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Girls oust Forest Grove with help from trio of freshmen

West Linn ground out another tough victory on Friday, keeping its momentum going before a three-game trip to Arizona where it will see some of the best competition it has faced all season.

On the road, the Lions used a solid second half to get past Forest Grove 50-42. West Linn played without point guard Rosetta Adzasu, who had family obligations, and received contributions from the entire team to pull of the victory.

The Lions shut down Forest Grove's point guard, holding her to four points and only one assist while she committed seven turnovers.

'Their guard runs the shot. If you let her dictate the pace you're going to be in trouble,' coach Glen Lee said.

Much of that was due to the defense of Morgan Joscelyn who has thrived in her role as a defensive stopper for the Lions.

'Morgan did a really nice job. She does a lot of things that don't show up in the stat book,' Lee said.

But it took a while for West Linn to pull away. The first half went back and forth. The Lions took a slim two-point lead after the first quarter.

Forest Grove made up the small deficit in the second period and the score was tied at the half.

In the second half, the Lions picked up the pressure and it turned out to be the difference in the game. The Lions and Vikings played a fairly even game statistically but West Linn turned the ball over six fewer times.

Emily Wattman-Turner continued her strong play for West Linn, leading the Lions in scoring once again with 14. She hit four of six shots from the field and knocked down both of West Linn's three-pointers in the game.

'Emily's been stepping up for us either as a shut-down player on defense or scoring points. It helps to have her leadership,' Lee said.

The Lions took a 39-34 lead after the third quarter to gain control of the game.

West Linn received solid contributions from its three freshmen. Guard Andi Maleike had six points, three rebounds and two steals while Elise Miller saw her most action of the year and scored four points.

Meanwhile, the Lions enjoyed an advantage in the paint for much of the evening. Freshman Amy Christensen was West Linn's second-leading scorer with nine points and she pulled down three rebounds.

'Our freshmen were sparkplugs tonight. They got some valuable minutes tonight that are going to be crucial later in the year,' Lee said.

Post Sam Dewart struggled shooting on the night but had eight rebounds in the game.

The Lions kept Forest Grove at an arm's length in the fourth quarter to preserve the win. West Linn will leave for Arizona on Dec. 26 and will take on an undefeated team from Canada, a perennial powerhouse from Tennessee and a quick and athletic team from California during the stay.

The entire varsity team will be making the trip.