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Furious rally propels Lady Lions


West Linn uses an 18-0 run to force overtime and knock off Canby

by: VERN UYETAKE - West Linn's Julia Boyd-Helm makes a strong drive to the basket in the Lions' overtime win over Canby.The West Linn girls basketball team came out on the right end of its most thrilling and dramatic game of the season on Friday. The Lions rallied from an 11-point deficit to start the fourth quarter, using an 18-0 run to force overtime with Canby before locking down a 67-61 victory in overtime to move to 3-1 in league.

The Cougars controlled much of the game on West Linn's court in front of a huge crowd that gathered for the Lions' annual Hoopin' for Hope night which raised money for breast cancer research.

However, when the Lions heated up, they didn't mess around, turning a 13-point deficit late in the third quarter into a five-point lead with less than two minutes to play.

West Linn then had to fend off Canby's own rally just to advance into overtime where the team knocked down clutch free throws to seal the game.

After a fast-paced first quarter that saw both teams get up and down the court, Canby tightened up its defense and took control of the game.

The Cougars trailed 20-18 after the first quarter but put up 21 points in the second period to go up by seven at the half.

“It got away from us in the second quarter. They had a few breakouts on us and they hit nearly all of their free throws,” coach Glen Lee said.

Hannah Matthiessen had a strong first half, scoring six point and the Lions did a nice job on the boards all evening.

Morgan Haskin and Genna Hughes combined for 20 rebounds.

However, West Linn struggled with turnovers and went cold from the field for much of the second and third quarters.

Canby held West Linn to just five points for most of the third period, taking a 50-37 lead before the Lions scored the last bucket of the quarter.

Trailing by 11 with just one quarter to play, West Linn would own the next six minutes of the game. The Lions regained their shooting touch, highlighted by some clutch three-point shooting from Ashley Johnson, who led the team with 14 points.

Johnson hit three of four three-pointers in the game and, as a team, the Lions were 6-for-11 from beyond the arc.

“We hit some big shots finally and really caught up in a hurry,” Lee said.

The team also played hard-nosed defense, getting big efforts on that side of the court from Megan Longtain who came off the bench to tally three steals and five rebounds.

West Linn's momentum grew exponentially and, when the dust settled, the team had rattled off 18 points dating back to the final basket of the third quarter and had a five-point lead.

But Canby wasn't finished. The Cougars scored the final five points of regulation, tying the game with 30 seconds left.

Each team had a shot to win it in the closing moments of the game but came up short.

In overtime, West Linn went on the attack, aggressively taking the ball to the rim and the Lions were rewarded by getting to the foul line.

West Linn went 10-for-14 from the line in the extra period with Johnson knocking down four straight at one point as the Lions quickly regained the lead.

The Lions then milked the clock and put the game away for one of its biggest wins of the year.

“It was an emotional win. That's a really good team that we beat,” Lee said.

For the game, West Linn out-rebounded Canby by 12. All eight Lions who saw the court scored at least five points in the game.

West Linn will now travel to face No. 1 Oregon City on Friday in the two teams' first meeting since the Lions upset the Pioneers in the first round of the state playoffs at the Rose Garden last year.

The girls game will be the second of a double-header at Oregon City.