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Girls basketball: Lions pick up biggest win in 25 seasons, beat Parkrose 75-22

Maggie Cochran leads with career-high 20 points

Photo Credit: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - St. Helens sophomore Maggie Cochran follows a shot during the Lions' home game against Sandy earlier this season. Cochran led St. Helens with 20 points in their 75-22 win over Parkrose on Feb. 6.
It’s been a season of firsts for fourth-year head basketball coach Billy McKinney.

This season brought about the program’s first win against Liberty since 2005, and the first win against Milwaukie since the formation of the NW Oregon Conference. It’s the first time the Lions have four or more wins in league play since competing in the Cowapa League, and the first time St. Helens has a legitimate shot at making the postseason.

But last Friday, a season of firsts quickly turned into a night for the record books. St. Helens pounded Parkrose 75-22, their largest margin of victory in 25 years. It was just a point shy of a 101-46 win over Seaside back in 1990, when freshman coach April Bingaman was still a sophomore in high school.

“It’s a good feeling. It’s a feeling of, ‘Whooo-ee!’ It’s a very good feeling,” McKinney said, pausing to point out his experience on the other side of such losses. “We’re going to take it and go with it, and I want the kids to understand … how good it felt to win by that big a margin.”

Sophomore Maggie Cochran was the star on offense for St. Helens, leading the way with a career-high 20 points. Senior Rianne Tupper added 19 points, eight of which came during a decisive second quarter. The Lions led 15-9 at the end of the first, but outscored Parkrose 24-4 in the second period to take a 39-13 halftime lead.

McKinney said an aggressive press defense led to steals — 26 of them — which, in turn, led to easy fast-break buckets for whoever got out and ran. The Broncos were also without sophomore guard Jewel Boland, who has been the focus of St. Helens’ defense over the last two years.

The massive final margin aside, McKinney still saw room for improvement, or motivation to “stay hungry.” McKinney said the Lions did miss a handful of free throws and easy layups which, if converted, might have pushed the home team past the century mark. Slow starts need to become a thing of the past if the team hopes to be successful down the stretch.

“With this team here, I have found out they play this game of, ‘Let’s just feel this team out and see how they are,’ and then they get going,” McKinney said. “We’ve got losses because — honestly, you really want to know the honest truth? We have losses, I’d say we should probably have about four losses throughout the whole season. That’s it. We have beaten ourselves every other game by turnovers, missed layups, missed shots and just not taking care of the ball.”

McKinney pointed to losses to Sandy (70-38 on Dec. 16) and La Salle (84-28 on Jan. 20) and Hillsboro (55-29 on Jan. 27) as the few times where it hasn’t felt like a case of “the fish that got away.” St. Helens will have another shot at both La Salle and Hillsboro in the final stretch, with a Spartan rematch coming in the last home game of the season on Feb. 27. The Lions are in a neck-and-neck battle with Wilsonville and Putnam for the sixth and final playoff berth from the NW Oregon Conference, a playoff berth McKinney said would mean the world to a growing program.

“What I’m really hoping it does, I’m hoping it really keeps the numbers [of athletes] coming in,” McKinney said. “Playoffs would be really nice, if we get these playoffs. How far we go, I don’t know. It’d be nice to go deep in the playoffs, but just getting there is a start.”


St. Helens 75, Parkrose 22

PARK 9 4 4 5 — 22

STHE 15 24 18 18 75

Scoring: Tupper 19, Cochran 20, Roth 2, Nollette 6, Ramsay 5, A. Bingaman 11, M. Bingaman 5, Curtiss 7