Vikings win all three games at Les Schwab Holiday Oregon Hoopfest, then follow with road win over Celts.

COURTESY PHOTO - Forest Groves Kinsey Barnett defends during the Vikings' tournament game against Roseburg at the Les Schwab Holiday Oregon Hoopfest in Bend.After a rough week of stiff competition at the PIL Tournament, in which the Viking girls faced two quality Oregon teams and the defending Washington 4A state champions, Forest Grove got a little healthy with wins over Roseburg, Reynolds and Summit in the Les Schwab Holiday Oregon Hoopfest Dec. 28-30 at Summit High School in Bend.

The Vikings opened the tournament with a 64-46 win over Roseburg, followed that with a 55-20 win over a struggling Reynolds club and finished with a 51-38 victory over host Summit, which — while young — is a talented up-and-coming group.

"In Bend, I felt we were the better team in all three games," said Forest Grove head coach Dan Lumpkin. "So it was up to us to take what we'd learned from the previous tournament and be the more aggressive, physical type of team."

And the previous tournament was a learning experience.

The Vikings opened with a game against Kentridge of Washington, which defeated Glacier Peak 60-46 in last year's 4A state championship game. Kentridge boasts two of the better players in the state of Washington, 6-foot-3 junior post Jaquaya Miller and 6-foot-1 sophomore Jordyn Jenkins, and defeated the Viks 60-26.

Forest Grove followed that with consecutive losses to Grant and South Medford, but the team was competitive in both and in the latter held a second-half lead before a couple Panther runs decided the game.

"The games were great for us because we had to battle against tough competition and teams that are top-15 teams in the state," said Lumpkin. "So playing and competing with them and being physical was going to prepare us for league. We really just wanted to leave that tournament a better team."

And Lumpkin thinks they did.

The Vikings beat a good Roseburg team by 18 and an overmatched Reynolds squad 55-20 before finishing with a 51-38 victory over Summit. Forest Grove got solid performances from seniors Katie Rebsom, Kinsey Barnett and Emily Huson, and key contributions from bench players Olivia Grosse, Amanda Rebsom and sophomore guard Audrey Fasching.

"I know what I'm going to get from my seniors," Lumpkin said. "But what often makes the difference is the performances we get from the girls off the bench."

Both tournaments offered the girls an opportunity to not only size themselves up against sturdier competition, but also in instances like against Reynolds, get inexperienced girls live minutes they don't normally see in league play.

Now the Vikings re-enter league competition, hoping to continue where they left off — undefeated and atop the Greater Valley Conference standings.

Forest Grove was scheduled to travel to McNary — also 3-0 in the GVC — Jan. 2, and Lumpkin expected a sturdy contest from the Celtics, who are 9-2 overall and No. 6-ranked in the latest OSAA rankings.

"It's a big game, but not that big," said the coach.

Following that, the Vikings travel to West Albany to tackle the Bulldogs Jan. 5 before coming home for three consecutive home games against North Salem, Sprague and West Salem.

"It's a good stretch," Lumpkin said. "McNary and West Albany are built similarly to us, so we'll see a faster game and more man-to-man opposed to zone defense. So it'll be a good test."

The Vikings started this week with a 52-36 win at No. 10-ranked McNary to improve to 4-0 in the Greater Valley Conference and takeover sole possession of first place.

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