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Valiants flying high

The Valiants stay unbeaten and top-ranked in Class 3A


by: MILES VANCE - IN THE MIDST - Valley Catholic sophomore center Bailey McDevitt goes up between three Portland Adventist defenders for a shot during her team's 39-21 win over the Cougars in Lewis & Clark League play at Valley Catholic High School on Jan. 3.

BEAVERTON — Every day, every game, every challenge — so far the Valley Catholic girls basketball team has met every one.

The Valiants cleared two of their latest, and bigges,t hurdles last week when they raced past two of their toughest Lewis & Clark League foes, hammering Portland Adventist 39-21 on Jan. 3, then coming back Saturday to dump Rainier 46-35 at Valley Catholic.

Those two wins, as well as a Tuesday victory over Corbett, lifted Valley Catholic’s L&C record to 7-0 (16-0 overall) and kept the Valiants in sole possession of first place. Portland Adventist added a win over Oregon Episcopal on Saturday and another over Catlin Gabel on Tuesday and moved to 5-2 in league play, while Rainier won on Tuesday and moved to 4-3 in league play.

In the win over the Cougars, the Valiants held Portland Adventist to 24 percent shooting (10-of-42 from the field) and also forced 23 turnovers in the game.

“We’ve been working on our defense a lot because we lost five of our best seniors from last year,” said Valley Catholic sophomore guard/forward Kaylynn Bush, who had seven points in the win. “We knew that on defense this year we really needed to step up.”

Key to that defensive effort was slowing PA senior Sydney Tonack, a 6-foot-2 senior center who leads the Cougars in scoring. With Valiant sophomore center Bailey McDevitt leading the way, Tonack hit just 4-of-15 shots from the floor and finished with just nine points.

“We really played good defense on her and shut her down,” said McDevitt, who led VC with nine points of her own. “We were just playing our regular defense, but watching out for her, making sure we knew where she was on the floor. We tried to double team down low sometimes, but most of the time we were just focused on playing good tough ‘D’ on her, pushing her out and making sure she didn’t get good position down low.”

The Valiants took command early on against the Cougars, forcing six first-quarter turnovers, limiting PA to just 1-of-8 shooting and racing out to a 14-2 lead. Bush played a key role in that early surge, making four steals in the opening eight minutes and scoring six of her seven points in the frame.

The Valiants pushed their edge to 12 points midway through the second quarter when Bush made another steal and set up Chelsea Alsdorf for a fast break basket that gave VC a 16-4 lead with 4 minutes, 24 seconds to go before halftime.

The Cougars rallied in the remaining portion of the half, getting two hoops from Tonack and a late inside basket from Tasha Villeda to close within 19-10 at the break. PA was still within 21-13 when Keala Verigan scored in the lane two minutes into the third, but Valley Catholic made sure the Cougars got no closer.

The Valiants closed the half on a 10-3 run that extended their advantage to 31-16, getting three-pointers from both Emily Gabourel and Grace Mannen, free throws from Bush and McDevitt, and a short bank shot by LaBonte.

Valley then stretched its lead to 39-16 on a fast break basket by Kim Duyck with 3:29 remaining to put the game on ice.

“I just tried to play hard and tried to go hard to the basket because the refs weren’t calling much,” said McDevitt, who hit 3-of-10 shots from the field and 2-of-3 at the foul line. “I think we’re playing really good so far this year.”

“It wasn’t our greatest game. We didn’t use our transition like we normally do, but it was just a battle out there for us,” Bush said.

Alsdorf added six and LaBonte five in the win, while Villeda chipped in six for Portland Adventist.

In upcoming games, Valley Catholic plays at Clatskanie at 6 p.m. Friday, then hosts Oregon Episcopal at 6 p.m. Jan. 18.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.




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