A pair of wins vs. two of the TRL's best puts the Lady Lions in good shape at the half way point in league
Winning in an ugly fashion is certainly nothing to brag about. But who cares as long as the end result is a victory?
That's the way West Linn girls basketball coach Glen Lee was feeling after Tuesday night's 51-50 victory over Lake Oswego.
The victory kept West Linn in sole possession of second place in the Three Rivers League, thanks in part to last Friday's monumental 64-59 victory over fourth-ranked Clackamas.
Since Lake Oswego is unranked and has struggled at times this season, Tuesday's game should have been much easier than last Friday's contest. But nothing could have been further from the truth.
The Lions (5-1 in the TRL) never could shake the pesky Lakers. Even after West Linn opened a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter, Lake Oswego still came roaring back and had a chance to win the game at the end.
Fortunately for the Lions, the Lakers had trouble getting the shot they wanted on their final possession and West Linn was able to eke out a one-point victory.
West Linn didn't help its own cause much by shooting just 37.5 percent from the field. That included several missed shots from point-blank range. Plus, the Lions had trouble holding onto the ball down the stretch, which led to the evaporation of that entire 12-point lead.
The only thing that really counted, though, was the fact that West Linn still won the game.
'We were lucky to get out there with a win,' Lee said afterward.
But Lee was also quick to realize that Lake Oswego deserved a lot of credit for playing some hard-nosed defense. The Lions responded by rushing a number of their shots -- shots they would normally expect to make.
'(Coach) Paula (Pietrok) has those kids playing hard,' Lee said of Lake Oswego. '… But we needed to make some of those open lay-ups.'
Considering the way the game started, it didn't seem like Lee would have much to complain about by the end. His team jumped to a 6-0 lead and did it with relative ease.
Then, Lake Oswego broke out of its early funk to score nine unanswered points, which gave the Lakers a 14-11 lead late in the first quarter.
Lake Oswego then extended its lead to 19-13 by scoring the first five points of the second quarter. That gave the Lakers a 14-2 run, spanning more than eight minutes of action.
But West Linn finally broke its drought when Amy Christensen hit one of two free throws with 3:07 left in the second stanza. That started a 9-2 run for the Lions and it gave West Linn a 22-21 lead at halftime.
Leading the turnaround was senior point guard Rosetta Adzasu, who was absolutely unstoppable at times en route to a game-high 21-point night.
The run then continued into the early part of the third quarter, which started off with a rebound basket by Adzasu and one free throw each by Emily Wattman-Turner and Sam Dewart. That pushed West Linn's lead to 26-21.
That set the stage for Lake Oswego's second rally of the night, and two minutes later, the game was tied at 26. The contest then see-sawed back and forth with the two teams eventually working their way to a 33-all tie with one minute left in the third quarter.
It seemed the rest of the game was destined to be played that way. But West Linn had different ideas as the Lions went on a 12-0 run that put them in front by a 45-33 count with 5:49 left in the fourth period.
However, anyone who thought the Lakers were finished was sadly mistaken. The Lakers responded by tightening up their defense, especially with their full-court press. After taking good care of the ball most of the game, West Linn suddenly had trouble holding onto it.
'(Lake Oswego) over-played us and got some steals…. And we did not take care of the ball,' Lee said
The turnaround gained momentum when Becky Luetjen scored on a lay-up at the 3:04 mark and Kate Childs followed a short time later with a medium-range jumper to cut West Linn's lead to 48-41.
After a free throw by Wattman-Turner, Childs hit a three-pointer to cut West Linn's lead to five. After a turnover by the Lions, Lake Oswego's Lisa Blakely banked in a three-pointer from the top of the key to trim the deficit to 49-47 with 1:11 left.
On West Linn's next possession, Wattman-Turner managed to get behind everyone on an inbounds play from mid-court. She had what should have been a simple lay-up but missed the shot and Lake Oswego got the rebound.
Once again, the Lakers found Childs all alone on the weak side of the defense and she hit a short jumper to tie the game at 49 with 42 seconds left.
After a time out, West Linn did a nice job of working the ball inside but missed the shot. Dewart chased down the errant shot, but she found herself in an awkward position underneath the backboard.
She somehow managed to get a shot past the outstretched arms of Lake Oswego center Shannon Reader. The ball then went straight up, passing the top of the backboard on its upward path, and then fell through the basket on its downward flight.
'Any way we can get it in, I'll take it,' Lee of the basket that gave his team a 51-49 lead with 25 seconds remaining.
Even though time was running short, there was still a lot of basketball left the play.
With 16 seconds left, Luetjen was fouled on a scoring attempt from the middle of the key. She missed her first attempt but made her second foul shot to cut West Linn's lead to one.
Then, in an effort to run out the remaining time, Adzasu lost control of her dribble, which led to a jump ball with 11 seconds remaining. With the possession arrow pointing Lake Oswego's way, the Lakers had one last chance and this time it was for the win.
The Lakers spent most of the remaining time trying to get the ball inside to Reader and then to Luetjen. But the Lions fought hard to deny the entry pass and Blakely settled for a long jumper that barely drew iron.
Afterward, Lee wasn't sure if he should be pleased or relieved.
'We got the win. That was the bright spot,' the coach said.
Meanwhile, the game against Clackamas was a completely different story as West Linn turned in one of its best performances of the season.
'I thought our girls did an outstanding job of controlling the tempo,' Lee said. 'Then, it came down to us being able to hit some shots.'
West Linn shot 57 percent from the field while Clackamas hit only 39 percent of its attempts.
Individually, no one played better than Adzasu, who scored a game-high 24 points. She also had eight rebounds, seven assists and three steals in 31 minutes of action.
'She played very focused basketball,' Lee of his point guard.
Dewart also had a big game with 15 points and seven rebounds. And Wattman-Turner hit a trio of three-pointers en route to an 11-point night.
Really, it was a night in which nearly everyone deserved at least part of the credit for the victory.
'Overall, our kids just followed the game plan,' Lee said. 'I was really pleased with our effort.'
Clackamas 15 13 16 15: 59
West Linn 12 19 14 19: 64
Clahoun 15, Griggs 11, Reese 11, Buehler 7, Strous 5, Myers 4, Baker 2, Yates 2, Bieker 2, Schaffer.
Adzasu 24, Dewart15, Wattman-Turner 11, May 7, Maleike 3, Christensen 2, Joscelyn 2, Pittenger, Miller, Kolasinski, Schumaker.
West Linn 13 9 19 10: 51
Lake Oswego 14 7 12 17: 50
Adzasu 21, Dewart 10, Wattman-Turner 7, Christensen 6, Maleike 5, Kolasinski 2, Joscelyn, May.
Luetjen 12, Childs 11, Blakely 8, Reader 6, Guthrie 5, Reis 4, Sullivan 3, Babcock-Krenk 1, Prince, Herald.