The Valiants awaken in the second half to stay perfect in WVL play
by: MILES VANCE, I GOT IT — Valley Catholic senior post Kate Emery stretches for a rebound during her team’s 52-28 victory over Amity on Friday night at Valley Catholic High School.

BEAVERTON - It isn't always easy slogging your way through late-January basketball games, even for one of the best teams in the state.

Valley Catholic's girls know that better than anyone, but they also know how to turn it on when it counts, and the Valiants did that again Friday night, outscoring Amity 35-15 in the second half to win 52-28 at Valley Catholic High School. The win lifted Valley Catholic to 11-0 in West Valley League play and 18-2 overall, while Amity fell to 4-7 and 7-13.

'Tonight was a big game for us because we were in a slump and now I think we're going to be over that as a team,' said Valley Catholic sophomore forward Jeni Picken, who scored 15 points against the Warriors. 'We had a really slow start, but then we started to catch fire so that was cool.'

'The thing about our club is, when we're aggressive, we're pretty tough to beat and when we're passive, anybody in the state can play with us,' said Valley Catholic coach John Innes.

And 'passive' pretty much described Valley Catholic's first half, which included a 5-of-26 shooting performance and six of its 11 turnovers on the night. Still, the Valiants got six first-quarter points from junior post Lisa Gallinat (who led all scorers with 18 points Friday), four more from Picken and a three-pointer from Johanna Crisman to lead 13-8 after the opening period.

But the Valiants went stone cold in the second frame, missing all nine of their shots from the field and hitting just 4-of-9 free throws. Fortunately for Valley Catholic, Amity was nearly as bad offensively, going just 1-of-7 from the floor, though Kelsey Due's five points in the frame kept her team within 17-13 at halftime.

Valley Catholic found its rhythm in the third quarter, however, hitting 9-of-14 shots (including three three-pointers)

from the field, outscoring the Warriors 21-6 and taking complete and utter control of the game. Crisman knocked down two three-pointers in the quarter, Gallinat added eight points and

Picken added a 'three' of her own and five in the period.

'We had to make sure we didn't go a little cold like we did with Colton,' said Crisman, who finished with 11 points. 'We had a little tough game with them, but we picked it up in the second half there too. We've been in a little slump so we're just getting out of that and going strong.'

The Valiants kept the heat on in the fourth quarter, too, opening the period with an 8-2 run that saw their lead crest at 46-21 on Picken's swooping left-handed shot in the lane with 5 minutes, 41 seconds left in the game.

The Warriors cut that lead to 20 points just once in the remaining minutes -at 48-28 on Ashley Meyersick's jumpshot with 2:19 to go - but got no closer.

'I think we were just more aggressive (in the second half), and when they collapsed on Lisa, both Jeni and me just shot from outside and made some,' said Crisman, who hit 4-of-9 shots against Amity, including three three-pointers.

'We were playing more aggressive and we attacked them more with our offense because we knew they were doubling Lisa so we had to have other players step up and we did,' added Picken, who made 7-of-12 shots against the Warriors.

Gallinat made 7-of-13 shots from the floor and 4-of-7 foul shots. As a team, Valley Catholic hit 21-of-56 shots from the field (including four three-pointers) and 6-of-11 free throws while committing 11 turnovers.

Amity was led by Due's 15 points; she hit 4-of-10 shots (including two 'threes') and 5-of-7 foul shots. As a team, the Warriors made just 10-of-40 shots (including two three-pointers) and 6-of-11 free throws with 21 turnovers.

In upcoming games, Valley Catholic plays at Westside Christian at 7:30 p.m. Monday and hosts Dayton at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

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