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Forest Grove girls blow past North Salem, 73-15

The host Vikings win their sixth contest in seven outings, climb to 7-7

This one was over almost as soon as it began.NEWS-TIMES PHOTOS: KENT FRASURE - Forest Grove's McKenzie Long puts up a shot during the Vikings' 73-15 win over North Salem.

The Forest Grove girls basketball team jumped on a hapless North Salem squad early on Friday night and never looked back, posting a 73-15 victory at Joe Moran Court.

Wearing special pink-accented uniforms to recognize breast cancer awareness, the hosts spurted out to an 8-0 lead less than two minutes into the game and had little trouble against those other Vikings. With the win, Forest Grove upped its overall record to 7-7 and its Greater Valley Conference mark to 2-4. North Salem dropped to 0-14 overall and 0-6 in the GVC.

Forest Grove head coach Dan Lumpkin said that when going against such a mismatched opponent, the goal is to set the tone early and play the first handful of minutes like it’s a typical game on both sides of the ball.

“We did that,” he noted. “Once we got the lead up there to a point, we took the press off and just focused on … now we just need to play strong, aggressive half-court defense. Don’t play scoreboard, play the possession. Try to keep that in your mind.”

North Salem has yet to score more than 28 points in a game this season, and eight times they have been held to 15 points or fewer in an outing. With Forest Grove starting the game pressing, the visitors struggled under the pressure and, in fact, didn’t advance the ball into their offensive half of the court until more than two and a half minutes had elapsed in the opening quarter.

By that time, Forest Grove already held that 8-0 advantage and would build it to 19-3 by the end of the period.

McKenzie Long was hot right out of the gate for the home team. She scored the first five points of the game and already hit double figures with more than three minutes still remaining in the first stanza. She scored 15 in the half along the way to a game-high 22 points.

With the rout on early, Lumpkin went to his bench early and often. Twelve players took to the court for Forest Grove and all of them scored. Jodi Blomdahl just missed double figures with nine points, and Delaney Aleshire chipped in eight off the bench. Emily Huson, Katie Rebsom, Maddy Closson and Chloe Kramer scored five points apiece.

“It’s exciting, especially when we get our JV players in, where it’s fun on the bench cheering them on,” Blomdahl said. “It’s just a lot of excitement.”

Forest Grove led 44-6 at halftime and 57-10 after three quarters. Kelsey Blackbird paced North Salem with six points, while Rosalinda Santos and Aliyah Fitzke added three points each.

After starting the season at just 1-6, Forest Grove has hit its stride and won six of its last seven.

“Everyone’s spirits have been so much higher since we started winning,” Rebsom said. “We have momentum, and so we just keep carrying on. Practices are more enjoyable, games are more enjoyable, everyone gets along better. When you get along better outside, you get along better in practice and then it shows in the games.”

The final two games in the first go-round of GVC play could go a long way in helping Forest Grove climb up the conference ladder. The Vikings travel to Sprague (6-7, 1-4) on Tuesday before hosting McKay (2-12, 1-5) next Friday.

“We’re looking at being 9-7 going into the last round of league. I think we’re in a good position,” Lumpkin said. “If we’re able to get a couple of wins against teams that beat us the first time around … then we’re putting ourselves in position to be in that top four.”

North Salem plays at South Salem (13-1, 6-0) on Tuesday and at Sprague on Friday.