Offense struggled without Erin Counts, Abby Gonzalez in wins over Jewell and Oregon School for the Deaf

PHIL HAWKINS - St. Paul senior Megan Tuck and the girls basketball team improved to 9-0 last week, including 4-0 against Casco League opponents after defeating the Jewell Blue Jays 51-24 on Dec. 17 followed by a 47-11 victory against the Oregon School for the Deaf on Dec. 19. 
After a 51-24 win over Jewell, St. Paul girls coach Dave Matlock said his team was disappointed with its offensive output. With juniors Erin Counts and Abby Gonzalez out due to injuries, scoring was hard to come by.

Counts and Gonzalez sat out the game against Oregon School for the Deaf as well and the result was more of the same on the offensive end despite a stifling defensive effort by the Bucks. St. Paul won 47-11 in its lowest-scoring game of the season on both sides of the ball.

"From the second quarter on we just had lockdown defense," Matlock said. "They only had two shots in the third quarter. Two attempts. We had really good defense throughout and I was pleased with our consistency."

Matlock said he expects both Counts and Gonzalez to return in time for St. Paul's home tournament, which begins Thursday against Vernonia and concludes Friday against Monroe. Both games tip off at 4 p.m.

St. Paul is 9-0 overall this season, 4-0 in league, with every win by a double-digit margin. As of Friday, the Bucks were ranked No. 2 in the OSAA 1A rankings, trailing 8-1 Country Christian, whose only loss came to Class 4A Molalla.

Matlock said his team's upcoming opponents will provide the biggest tests of the season so far. Monroe is one of the top teams in Class 2A play, while Vernonia is 5-4 and plays a similar style to the Bucks. After its tournament, St. Paul will face Joseph at Dufur High School before going on the road to play Perrydale. Matlock has both of those games circled, too.

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