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Crusaders get a big victory

Jesuit's girls snap a three-game losing streak by beating Lake Oswego
by: MILES VANCE, OUT IN FRONT — Jesuit senior Julianne Brands goes up for a layin in her team’s win over Lake Oswego last week.

LAKE OSWEGO - Jesuit's taken a few lumps early in the 2007-08 girls basketball season, but the youthful Crusaders think their win over Lake Oswego last Thursday was a step in the right direction.

Jesuit (4-4), which had lost three straight games before its Thursday contest at Lake Oswego High School, trailed the Lakers 12-10 at the end of the first quarter, but outscored Lake Oswego 36-21 in the next two quarters and pulled away to win 57-45.

'It feels really good,' said Jesuit senior guard Julianne Brands, who scored 11 points in the win. 'It's always been a big rivalry between Jesuit and LO, and regardless of how either one of us turns out by the end of the season, it's always good to beat them.'

'It was good,' added senior guard/forward Meghan White, who led all scorers with 15 points. 'We just had three tough losses in a row and they were all games we thought we should have won, so tonight our focus was just to do the little things like block out, play team defense and just play together as a team. Play with fire. We were all just really pumped up to play this game.'

The proved it in last week's second quarter too. The Crusaders scored on their first seven possessions of the quarter, put together a 13-3 run in that stretch and took a 25-15 lead they would never relinquish. They did it with balance too, getting four points from Carly Wellington, a three-pointer from Brands, a Sarah Griffin jumpshot, a fast break hoop from Jenna Dixon and a foul shot from Shikara Lowe.

That balance was evident all game too, with Wellington finishing with 10 points, and Griffin and Dixon with eight each.

'We have a real young team this year … so it's really nice to see it come together tonight,' Brands said. 'There's really only two girls on the team this year with varsity experience but we're really stepping up.'

And try as the Lakers might, they just couldn't get much closer the rest of the way. Lake Oswego, which was led by Shannon Reader's 12 points, cut Jesuit's lead to nine twice in the second quarter and once again in the third - at 40-31 on Becky Luetjen's three-point play with 3 minutes, 3 seconds in the quarter - but got no closer.

White had a big hand in keeping the Lakers at bay in the third quarter - she hit three three-pointers in the stanza and scored 11 of her 15 points in a stretch of just 4:08, her last 'three' extending Jesuit's lead to 46-31 with 1:58 left in the period.

The Lakers closed the game with a 12-11 scoring edge in the fourth quarter, but got no closer than 12 points in the game's final eight minutes.

'We really wanted to come out and win this,' White said. 'Everyone just came out and was pumped up and wanted to play well and just wanted to play together. We were just a lot more excited.'

In addition to Reader's 12 points, Luetjen added 11 and Miranda Babcock-Krenk 8 in the loss.

In upcoming games, Jesuit opens play today (Thursday) in the Riverside Invitational tournament. The Crusaders open play against Buena, Calif., and continue with games on both Friday and Saturday.