West Linn girls rally past Lakeridge 71-57
The West Linn girls basketball team has a target on its back.
And that means the Lions are going to get their opponents' best shot every time they step on the court.
That was certainly the case on Friday, Feb. 7, when the Lions fell behind Lakeridge by five points late in the first half and still trailed by a point at the break.
But West Linn, playing without third-leading scorer Payton Shelstad (who's been battling illness), steadied itself in the second half, put the brakes on the Pacers' hot 3-point shooters and pulled away to win 71-57 at West Linn High School.
"We are ranked pretty high right now and we've been winning so everybody's going to come and do everything they can to try to beat us," said West Linn junior guard Audrey Roden, who shook off first-half foul trouble to score 14 of her 18 points in the second half. Roden made 6 of 17 shots from the field (including three 3-pointers), along with eight rebounds, three steals and one assist. "At halftime, we made adjustments to … stay out on (Lakeridge's 3-point shooters) and I think we did really good job of that."
"They were hitting so many 'threes' that, at halftime, coach (Brooke Cates) kind of chewed us out and said 'You can't help out. You've got to stay on the shooters,'" said West Linn junior guard Cami Fulcher, who scored five points (on 2 of 6 shooting from the field with one "three"), along with eight assists, two rebounds, one block and one steal. "So I think we definitely adjusted to that."
The Lions also got a standout effort from junior post Aaronette Vonleh, who led all scorers with 26 points after hitting 11 of 12 shots from the floor and four straight free throws, along with eight rebounds.
"Every single game, we have to utilize Aaronette. She's working her butt off down there," Fulcher said. "That's one of the things we've been working on in practice is getting our angles and getting the right speed on the pass to get it in there to her."
"She's good in the paint, she knows what she's doing, she knows how to use her body — there's nobody like her, said Lakeridge senior guard Abbi Fedrizzi, who led her team with 22 points (on 7 of 17 shooting from the field with five 3-pointers and a 3 of 3 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds, two assists and one steal.
With the win — the team's third straight and ninth in its last 10 games — the third-ranked Lions improved to 7-1 in the Three Rivers League to maintain sole possession of first place and 13-5 overall. No. 24 Lakeridge, meanwhile, lost for the fourth straight time and fell to 2-4 in TRL play and 10-8 overall.
While the Pacers weren't happy with the loss, they did walk away happy with their effort and the way they'd challenged the Lions.
"I thought we played really well in the first half. We really came out ready to play," Fedrizzi said. "We showed them what we got and we need to do that every game. I'm proud of how we played."
"We were just playing intense. We had nothing to lose," said Lakeridge sophomore guard Reese Ericson, who added 14 points (on 5 of 14 shooting from the field with two 3-pointers and a 2 of 3 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds, three assists and one steal. "We were playing for each other and we played for Abbi, and our senior."
The Lions led 7-2 early on when Vonleh scored inside off a pass from sophomore Olivia McVicker, but the Pacers showed their ability to respond early, too. Ericson scored on the fast break, and after that, Fedrizzi hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give Lakeridge a 10-9 lead with 2 minutes, 38 seconds to go in the first period.
The Lions led 14-13 at the end of the opening quarter, then boosted their edge to 25-19 when sophomore wing/post Campbell Sheffield took a Fulcher pass and scored on the break with 5:13 left in the half.
But it didn't last. The Pacers responded with their best stretch of the game, putting together a 16-6 run over a span of 3:44 to take a 35-31 lead.
Fedrizzi was unstoppable there, hitting three straight foul shots, making a 3-pointer assisted by Ericson, rebounding her own miss and scoring again, then burying another "three" set up by junior Addie Reardon. And finally, junior wing Payton Moffenbeier took a pass from junior Emma Krauss and drilled another 3-pointer from the right corner for that 35-31 lead with 1:29 left in the half.
"We were all just playing together, our shots were falling and our energy was there," Fedrizzi said. "It was a loud gym, which keeps us high, keeps us going and we kind of put them back on their heels a little."
The Lions closed within 35-34 at the half, and in the third quarter, they just flat took over. West Linn — buoyed by the return of Rosen (she sat much of the second quarter with foul trouble) — outscored the Pacers 21-8 in the period, with Roden going for 11 points, Vonleh another seven and McVicker a "three," with Vonleh's buzzer-beater extending the lead to 56-43 at the end of three.
"It was hard to sit there on the bench for so long. I couldn't wait to go back in," Roden said. "I kept thinking 'Anytime now.'"
At the same time, the Pacers hit just 3 of 10 shots from the field and turned the ball over eight times in the period.
"In the second half, they came for us and we took too long to adjust, unfortunately," Fedrizzi said. "They definitely adjusted. … Audrey came out and had a bunch of 'threes' and got them back in the game."
The Pacers edged back within 69-57 when Ericson hit a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 2:32 left in the game — Ericson went for eight points in the final period — but got no closer thanks to another eight points by Vonleh.
"They were super-hot tonight," Fulcher said. "It took us a little time, but we got there and kept our heads up on the shooters."
"They weren't expecting that. We were wired up," Ericson said. "We just have to keep pushing them in games like that."
For Lakeridge, freshman Keelie O'Hollaren added 12 points on 4 of 6 shooting from the field (all 3-pointers), along with four rebounds, one steal and one assist.
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