West Linn topples Lady Vikings

Adzasu comes off the bench to spark 13-point West Linn victory
by: Zack Palmer, Forest Grove's Sarah Amina fights for a loose ball with Sam Dewart of West Linn on Tuesday night in a non-conference girls basketball game.

West Linn junior guard Rosetta Adzasu didn't start Tuesday's non-conference game against Forest Grove, but she certainly made her presence felt.

Adzasu came off the bench to score 19 points and hand out eight assists, guiding the No. 6 girls from West Linn to a 63-50 triumph over the visiting Lady Vikings.

'I'm glad that for whatever reason she didn't start. I'm guessing she was in trouble or else he's nuts,' Forest Grove head coach Po Waiwaiole said jokingly after the game, referring to West Linn coach Glen Lee's decision to start the contest with Adzasu on the bench.

Once the junior entered the game, she wasted little time mixing things up. With West Linn trailing 24-18, Adzasu sparked a 6-0 run that tied the game, and her floater in the lane with 50 seconds left in the first half gave the Lions a 32-27 lead at the break.

Adzasu abused the Forest Grove defense all night, slashing down the lane for layups that were often uncontested. When the defense did collapse around her, the junior guard simply dished off to a teammate for an easy bucket.

'There's no reason at all for somebody to go from the top of the key all the way down to the basket,' said Waiwaiole of Adzasu's slicing drives and his team's lack of help defense. 'It's one thing if she beats somebody off the dribble, but we knew we needed defensive help and it wasn't there.'

West Linn continued to pull away early in the second half behind the long-range marksmanship of senior Nikki Aden, who knocked down a 3-pointer to make it 39-29 just two minutes into the third quarter. The Lions led by as many as 12 and finished the frame with a 49-37 edge on another driving layup by Adzasu.

Forest Grove mounted a valiant but ill-fated comeback attempt in the fourth, sparked by five straight points from senior Sallye Alexander. The 6-foot-5 center, quiet for much of the first half, scored down low and then stepped outside to knock down a 3-pointer in the opening moments of the fourth to make it 49-42. Teammate and fellow senior Sarah Amina would drill a pull-up jumper a minute and a half later to pull within five, but that would be as close as Forest Grove would get.

Adzasu converted a three-point play after being fouled by Alexander, then stole a pass near midcourt and went straight to the hole for a bucket and a 58-48 West Linn lead. The rest was academic, as the Lions went into a stall offense and eventually won by 13.

'We wanted to try to jump out on them early and then play from ahead,' said Waiwaiole, whose team led from the opening tip until the 3:15 mark of the second quarter. 'Then we were going to try to slow the tempo down and that worked for a while, but we just had so many mistakes in the backcourt on the press break and so many mistakes on defense, just not covering the lane.'

Aden also scored 19 points for West Linn (3-0), which remained unbeaten on the season. The Lions got eight points apiece from Jennifer Kimbrow and Emily Locke.

Forest Grove (1-2) was paced by Alexander's 21-point effort, her highest output of the year. Last season she was the fifth-leading scorer in the state at 18.2 points per game.

Nikki Kemper tossed in 12 points for the Lady Viks, six of which came in the first three minutes of the game as the senior wing sparked an 8-2 Forest Grove run.

Amina added eight points for Forest Grove, which returns to action next Tuesday night on the road against Westview. West Linn will travel to Beaverton on Friday.

For a detailed recap of the Lady Vikings' week on the hardcourt, be sure to pick up a copy of the Dec. 16 edition of the News-Times.