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The Vikings turn a close first half game into a blowout, thanks in part to an early third quarter surge.

PMG PHOTO: WADE EVANSON - Forest Grove's Kayleen Dominguez attempts a free throw during the Vikings' game against Sherwood Friday night, Feb. 14, at Forest Grove High School.Some wins you need, but some are the ones you simply have to have.

Tied in the Pacific Conference standings, and having lost their first contest nearly a month ago, it was imperative that Forest Grove get a victory over Sherwood — and they did just that.

Led by seniors Olivia Grosse and Kayleen Dominguez, the Vikings turned a close halftime game into a fourth quarter runaway en route to a 45-28 win over the Bowmen Friday, Feb. 14, at Forest Grove High School.

Grosse and Dominguez combined for 24 points and eight rebounds, and it was theirs', along with their teammates' aggressive approach, that kept them in the game early and ultimately led them to victory in the second half.

"This was a big win for us," Dominguez said. "We always seem to get ourselves in a hole early and get better in the second half, but tonight we came out more aggressive than we have in a long time, and more focused because we haven't beat Sherwood in a long time."

Forest Grove head coach Dan Lumpkin agreed with Dominguez regarding the importance that their heightened aggression played, but also cited a specific instance that really helped flip the game when things still appeared to be hanging in the balance.

"We really tried to be the more aggressive team in that first half and we were able to earn a slim halftime advantage," Lumpkin said. "Then we came out and got those couple quick buckets to start the second half, were able to extend the lead, and you could see the panic kind of set-in for them."

The baskets he was referring to were those by sophomore Lily Everson, who opened the third quarter with an and-1 lay-in, followed shortly thereafter by two more quick points that gave the Viks an 8-point lead.

"It was big and I was proud of her," Dominguez said. "That got us a lead and helped get us hyped up and on a roll, so it was pretty big."

Sherwood jumped-out to an early 7-3 lead and led 11-7 after a quarter thanks to six points from sophomore forward Klaira Ray. Forest Grove closed the gap midway through the second quarter, then took a 2-point lead on a Grosse basket, and later a 21-18 lead when Dominguez and Amanda Rebsom finished the half with four straight points, leading towards the Vikings' — and Everson's — early third quarter run.

"I decided to come out and see if the 1-3-1 (defense) would work, and we got a couple quick steals off of it," Lumpkin said. "When we got that lead, they were in a bit of a tough spot because they're not really built for comebacks."

Seemingly not, because it was really all Forest Grove from there.

The Vikings got a basket from Grosse and four free throws from Dominguez on their way to a 32-22 third quarter lead, then quickly made that 38-22 thanks to a quick basket from Ashlynn Dawson, another Grosse bucket, and two more Dominguez free throws that iced it.

The Bowmen never got closer than 14 points the remainder of the way, and as a result, Forest Grove successfully avenged their earlier defeat to Sherwood and built a 1-game cushion in the hunt for that third place finish and automatic state playoff bid.

"This was huge," Lumpkin said. "I think we're going to make the playoffs anyways, but it puts us ahead of them a little bit, and with a couple winnable games coming up, we could get a tie for second.

"We'll see how it goes."

Forest Grove scorers included: Grosse 12, Dominguez 12, Everson 5, Dawson 5, Rebsom 4, Ally Hammond 3, and Kendal Thrush 3.

Sherwood scorers included: Joley Sproul 10, Ray 8, Laney Snelling 6, Ava Boughey 3, and Mandie Jensen 1.

Forest Grove will travel to Glencoe for a game with the Tide Tuesday, Feb. 18, and will finish the regular season the following week with games versus Century and Liberty.

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