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Vikings rebuffed by Beaverton

Third-ranked Beavers take out Forest Grove in a first-round game


Forest Grove girls basketball coach Dan Lumpkin knew the odds were stacked against his squad going into last Wednesday’s first-round Class 6A state playoff game against Beaverton.NEWS-TIMES PHOTO: KENT FRASURE
 - Forest Grove senior Sarah Hess gets double-teamed by Beaverton's Dagny McConnell (22) and Alyssa Christiansen last Wednesday.

“They’re the No. 3-ranked team in the state, and we had to go on the road to play at their place in a hostile environment,” Lumpkin said. “We knew we were going to have to play one of our best games of the season to have an opportunity to beat them.”

In the end, the game went more or less as expected, with the Beavers using their aggressive, trapping defense to harrass the visiting Vikings into 30 turnovers in a 59-27 victory.

Three days later, Beaverton (22-4) beat Tigard 42-32 to earn a spot in the eight-team Class 6A state tournament, which begins Thursday at the Chiles Center in Portland.

While the Vikings watched their season come to an end last Wednesday, Lumpkin said he was proud of how his team played despite the 32-point margin of defeat.

“The score was pretty lopsided, but (Beaverton) forced a lot of turnovers and got a lot of points on breakaways and uncontested layups,” Lumpkin said. “I thought we did a good job defensively in the half-court. We only allowed them one 3-pointer all game, and the rebounding numbers were 25-25 even though they’re quite a bit bigger than us.”

Forest Grove (13-13) was hampered by the loss of starting point guard McKenzie Long, who rolled her ankle during the Vikings’ play-in victory against Willamette on Feb. 28. The sophomore suited up on Wednesday and gamely tried to play through the pain, but eventually went to the bench in the second half.

“She tried to give it a go. She came in and played a few minutes here and there, but you could tell it was really bothering her,” Lumpkin said. “She had a hard time planting and cutting off that foot, and it’s tough when you’re facing a team that’s pressing and trapping all over the court.”

In Long’s absence, freshman Katie Rebsom got her first start of the season and played extended minutes. Lumpkin acknowledged that was a tall order for a rookie player.

“That’s a tough situation to have your first start of the season on the road in the playoffs against one of the best teams in the state,” he said.

As expected, Beaverton came out on Wednesday in a full-court press, and Lumpkin said his team handled that pressure well and got the ball across midcourt without too many issues. The problems came in their halfcourt offense, as the Beavers relentlessly double-teamed the ball.

“They pressed us all game long, and for the most part we did an OK job breaking the press,” Lumpkin said. “But in the halfcourt they brought traps everywhere and that kind of overwhelmed us. They really attacked us after we got the ball past midcourt.”

Beaverton surged to a 17-4 lead at the end of the first quarter, and the Beavers led 30-8 at halftime as Forest Grove struggled to muster much offense.

“We never backed down and we never stopped playing hard, and that was good,” Lumpkin said. “In the second half we became more aggressive offensively. In the first half I think we were a little intimidated by their defensive pressure.”

The Vikings did show some signs of improvement in the second half, scoring eight points in the third quarter and 11 in the fourth after scoring only eight in the first two quarters combined. Still, it wasn’t nearly enough as the Beavers pulled away behind a 21-point surge in the third.

Dagny McConnell, Beaverton’s 6-foot-2 center who has signed with the University of San Francisco, led all scorers with 14 points. Gigi Stoll and Alyssa Christiansen added 12 points apiece.

Forest Grove got five points and six rebounds from Jodi Blomdahl, while Rebsom and Ashlie Collins chipped in five points each. Alyssa Villalobos added five rebounds for the Vikings.

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