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The Kingsmen believe they are ready to make a strong run in the coming 5A playoffs.

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Putnam sophomore forward Rylee Lemen tries to catch a pass during her team's 70-10 win over Parkrose at Putnam High School on Wednesday, Feb. 23.The Putnam girls basketball team knew that its contest against Parkrose wasn't important in and of itself.

The 13th-ranked Kingsmen entered the contest at 9-2 in Northwest Oregon Conference play and 15-6 overall, while the No. 32 Broncos hadn't won a game.

But that didn't mean that Putnam's Wednesday, Feb. 23, contest wasn't important. Indeed, the Kingsmen — who beat Parkrose 70-10 at Putnam High School — felt like they were setting the tone for the end of the regular season and the playoffs to follow.

"In our huddle before the game, we wanted to work on rebounding because when we played Wilsonville, our rebounding wasn't that good," said Putnam junior guard Emma McDonald, who scored eight points in the win over Parkrose. "Coming into the playoffs, we're going to be playing harder teams than we're playing in our league so we just need to be prepared to rebound better."

"We're going to have to work on our rebounding and defense especially," said senior guard Maddie Olma — the team's lone senior — who finished with 12 points against the Broncos, "especially for those big games going into the playoffs."

"We were really trying to work as a team and go over plays and newer plays," added junior guard Kayla Kasubuchi, who led all scorers with 14 points on Wednesday. "It's that, and just get our team to a higher level."

With the win — Putnam's seventh in in last eight games — the Kingsmen improved to 10-2 in Northwest Oregon Conference play and 16-6 overall. Parkrose, meanwhile, fell to 0-12 in NWOC play and 0-16 overall.

Parkrose sophomore guard Kamya Appling led the Broncos with four points, while sophomore guard Aimy Tran added three.

Wednesday's contest was over early, with the Kingsmen exploding to a 29-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, and no one had a bigger impact on that first quarter than Kasubuchi. Kasubuchi stepped up to hit five times from the field — including two 3-pointers — to amass 12 of her 14 points in the game's first eight minutes.

She had plenty of help, too, with Olma hitting a "three" and adding seven points, while McDonald and junior Riley Greenleaf tacked on four points each.

Already comfortably ahead, the Kingsmen used their bench liberally the rest of the day, getting five second-quarter points (including a "three") from sophomore guard Claire Jones and four in the fourth period by junior Nora Perkins.

"We were just trying to get that bond and get some of our girls on the bench some playing time," Kasubuchi said. "That way, they would be ready to work when we get to playoffs."

"We definitely love when everyone can come in and score," Olma said. "We definitely love that."

Add in the efforts of sophomore starting forward Rylee Lemen — she scored six of her eight points in the third quarter — and the Kingsmen left the Broncos far behind.

More importantly, Putnam hopes, it will set the table for the playoff games to come.

"I think (the key is) team chemistry because we work better when we have that bond with each other, and we can trust each other," McDonald said.

"I think we can go as far as we think we can," Kasubuchi added. "I think (the key) is team chemistry and coming in with our heads held high and knowing we need to go for it and what our keys are going to be for each game."

To see all the photos from this game, click here

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