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Viking girls rip Sprague to continue hot streak

Forest Grove wins for the 13th time in its last 16 games

Only at the very start was this one close.

The Forest Grove girls basketball team celebrated Senior Night in grand fashion last Tuesday, when it blew out visiting Sprague, 61-21. The Vikings scored the first nine points of the contest and had three players finish in double figures, helping produce a vastly different result from the teams’ first matchup on Jan. 19, which Forest Grove won 62-50.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Forest Grove sophomore Kinsey Barnett goes up for a shot against pressure from Sprague's Natalie Bock during last Tuesday's game.

“They played us pretty close down at their place. They’re a feisty team,” Forest Grove head coach Dan Lumpkin said. “They bring a lot of energy and they’re physical, so they create some problems with that. We were able to keep them from getting open shots and so they really had to earn every basket that they got.”

Indeed, with the Vikings playing the way they did, what Sprague got turned out to be not much. The Olympians managed 12 points in the second quarter, but scored only nine in the other three periods combined.

Meanwhile, Forest Grove picked up its 13th win in 16 games since Christmas, improving to 14-9 overall and 9-6 in Greater Valley Conference play.

That put the Vikings in fourth place, half a game behind West Salem, but the Titans completed their league schedule last Friday. Results of Forest Grove’s regular season finale on Tuesday were unavailable at press deadline, but that game was against a winless North Salem side (0-23, 0-15), making it highly likely for the Vikings to finish in a tie for third place.

Katie Rebsom keyed last Tuesday’s fast start with a 3-pointer to open the scoring, and she knocked down a pair of free throws a bit later to build that early 9-0 margin. The lead increased to 16-4 by the end of the quarter.

Sprague (10-13, 5-10) found a bit more offense in the second quarter but lost junior guard Sarah Teubner for the rest of the game after she picked up her second technical foul and was disqualified. The score was 28-12 at that point, and Forest Grove coasted into halftime with a 31-16 advantage.

The margin only continued to grow in the second half. Partway through the third, Jodi Blomdahl’s 3-pointer pushed the lead above 20 points for the first time, at 39-18, and the Vikings continued to pull away from there while holding the Olympians to only five second-half points.

Rebsom led all scorers with 18 points, and Blomdahl and McKenzie Long also reached double figures, scoring 14 and 12, respectively. Emily Huson added eight points.

Katelyn Macaitis-Smith led Sprague with seven points and Kat Olson added five.

Forest Grove also got to honor its four seniors, Blomdahl, Rakell Barrios, Libby Hertel and McKenzie Calvert, who all started — even Calvert, who was able to play for about a minute on her Senior Night even though she tore her ACL a few games ago.

With league play now in the rearview mirror, the Vikings can turn their attention to the state playoffs, where they will be making their third appearance in as many seasons. While Calvert won’t be available, the rest of the team is finally largely healthy, as Ashlie Collins and Barrios have returned from injury recently.

“Being healthy’s been a big plus and I feel our bench is very deep,” Lumpkin noted. “We’ve got a lot of girls that can come in and contribute.”

Now, the Vikings wait to find out who they will play next Tuesday in the first round, as the 32-team field will not be completely settled until after Friday’s play-in round. Forest Grove has already booked its spot thanks to its top-four finish in the GVC. The team also has some goals to try to reach before season’s end.

“We want to make it to the next round of playoffs,” Long said. “The last two years, I think, we made it to the first round and we’ve lost both of those. We really want to make it to the next round or even further than that. But we just want to go out and compete and make it last.”