Forest Grove girls progressing nicely
With four starters returning from last year's Forest Grove girls team that finished 13-12 overall, sixth in the Pacific Conference, and qualified for the state playoffs before losing to South Medford in the postseason's first round, hopes were high for this year's Viks — and thus far, they've yet to disappoint.
After starting the season with four consecutive wins, including a 40-35 victory over Canby, who's currently No. 3-ranked in the latest OSAA rankings, Forest Grove has mostly continued their winning ways here in the state of Oregon ... and beyond.
Just three days removed from defeating Franklin in a nonleague game 52-37, Forest Grove traveled north of the border for three tournament games in Wasilla, Alaska.
The Viks opened the tournament with a 49-48 win over Chugiak High School (who placed third at state last season in Alaska's highest classification), coming back from nine points down over the game's final three minutes. Trailing by one with 10 seconds on the clock, Forest Grove's Lily Everson stole a pass and finished a lay-in to give the Viks the lead, then watched as Chugiak's last-second shot missed its mark.
The following night they defeated host Wasilla High School in another nail-biter, 50-49, again leaning on a late-game defensive play to help ice the win. After Kayleen Dominguez gave the Vikings a one-point lead with 15 seconds remaining, the Warriors put the ball in the hands of their all-state, 6-foot-2 post with a chance to win. But Dominguez would have nothing of it, immediately tying up the standout center, creating a jump ball and turning Wasilla over based on the possession arrow.
The next night, Forest Grove fell in the tournament title game to Anchorage Christian, 57-45, securing second place. But while certainly less-than-satisfied in defeat, Vikings head coach Dan Lumpkin was proud of his girls and far from disappointed with their overall performance.
"They were 23-0 last season and posed a big challenge for us," Lumpkin said. "We struggled in the first half, trailing by as many as 24 points, but we were able to battle back in the second half and secure second place in the tournament."
Forest Grove's Amanda Rebsom was selected to the all-tournament team.
Upon their return, the Viks competed in the Century/Hillsboro Tournament, played at both Century and Hillsboro High Schools. Forest Grove opened the event with a 48-41 loss to the co-host Spartans, who are currently No. 8-ranked in the OSAA 5A rankings, but bounced back for a dominating 62-19 win over Reynolds, then ended the event with a 45-37 win over Lebanon. With just two remaining nonleague games at both Lake Oswego and Sunset left before league play, Lumpkin has been pleased with his team's progression and is looking forward to their Pacific Conference opener versus Glencoe on Wednesday, Jan. 15, at Forest Grove High School.
"We've been progressing and getting better as a team," Lumpkin said. "We've played teams with different styles, been forced to adapt, and have had some close games which will benefit us as we continue into league play. Overall I'm pleased with how we've done to this point, and I expect us to continue to improve each and every day."
Forest Grove played at Lake Oswego this past Tuesday after this paper's print deadline, and will travel to Sunset for a 7 p.m. game this Friday, Jan. 10, at Sunset High School.
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