Fast-starting Wolves top Lake Oswego
TUALATIN — The Timberwolves were all smiles.
That makes sense. After all the Tualatin High School girls basketball team has turned a losing streak into a winning streak.
The Wolves, after enduring a four-game skid, picked up their second win in a row — and they did it in impressive fashion. Tualatin jumped out to a 14-1 lead, and never looked back, on its way to scoring a 53-39 victory over Lake Oswego in a Three Rivers League game played Friday at Tualatin High School.
"We're really happy about this win," said Tualatin senior guard Mikah Springer, who scored a team-high 16 points in the victory. "After the losing streak, it feels good to win."
"We brought our energy up," said Tualatin junior guard Natali Denning. "And we got everyone going."
With the loss, Lake Oswego moved to 2-7 in TRL games (5-12 overall), putting the Lakers in eighth place in the league standings. With its second-straight win, Tualatin improved to 5-5 in TRL play (9-9 overall), putting the Wolves in fourth place in the league standings.
The energetic Tualatin team got off to a blazing start to Friday's game. Freshman Sidney Dering sank a short-range bank shot and Springer drilled a three-pointer from the right corner, off an assist from senior Maija Girardi, to give the Timberwolves a 5-0 lead with 6 minutes and 9 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Lake Oswego got on the scoreboard, with freshman Kilyn Dawkins going 1 for 2 from the free-throw line with 5:17 remaining in the opening period. But the Wolves took off again. Springer and Denning each went 2 for 2 from the stripe, freshman Kasidy Javernick scored three points and freshman post Natalie Lathrop scored on a turnaround jumper, off a pass from junior Maliyah Ross, helping Tualatin push the margin to 14-1 with 35 seconds left in the first quarter.
"They switched their starting line-up, and that surprised us a bit," Springer said. "But we jumped on them quick. That was important."
The Lakers, who missed their first eight shots from the field, got a basket on a foul-line jumper by freshman Janie Ruttert with 16 seconds left in the period, making the score 14-3 going into the second quarter.
The Wolves kept rolling from there. Baskets by Denning, Dering and junior Anna Withers, and another three-pointer by Springer gave Tualatin its biggest lead of the game, at 23-5, with 2:53 left before halftime.
But Lake Oswego did its best to battle back. The Lakers got back-to-back three-pointers from juniors Taylor Anders and Katy Gilbert, and freshman Macy Douglass scored on a drive with nine seconds left in the quarter, trimming the Tualatin lead to 25-14 at halftime.
However, the Wolves kept Lake Oswego from getting any closer in the third quarter. Springer opened the period with her third three-point basket of the game, and Withers scored four straight points later in the quarter. Denning then ended the period with a basket on a buzzer-beating 16-foot jumper, giving Tualatin a 40-24 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Girardi opened the final stanza with a three-pointer, coming off an assist from Withers, upping the margin to 43-24.
Still, the Lakers weren't about to concede anything, as they tried to battle back again. Ruttert scored on a drive, Dawkins added a free throw and Anders went 2 for 2 from the stripe, trimming the lead to 43-29 with 4:35 remaining in the game.
Lake Oswego, fighting to the end, got back-to-back three-pointer by Anders, making the score 51-39 with 22 seconds remaining. But the Wolves, getting a pair of free throws by Springer with 8.3 seconds left to play, were able to wrap up the 53-39 victory.
"We played as a team, and we got after every loose ball," Denning said.
"The last two games, we've done a really good job sharing the ball," Springer said.
Springer, in addition to her team-high 16 points, also had four steals in the victory. Denning had a strong all-around game, with nine points, eight rebounds and four steals. The 6-foot-3 Lathrop had 13 rebounds and six blocked shots to go with her eight points. Dering and Withers each added six points for the Wolves.
Tualatin, as a team, made 17 of 61 shots from the field, with four three-pointers, and 15 of 20 free-throw attempts.
Anders led all scorers in the contest with 17 points. She scored 14 of her points in the second half, including 10 in the fourth quarter. Gilbert scored 10 points for the Lakers and Ruttert added five.
Lake Oswego, as a team, made 12 of 54 shots from the field, with five three-pointers, and 10 of 16 free throw attempts.
Prior to the win over Lake Oswego, the Wolves posted a 56-49 win at Lakeridge in a league contest last Thursday. Denning led way with 11 points in that game. Springer and Lathrop each scored 10. Tualatin, on Tuesday, lost 68-38 in a league game at St. Mary's Academy. Denning led Tualatin with 14 points in that game.
The Wolves will be back in action on Friday, when they play at Newberg in a game starting at 7:15 p.m. On Tuesday, Tualatin will host Canby in a 7 p.m. league contest.