Basketball: Lathrop, Tualatin girls, way too much for St. Mary's
The Tualatin High School girls basketball team was dominant.
Natalie Lathrop was pretty much unstoppable.
And St. Mary's didn't stand much of a chance.
The Timberwolves, behind their strong defense and rebounding, as well as getting a monstrous performance from Lathrop, powered their way to a 66-40 win over the Blues in a key Three Rivers League contest played Tuesday at Tualatin High School, avenging a 56-50 road loss to St. Mary's back on Jan. 17.
"This is a really big game for us," said Lathrop, the Wolves' 6-foot-3 post, who had a triple-double with 35 points, 17 rebounds and 10 blocked shots in Tuesday's game. "The last time we played St. Mary's, they beat us. Looking back on film, we saw the mistakes that we could fix, so this was a huge game for us to show how much we've improved since then. It definitely was motivation. We knew what we had to prove."
"This is a huge win, coming off a loss to St. Mary's, we wanted to prove a point that we belong in this league, because this is a very good league," said Tualatin junior Sidney Dering, who scored 12 points in the contest. "We have really good energy on the court, because we're all best friends, and we're playing for each other. We're all playing for our teammates."
With the loss, St. Mary's moved to 5-4 in TRL play (13-7 overall), putting the Blues in fifth place in the league standings. With the win, its fifth straight, Tualatin improved to 6-3 in TRL games (15-4 overall), putting the Wolves in a tie with Canby for third place in the league standings.
"We wanted to get these guys bad," Tualatin coach Wes Pappas said. "They got us at their place. We were just really focused tonight. The girls defended tremendously. This was a big game for us rebounding-wise, and defensively, and Natalie was just phenomenal."
She certainly was.
Lathrop scored her career-high 35 points on a perfect 14-for-14 shooting night from the field. She scored 21 points in the first half of the game, and she had 10 rebounds and seven blocked shots in the second half.
"It was a lot of fun, and it's really cool to have teammates like I do, because they were looking for me," Lathrop said. "I got many wide-open shots, because they were looking up the court, or looking to me, and that was really cool."
"When you have that good of a post inside, it would be silly not to look for her," Dering said.
St. Mary's took a 2-0 lead in Tuesday's game, following a steal and layup by senior Marley Johnson. But it was all Tualatin after that. The Wolves responded with five straight points by Lathrop and a layup by freshman Tabi Searle, following a steal by Dering, and Tualatin was in charge the rest of the way.
Tualatin junior Aurora Davis added a 3-point basket later in the opening period, which ended with the Wolves holding a 12-8 lead.
Lathrop then took over — in a big way — in the second quarter. Lathrop made all six of her shots from the field, with two of those baskets coming off assists from Searle, and she scored a total of 14 points, while also pulling down five rebounds, in the period.
Dering added six points in the quarter, and junior Kasidy Javernick sank a 3-pointer, helping the Wolves up their lead to 37-23 at halftime.
The Wolves kept rolling early in the second half. Tualatin opened the third quarter with a 10-0 run, which included four points from both Lathrop and Searle, and a pair of free throws by Dering, giving the Wolves a 47-23 cushion with 4 minutes and 18 seconds left to play in the period. Tualatin would go on to take a 50-32 lead to the fourth quarter.
Tualatin had an 11-0 run to start the final stanza. Dering opened the run with a short-range jumper. Lathrop then scored seven straight points, having a pair of baskets off of assists from sophomore Brook Burke. Lathrop checked out of the game following her last hoop, coming with 5:24 left to play in the game.
Burke then capped off the run with a steal and layup, giving the Wolves their biggest lead of the game, at 61-32, with 4:59 remaining in the contest.
From there, Tualatin cruised to the 66-40 victory.
"Natalie was huge tonight, and we had a lot of kids step up," Pappas said. "Tabi Searle, a freshman for us, she's got into the starting lineup, and she just played tough tonight. She had some assists, and did a good job getting to the basket, and just defended like crazy for us. She did great, and I'm just really proud of all of these girls."
"We've been working really hard in practice, and I think we have something to prove in league this year, so that's really good motivation," Lathrop said.
"We have huge goals. We can build off this one," Dering said. "We did a lot of good things, but there were mistakes that we can work to improve on. When you have a 26-point win, and you still have mistakes, that shows that you have potential for growth."
Dering had five assists to go with her 12 points.
"I try to look for my teammates when they're open, and driving and creating gaps for them is huge, because when you're driving, you're not just driving for yourself, you're driving for your teammates," she said.
Searle had six points and two assists. Javernick pulled down seven rebounds to go with four points. Davis had three points and two assists.
Tualatin, as a team, made 25 of 45 shots from the field, with two 3-pointers, and 14 of 19 free-throw attempts. The Wolves also outrebounded St. Mary's by a 38-17 margin.
"This was really fun," Lathrop said. "It was a huge win for us in league, and in general, and coming back from a loss against them, so it was a huge win for us."
"This was a blast," Dering said. "I love being out there on the court with my teammates."
Johnson led St. Mary's with nine points. Sophomore Tyra Trimble added seven for the Blues.
St. Mary's as a team, made 15 of 50 shots from the field, with five 3-pointers, and five of seven free-throw attempts.
Both teams will be back in action on Friday. Tualatin will host league-leading West Linn and St. Mary's will be home to play Tigard in league games starting at 7:15 p.m.
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