-high 15 points, Renee Lee added 11, and Emilia Bishop had 10 for the Wildcats (18-3, 9-1), who had their 13-game winning streak snapped.
"I think we worked as hard as we could," said Lee, the senior wing. "We were prepared and I thought we executed our game plan well. La Salle just had one girl, Drango, who shot very well and we did not expect that at all.
"We prepared to guard Addi and Emily the entire time because we thought they were La Salle's best shooters. When Drango started hitting shots, we were not prepared for her to hit shots like that."
This marks the second season in a row that La Salle and Wilsonville have split the regular-season series. And assuming both teams hold serve in the four games they each has remaining, this will be the second season in a row they will share the league title.
"That's two teams that really want to win a championship," Duke said. "They've been there and done that, and we're trying to get there and do that.
"It's a lot of fun to play La Salle. I wish we could play them more often because it's a classy program with a great coaching staff and great kids. And we got better tonight."
WILSONVILLE 15 14 22 4 — 55
LA SALLE PREP 21 16 9 19 — 65
Wilsonville (55) — Sydney Burns 15, Lee 11, Bishop 10, Hieb 8, Borgen 3, Gatto 3, Morris 3, McNamee 2, Schramm, Fienkbeiner.
La Salle Prep (65) — Lindsay Drango 23, A. Wedin 17, Niebergall 11, Sisul 6, Mogel 5, E. Wedin 3.
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