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Girls hoops team fares well in Salem

It's amazing what getting back to full strength can do for a team.

The West Linn girls basketball team got off to a 1-4 start after players missed games due to injury and sickness but, heading into the South Salem tournament, the team was as close to 100 percent as it has been all season and, not surprisingly, it responded by playing its best basketball of the season in reaching the finals.

"We're starting to put things together and getting back to where we thought this team would be," coach Glen Lee said.

In the tournament opener, West Linn knocked off Sunset 62-44, getting off to a terrific start and coasting to a win.

The Lions led 35-19 at the half and were able to get 11 players into the game with 10 of them scoring.

West Linn dominated on the glass, out-rebounding Sunset 37-21 in the game as the Lions seized control quickly.

Mikayla Kraemer has perhaps her best game of the season, leading her team with 13 points.

Julia Boyd-Helm and Karly LeVeque each scored in double figures as well.

West Linn made a living at the free throw line, knocking down 23 of 27 attempts as the Lions never allowed the Apollos a chance to get back in the game.

In the semifinals, West Linn took on the hosts from South Salem.

Once again the Lions got off to a strong start, taking a 17-11 lead after the opening quarter.

West Linn made a concerted effort to stop South Salem's top scorer, putting Boyd-Helm on her for most of the game.

The Lions succeeded in shutting her down, holding her to just five points.

"She scores about 85 percent of their points and Julia did a phenomenal job on her," Lee said.

Once again West Linn held a big advantage on the boards, winning that statistic 26-17. Kraemer had another solid game, scoring 10 points to go along with six rebounds.

"Our posts have done a nice job recently and securing the paint for us," Lee said.

LeVeque led the scoring effort for the Lions, notching 13 points while adding five steals and five assists.

She and Ashley Johnson each hit a pair of three-pointers in the game.

West Linn put things away in the third quarter, outscoring South Salem 21-11 in that stanza to cruise to another victory.

That set up a rematch with Beaverton in the championship on Wednesday evening.

The Beavers easily dispatched West Linn in an early game but the Lions hoped that their revamped line-up would make for a different result this time around. Results from that game were not available at press time.