Oregon City girls start slow, finish fast to beat Lake Oswego 38-20
It isn't always about how you start; sometimes it's about how you finish.
The Oregon City girls basketball team proved that again on Tuesday, Feb. 11, when the Pioneers shook off a slow start to roll past Lake Oswego 38-20 at Lake Oswego High School.
"Obviously, you just have to play hard no matter who the opponent is," said Oregon City senior guard Tyra Bradford, who finished with six points (on 2 of 7 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers), along with five steals, three assists and two rebounds. "It was just a good win and it's good to get that one out of the way and prepare for our next ones."
"I feel like we played great as a team and played our best even though it was a struggle in the beginning," said Oregon City junior post Emmaly Welch, who added five points (on 2 of 8 shooting from the field and a 1 of 2 day at the foul line), along with six rebounds and one steal.
With the win — the team's fifth straight — the No. 6 Pioneers improved to 7-2 in the Three Rivers League (15-4 overall) and remained one game behind West Linn for first place. No. 44 Lake Oswego, meanwhile, lost for the 10th straight time and fell to 0-9 in TRL play and 3-16 overall.
While disappointed with the loss, the Lakers — who played without injured starters Kate Anders and Megan Woolard — took solace in their positives, including a 7-6 lead after the first quarter.
"It's definitely not fun to lose, but it's fun to see ourselves getting better and it's fun to have small victories," said Lake Oswego junior guard Emma Jeanson, who led her team with six points (on 2 of 8 shooting from the field with one 3-pointer and a 1 of 2 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds, three steals and one assist. "Even though we did lose, we have a lot of good things going for us that are promising for the future."
"It's definitely difficult because a lot of teams have bigger and more physical girls than us," said Lake Oswego sophomore post Lily Carlson, who added four points (on 2 of 4 shooting from the field), along with four rebounds and three blocked shots. "I think we're just working on our confidence and coming out (strong)."
While the Pioneers ended up winning easily, the Lakers held the upper hand through the game's first 9 minutes, 34 seconds. Lake Oswego held the Pioneers to just 3 of 16 shooting from the field in the opening quarter, while forcing five OC turnovers.
The Lakers, meanwhile, got baskets from junior Lauren Smith and Carlson, a pair of free throws from sophomore Kennedy Warme and one free throw by Jeanson to lead 7-6 at the end of the period.
"We really tried in practice this week to work on our (press break) so that we could get through that," Jeanson said. "In this game, once we got through it, we got a lot of opportunities that we didn't get in the last game we played against them."
The Pioneers came back strong in the second quarter, though, turning up the heat with their fullcourt press and putting together a 13-0 edge in the frame to lead 20-7 at the half. Oregon City forced 11 Lake Oswego turnovers in the period — including 10 straight on the Lakers' final 10 possessions — and got five points each from junior Jalissa Lugo and senior guard Katie Kathan to take control. Lugo, Kathan and Bradford all hit "threes" for the Pioneers in the stanza.
Oregon City kept its defensive pressure turned up to 11 in the third quarter, forcing another eight Laker turnovers while simultaneously holding LO to just three points on Jeanson's pull-up 3-pointer with three seconds remaining in the period.
On their end, the Pioneers saw both Bradford and junior guard Mia Martineau knock down 3-pointers to expand their lead to 28-10.
Oregon City then added a trio of "threes" — from sophomore Emily Billings, Lugo and junior Maya Wootan — in the fourth quarter to keep the Lakers at bay. Lake Oswego sophomore Sarah Novitsky scored four points in the final quarter, and the Lakers added two each from Jeanson, sophomore Maia Jurney and Carlson.
For the game, the Pioneers forced 27 Lake Oswego turnovers while making just 13 themselves.
Next up, Oregon City hosts Canby at 5:45 p.m. Friday, Feb. 14, while the Lakers host Lakeridge at 5:45 p.m. Friday.
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