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Girls hoops team wraps up successful summer

The Lady Lions basketball team followed up one of its most successful seasons in recent history with a terrific summer session in which they went 28-9, including an undefeated run in their league games.

It was a sometimes exhausting couple of months for the Lions. In the month of June, the team only had five days off, playing league games on Mondays through Thursdays and in tournaments over the weekends.

'I think the kids got a lot out of the summer. We'll take August off but I was encouraged by the way all of our teams played,' said coach Glen Lee.

Over this time, West Linn went up against some of the best competition in the state and squared off against a number of talented teams from all over the country.

In its most recent tournament near Lake Tahoe, the team played in the championship game of the 46-team bracket. The team went 1-1 in pool play with their loss coming by just one point.

The Lions were then put into the championship bracket after one of the teams that finished 2-0 backed out. West Linn then went on a tear, rolling off victories until the championship game.

The Lions beat teams from Bishop, Liberty and St. Patrick's (all California schools) and their two losses were by a combined three points.

'It was a great way to end the summer session. I think the girls had a lot of fun and they played well,' Lee said.

West Linn also picked up some additional hardware in the tournament's free-throw shooting contest. After missing her practice shot, Hannah Schumaker then nailed 24 of 25 shots to win the event. Natalie Pittenger also placed in the top-four of the event before being eliminated.

It wasn't all about basketball though. During the tournament, the team went to the beach and rode wave runners and kayaked and, on the way home, the Lions checked out Circus Circus in Reno.

The team has also participated in some of the most competitive tournaments in Oregon this summer. The Lions made the quarterfinals or semifinals in every event with the exception of the prestigious Oregon City tournament.

In these events, West Linn held its own against some of the better teams in the state including Tualatin and Central Catholic, the team that knocked the Lions out of the playoffs last year.

'We've competed well against everyone we've seen this summer,' Lee said.

The junior varsity and freshmen teams also had successful summers, which bodes well for the program's future.

The core of last year's team will return for the Lions. Nikki Aden, who made the first-team all-tournament at the Oregon City competition, Rosetta Adzasu and Emily Wattman-Turner all had solid summer seasons along with Emily Locke and Sam Dewart.

The team's post, Jennifer Kimbrow, also had a productive summer. She returned earlier than expected from a broken leg she suffered last year and ended up making a number of starts for the Lions.

'She's coming along well. She was cleared to play right before the summer started and really started to fell comfortable on the court pretty quickly,' Lee said.

Much like they did during last season, the Lions prided themselves on their ability to get up and down the court quickly and play stifling defense. West Linn also shot the ball from the three-point line, all of which are good signs heading into the 2007 season.

'We know we have some holes to fill so we're concentrating on defense and rebounding and on being a scrappy team. I think the Lions are going to be very competitive again,' Lee said.

The Lions are expected to be one of the better teams in the Three Rivers League once again, competing with Oregon City, Lake Oswego, Lakeridge and Clackamas in what is always one of the most competitive leagues in the state.