Tualatin girls roll past Lakers in league opener
The Tualatin High School girls basketball team certainly had what easily could be called a successful preseason.
The Timberwolves went 9-1 in non-league games. But, in their Three Rivers League opener, they weren't about to take everything for granted.
So, behind a suffocating defense, some clutch 3-point shooting, pinpoint passing and a powerful rebounding performance, Tualatin made sure it got off to a roaring start to league play.
The Timberwolves, in a dominating outing, sprinted to a 67-17 win over Lake Oswego in a league opener played Tuesday at Lake Oswego High School.
"It was great," said Tualatin junior guard Aurora Davis, who scored 14 points in the victory. "We were excited, with a lot of energy, and we were excited to get the win, and get better in the process, so it was really good."
"That was awesome," said Tualatin junior Sidney Dering, who had a strong all-around performance. "We were coming hot off of preseason with a 9-1 record, and we were looking forward to 10-1. This was a great way to open the season, and we're excited."
With the loss, Lake Oswego moved to 3-8 on the season. Tualatin upped its overall record to 10-1 with the victory.
"We know we have a lot of hard games coming up, and we have to keep getting better every day, and today was a great way to start," Davis said.
"The energy going into this was a little apprehensive, but we made sure, going out on the floor, to have everyone talking and everyone going after everything with our defense," Dering said.
And, speaking of defense, the Timberwolves' defensive effort in the league-opener was nothing short of spectacular.
Lake Oswego made just four of 27 shots from the field against the Tualatin defense, while suffering 30 turnovers.
"Coach (Wes) Pappas' defense is something we've really taken to, and we're really excited to run it," Dering said. "It's something that everyone is really passionate about, and we work really, really hard in practice. Everyone puts in time to perfect their spots."
"Everyone got after it as hard as they could," Davis said. "Everyone got to their spots, like we work at every day."
Meanwhile, Davis helped provide an early spark on the offensive end for Tualatin. She sank back-to-back 3-pointers from the right corner, both coming off assists from Dering, to give the Wolves a 12-0 lead with 58 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Lake Oswego finally got on the scoreboard when junior Emma Jeanson connected on a running jumper in the lane, coming with 17 seconds left in the opening period. But Tualatin got a basket on a four-foot jumper by junior post Natalie Lathrop, coming off a pass from Davis, with 3 seconds left in the period, giving the Wolves a 14-2 lead going into the second quarter.
That's where Tualatin really took off.
The Wolves opened the period with an 11-0 run, which included a follow-up basket by Lathrop, a pair of free throws by Dering, a pair of free throws by sophomore Brook Burke, another follow-up hoop by Lathrop and Davis' third 3-pointer of the game, giving Tualatin a 25-2 advantage with 2:35 left before halftime.
Lake Oswego, to its credit, finished the second quarter on a 7-0 run, which included four free throws by Jeanson and a 3-pointer by senior Megan Woolard, cutting the Tualatin lead to 25-9 at the intermission.
But the Lakers wouldn't get any closer. Tualatin made sure of that by opening their third quarter with an 18-0 run.
Lathrop scored eight points, Davis and freshman Tami Searle each connected on 3-pointers and Dering and junior Kasidy Javernick each sank a pair of free throws to give the Wolves a 43-9 lead with 3:53 left in the quarter.
Javernick sank a 3-pointer later in the period, helping Tualatin take a 50-14 lead to the fourth quarter.
The Wolves played substitutes throughout the final stanza, but they kept up the hot play. Tualatin senior Sophie Wong sank three 3-pointers and scored a total of 10 points in the period, and sophomore Braquelle Blanchard also connected on a 3-pointer, as the Wolves closed out the 67-17 victory.
"It was definitely a great team effort," Dering said. "People coming in off the bench and doing a great job, and everyone supported everyone."
Lathrop led all scorers in the contest with 18 points. She also had eight rebounds, five blocked shots and two steals. Davis shot at a 4-for-5 clip from 3-point range on her way to scoring 14 points.
"I was just getting a lot of shots up. I was really trying to focus on knocking those down, so I'm ready for big games," Davis said. "A lot of people inside did a great job getting it out to me. Sid did a great job. Tabi had some great kick-outs also. That was really big."
Wong scored 10 points. Javernick had seven points and six steals. Dering had six points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Tualatin, as a team, made 23 of 53 shots from the field, with 10 3-pointers, and 11 of 15 free-throw attempts.
"This was a blast," Dering said. "I love playing with my teammates, and high school basketball is something I cherish for sure."
"This was super fun," Davis said. "I love getting another win, getting better and enjoying this with my teammates."
Jeanson led Lake Oswego with 12 points. Woolard added three points for the Lakers, and sophomore Kate Anders scored two.
Tualatin will be back in action on Friday, when it plays at St. Mary's Academy in a league game starting at 7:15 p.m. On Tuesday, the Wolves will play at West Linn in a league game starting at 7:30 p.m.
"We have a lot of strong teams in our league, so we're really practicing hard for our game against St. Mary's, because we know they're a good team and we're coming ready to play," Dering said.
Lake Oswego will be back in action on Friday, when it travels to Oregon City for a 7 p.m. league contest.
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