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Beavers run past Lions

Beaverton outscores West Linn 47-22 in the final 22 minutes to win
by: Miles Vance ON THE MOVE — Beaverton’s Alexis Montgomery races upcourt during her team’s 62-41 win over West Linn on Tuesday at Beaverton High School.

BEAVERTON - Expectations are sky-high for the Beaverton girls basketball team this year, and so far, the Beavers have done little to disappoint.

Beaverton, currently 12th in the OSAA power rankings, ran its non-league record to 3-1 on Tuesday after dismantling West Linn 62-41 at Beaverton High School behind 20 points from junior guard Alexis Montgomery and another 16 by sophomore guard Danielle Hartzog.

The Lions (1-4 overall) actually led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter and by as much as 19-15 early in the second before Beaverton caught fire. But from there, the Beavers outscored West Linn 46-23 over the game's final 21 minutes and used that edge to pull away and win comfortably.

'We started playing harder on defense,' explained Hartzog, who hit 7-of-13 shots from the field on Tuesday. And 'we weren't running around so much and we got a little more organized.'

'We got our steals and we got our fast breaks and we ended up finishing in the paint better,' added Montgomery, who hit 9-of-15 shots (including one three-pointer) from the floor against the Lions. 'I thought we did good with getting the steals and then doing something with them instead of turning them back over to the other team.'

The Beavers got two quick Montgomery hoops and led 9-2 early in Tuesday's game, but the Lions came back strong in the last half of the opening period. West Linn closed the frame on a 12-4 run that included two Brittany Smith 'threes,' then moved in front 14-13 when Ashley Johnson scored on a broken play at the first-quarter buzzer.

The Lions then sandwiched a Karly LeVeque hoop and another Smith three-pointer around a Montgomery pull-up to extend their lead to 19-15 with 6 minutes, 11 seconds to go in the second quarter.

But that was just about it for offensive highlights in the West Linn side of the ledger.

The Beaver defense forced 23 turnovers the rest of the way (and 29 overall) - 13 of those on steals - and used that to fuel its fullcourt, fast break attack. Indeed, those turnovers led to 19 Beaverton points and allowed the Beavers to shoot 47 percent (18-of-38) in the game's final 21 minutes.

Montgomery, Hartzog and freshman forward Dagny McConnell scored twice each in the final five minutes of the second quarter to help their team lead 30-23 at halftime.

Montgomery then took a pass from Morgan Rennekamp and buried a three-pointer one minute into the third quarter to make it 33-23, and Hartzog added three in the frame to push her team's edge to 40-30.

The Lions moved back within 10 at 40-32 when Mikayla Kraemer took a Johnson pass and scored from the right block 42 seconds into the final period, but West Linn got no closer.

The Lions hit just 7-of-13 free throws and only 2-of-11 shots from the floor in the final period, and that offensive impotence - caused in great part by Beaverton's quick, ball-hawking defense - short-circuited any hopes West Linn might have had for a comeback.

'We're going to be really strong on defense this year,' Hartzog said. 'We have so many people who are so athletic and can match up with anybody.'

The Beavers, meanwhile, knocked down 6-of-9 at the foul line in the final eight minutes and seven more Montgomery points to pull away.

With still a month to go before the start of Metro League play, Beaverton believes it will be ready when the time comes.

'The harder we work, the better we'll get so we just need to keep working as hard as we can until league play,' Montgomery said. 'That's our main goal, to get back (to the state tournament) where we were last year and to be even better because we can.'

Our goal is 'to get No. 1 in the Metro League and just play our hardest and do the best we can do,' Hartzog added.

Smith led West Linn with 11 points while LeVeque added nine.

In upcoming games, Beaverton plays at Wilsonville at 7:15 p.m. Friday, faces Marist in the South Salem Invitational at noon Monday, then continues play at South Salem on Tuesday and Wednesday.

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