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Vikings smother Lakeridge

Forest Grove girls turn in an outstanding defensive effort to post a 40-point win over the Pacers

A roughly 30-point lead may not be safe for the Oregon Ducks, but it sure was for the Forest Grove girls basketball team on Saturday.

At about the same time that the Oregon football team was blowing a 31-0 advantage against Texas Christian in an Alamo Bowl loss, the Viking girls streaked to a 29-0 first-quarter lead and blew out visiting Lakeridge by a 67-27 score at Joe Moran Court.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Forest Grove's McKenzie Long (22) and Emily Huson (14) apply defensive pressure to Lakeridge guard Kelly Ericson during last Saturday's game.

The result upped Forest Grove’s record to 5-6 overall. After getting off to a 1-6 start, the Vikings won their fourth game in a row heading into the resumption of Greater Valley Conference play on Tuesday.

“We were executing the ball really well and playing as a team instead of relying on one person to make the plays happen,” sophomore starter Emily Huson said of the early run.

McKenzie Long and Katie Rebsom led the way in that first-quarter explosion, contributing eight points each. Six of Rebsom’s points in the frame came on 3-pointers.

The start was exactly what head coach Dan Lumpkin was looking for. Before the game, he said the team talked about setting the tone with its play early, and it certainly succeeded in the early going. The lead actually increased to 32-0 before the Pacers (2-8) finally recorded their first points.

“I think everything was going right. We came out with a lot of good energy,” Lumpkin noted. “Offensively, we were able to knock down open shots, we were able to get steals out of our press and those lead to easy baskets.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Forest Grove junior McKenzie Long (22) goes up for a shot over the outstretched arm of Lakeridge's Sailor Mickey on Saturday night.

“And then defensively we were able to keep them from getting any real good looks at the basket.”

The Vikings were a bit more undisciplined in the second and third quarters — when they were actually outscored 22-17 by the Pacers — but they found their rhythm again in the fourth and closed the game on a 22-5 run.

In all, nine players took the court for Forest Grove, all of them scored and three reached double figures. Jodi Blomdahl led all players with 13 points, Rebsom scored 12 and Long added 10.

Dominque Duncan, Maddy Closson and Kinsey Barnett chipped in six points apiece.

Blomdahl also keyed a solid long-range shooting effort from the Vikings, who canned a total of eight 3-pointers over the contest. Blomdahl hit three of them and Barnett and Rebsom added two apiece.

LaNae Lillard, the younger sister of Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, led the Pacers with 11 points and Emily Souers added nine.

After that rough beginning to the season, Forest Grove may be finally starting to hit its stride. The Vikings started their win streak by making their winter break trip to Central Oregon a productive one. There, they won three straight games in the Oregon Holiday Hoopfest by knocking off Bend (61-42), Barlow (55-38) and Marist (59-51).

“We’re starting to click a lot as a team,” Barnett said. “Everybody’s starting to get along better and the chemistry is there and so playing more five on the court than just one on the court.”

Results of Tuesday’s game against West Albany were unavailable at press deadline. That was the Vikings’ only scheduled game this week. Next week, they host South Salem on Tuesday and North Salem on Friday.

The January stretch is one Lumpkin looks forward to. His team’s first three GVC opponents were challenging ones, so now the Vikings enjoy a stretch of “some very winnable games,” he said, with many of them at home.

In fact, six of Forest Grove’s seven conference contests this month will take place at home. Lumpkin hopes his group can generate some momentum during that span.

“We want to be in one of those top four spots to get the automatic berth into the postseason,” he said.