Tigard beats West Linn girls to take control of TRL race
The Tigard girls basketball team pushed ahead once, and West Linn answered.
The Tigers pushed ahead again, and the Lions answered again.
But when Tigard pushed ahead a third time, leading by 10 points at the start of the fourth quarter of their Tuesday matchup at West Linn High School, West Linn had no answer and the Tigers pulled away to win 56-42 in a matchup rife with Three Rivers League championship implications.
"They run their offense really well. They've got a lot of great key players that get their stuff done," said West Linn senior guard Lexie Pritchard, who finished with nine points on 4 of 8 shooting from the floor along with two assists and one steal. "They're hustlers, but it's always fun playing them. They're a great team."
"Last game, we were down on ourselves, but this game we played as a team," said West Linn senior wing Lizzy Herrick, who scored both of her baskets in the third quarter. "We had the saying that we were going to play together tonight and we did that. We never gave up."
With the loss, the Lions saw their seven-game winning streak snapped and fell to 9-2 in Three Rivers play (16-3 overall), but they still keep sole possession of second place by three games. Tigard, meanwhile, won for the 11th straight time and improved to 11-0 in league (16-3 overall).
The Tigers — led by junior guard Campbell Gray's 26 points and 17 more from sophomore guard Delaney Leavitt — and Lions were tied at 8-8 early on when West Linn freshman Makayla Long took a pass from senior Kennedi Byram and scored on a reverse with 2 minutes, 4 seconds remaining in the first quarter.
But Tigard made its first push away from West Linn there, scoring 11 of the final 13 points of the period to lead 19-10, with Campbell burying a 3-pointer, scoring on a drive and drilling another "three," and Leavitt taking a Campbell pass and knocking down another 3-pointer with two seconds left in the period.
Tigard's long-range marksmanship — the Tigers hit 10 "threes" in the game — was a huge factor all night, while the Lions made just one shot from long range on Tuesday.
"You're going to have some of those nights when you're not hitting and they're going to have some of those nights when they are hitting," Pritchard said. "Campbell, Delaney — they were on fire. They had a great game."
Then, after Tigard boosted its lead to 22-12 on another Leavitt "three" set up again by Gray 1:09 into the second quarter, the Lions ripped off six straight points to close within 22-18. First, they got an inside basket from Aaronette Vonleh, then another Vonleh hoop in the key assisted by Herrick, and finally, two Byram foul shots with 2:05 to go in the half.
The Lions closed within 24-20 early in the third quarter when Brooke Landis scored on a drive, a basket that kicked off a 15-9 scoring run by West Linn that eventually tied the contest at 33-33. That stretch included a Long spin move on the left side, back-to-back Herrick hoops inside, two Byram foul shots, a 3-pointer by Audrey Roden — the Lions' only "three" of the game — and a Vonleh tip-in that tied the game with 3:16 left in the period.
The Tigers responded again, however, and this time, the Lions could not answer. Tigard scored 14 of the game's next 18 points to push in front 47-37 on a Leavitt "three" from the right corner just 28 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Highlights in that stretch were seven Gray points, a putback by junior Dani Lyons, a Leavitt bank shot, and then the "three" that made it a 10-point game with 7:32 to go in the contest.
The Lions cut that edge to 47-39 on another Long hoop on the left side with 6:26 to play, but they got no closer. Tigard senior Gabby McGaughey scored five points down the stretch and Gray added 4 of 6 free throws to close out the win.
"Basketball is game of runs, so when they go on runs, it doesn't mean that it's the end of the game," Pritchard said. "Then it was our turn to go on a run to get back into the game — but they ended it. They got the last one."
"That really threw us off with the 'threes,'" Herrick added. "I thought (Vonleh) really got it going inside and (Long) got her spin moves going … but that was hard for us, that we didn't make our shots. They're a tough opponent."
For the game, Gray hit 9 of 16 shots from the field (including four three-pointers) and 4 of 6 foul shots, and added five assists and three steals. Leavitt went 6 of 12 shooting (including five "threes") for her 17 points.