After dropping its first two, the Lions get a group effort in downing the Wildcats

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Ashley Johnson drives past a Tigard defender in last week's third-place game of the West Linn Tip-off Classic. She scored 28 points in two games and was named to the tournament's all-star game.After a tough start to the season in its annual tip-off tournament, the West Linn girls basketball team quickly righted the ship with a convincing 51-25 victory over Wilsonville on Tuesday to get into the win column.

It was a total team effort against the Wildcats with eight different players scoring. The Lions made a concerted effort to win the battle in the key and they enjoyed a 48-22 rebounding advantage which proved to be a key factor in the game.

West Linn had 19 more field goal attempts in the game and limited Wilsonville to 16.7 percent shooting from the field as the Wildcats converted just seven field goals in the game.

West Linn took command of the game early, going up 16-9 after the first quarter and led 27-13 at the break.

“We saw a little fire in some kids with their aggressiveness,” coach Glen Lee said.

Sidney Kolasinski was the Lions' spark on offense with a career-high 15 points which included knocking down two of the team's three three-pointers.

Genna Hughes controlled the paint for West Linn, pulling down 10 rebounds and five of the team's 19 offensive boards.

The win was a welcome sign for the Lions who are still coming together after replacing four starters from last year's squad.

“It was a good bounce back for us. We're still trying to figure out rotations and who's going to help us,” Lee said.

West Linn lost both games of its tip-off classic at home last week. On Friday, the Lions lost a 41-40 heartbreaker to West Salem in the final seconds.

The game was a back and forth affair. West Salem took control of the game in the second quarter, holding the Lions to just three points in the period to lead 25-18 at the half.

However, West Linn rallied impressively, outscoring the Titans 17-6 in the third quarter to take a four-point lead.

West Salem battled back to tie the game late and had a chance to win in the closing seconds. The Titans missed the shot and the Lions grabbed the rebound but promptly turned the ball over.

The Titans missed a pair of shots from close to the basket but were then fouled with one tick remaining. West Salem missed the first free throw but knocked down the second to steal the win.

“It was one that really could have gone either way. It was a tough one to lose,” Lee said.

The Titans scored nearly all of their points in the paint against the Lions. West Linn was led by Kolasinki and Ashley Johnson, who each had 11 points.

On Saturday, West Linn struggled in the third place game. Tigard played aggressive defense and forced 22 turnovers while also out-rebounding the Lions.

“There was just zero intensity and we didn't protect the paint at all,” Lee said.

West Linn trailed 16-9 after the first quarter and never found its footing.

The Lions were just 3-for-11 from the free throw line in the game but did have some luck from behind the arc.

Johnson had the hot hand for the team again, leading the team with 17 points, which included five three-pointers.

For the tournament, Johnson knocked down eight three-pointers and was named to the tournament all-star team.

Next up for West Linn will be an away game against Wilson on Friday.

“We've still got to get tougher physically and mentally and we need to make sure we are recognizing mismatches,” Lee said.

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