Barlow girls knock off top-10 foe
6A GIRLS BASKETBALL
TUALATIN — For the Barlow High School girls basketball team it was a big win — really big.
For Tualatin, it was the team's very first loss of the season. But the Timberwolves are ready to learn and build off of it.
And, for both squads, it looked to be a pretty good game.
Both teams are looking to benefit from the non-league contest, which the Bruins won 53-43 in the game played Dec. 20 at Tualatin High School.
"It's really big for us. We were like 31st in the (OSAA power) rankings," said Barlow senior guard Emily Fortin, who led all scorers in the contest with 18 points. "It was a good win. I think we all played well together. We controlled the ball and got good shots."
"It was tough to lose, but I think we learned a lot tonight," said Tualatin junior post Natalie Lathrop, who led the Timberwolves with 17 points. "You have to learn from every game, and I think that's what we'll do here. We'll learn from what we did wrong, grow from what we did well, and this will make us good for the next games."
With the win, Barlow improved to 3-1 on the season.
"It's been pretty good," Fortin said. "We're just working hard and trying to get better."
"I think it is really helpful to play teams that are good like that," Lathrop said. "They worked hard and shot well. They're a good team, so that's really good for us."
The Wolves got off to a fast start to the Dec. 20 game. Tualatin, getting a pair of baskets on drives by junior Kasidy Javernick, and a layup by 6-foot-3 Lathrop, jumped out to a 6-0 lead with 6 minutes and 12 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Barlow answered right back. Fortin got the Bruins on the scoreboard with a 3-point basket. Libby Mathis, Barlow's 6-4 senior post, then scored back-to-back baskets to give Barlow a 7-6 lead with 1:58 left in the period.
Tualatin regained the lead, at 9-7, when freshman Tabi Searle shank a 3-pointer from the right corner with 1:45 left in the quarter. But a 3-point play by Mathis gave the Bruins a 10-9 lead at the end of the opening period.
Barlow opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer by junior Maicee Bradley, but Lathrop answered by scoring five straight points, giving the Wolves a 14-13 lead with 5:16 left before halftime.
The Bruins responded in a big way. Fortin, sinking another 3-pointer, and Mathis combined for nine points in the final 3:37 of the period, helping Barlow take a 24-17 halftime lead.
The Bruins would go on to take a double-digit lead, at 31-21, when freshman Kennedie Shuler connected on a 3-pointer with 2:14 left in the period. Tualatin came battling back. Lathrop scored a pair of baskets and junior Aurora Davis sank a 3-pointer from the top of the circle, trimming the Barlow lead to 33-29 going into the fourth quarter.
But the Wolves couldn't get any closer.
Barlow opened the final stanza with back-to-back 3-pointers by Shuler and Bradley, upping the margin to 39-29 with 5:56 remaining to play in the game.
Tualatin, getting a jumper by Lathrop and four straight points from Javernick, trimmed the lead to 42-37 with 3:17 left in the contest. But Fortin scored six points in the final 1:36 of the game to help Barlow close out the 53-43 win.
"We just played together," Fortin said of the key to victory. "We controlled the ball, controlled the tempo and played as a team."
In addition to Fortin's 18 points, the Bruins also got 13 points from Mathis, 11 from Shuler and seven from Bradley.
Barlow, as a team, made 20 of 46 shots from the field, with six 3-pointers, and seven of 12 free-throw attempts.
"We can definitely build on this," Fortin said. "This was great. It was a great win."
In addition to her 17 points, Lathrop also had 14 rebounds and six blocked shots. She's also looking to build on her battle with Mathis, Barlow's powerhouse.
"She's strong," Lathrop said. "Whenever you play against posts that are that strong, it's hard, but I think it will be good for me."
Barlow will return to action on Dec. 27, when it starts play at the Nike Interstate Shootout with a first-round game against Mercer Island, Wash., starting at 2 p.m. at Lake Oswego High School.
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