The former St. Marys standout returns to the NW after stints as an assistant for two D-I college teams

West Linn's new girls basketball coach brings with her collegiate level experience as well as the knowledge of what it takes to compete at a high level in Oregon.

Lisa Griffith, a former prep standout at St. Mary's Academy, took over the reins last month and is very optimistic about the program.

“There's a lot of excitement and everyone has been completely supportive,” Griffith said.

Griffith played college ball at the University of Arizona and was an assistant coach with the Wildcats' program and at the University of Pittsburgh.

Griffith was looking to land a high school job at some point and make a return to the Northwest and, when West Linn's job opened up, it appeared to be a perfect fit.

“I always felt like I could make the biggest impact in players' lives at the high school level. West Linn plays in what I think is the best league in the state and the community and administrative support is great,” Griffith said.

She is familiar with West Linn's basketball program as she, along with her brother-in-law Terry Pritchard, helped form FAST Team Sports, a basketball club which many of West Linn's youth players participate in.

Griffith's nephew is Payton Pritchard, the point guard for the boys basketball team which captured last year's state title.

Griffith is stepping into a program that has had success over the years and one with both experience and talent.

She has been quick to establish her style of play, which features a very up-tempo offense and heavy pressure on defense.

“The girls know they have the green light to shoot and I think they're responding well to my system,” Griffith said.

In early practices and in the Lions' summer league games, Griffith has been impressed with the skill level on the squad and with its work ethic.

“We have five returning seniors who are strong players and also great leaders,” Griffith said.

While West Linn has been consistent in recent years, Griffith is hoping that she can help the team take another step forward.

“I want to establish a tradition and take the team to the next level. Any coach who's competitive will say the ultimate goal is to win a state championship,” Griffith said.

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