Lions hold a high-scoring South Salem team to 9-for-46 shooting

The West Linn girls basketball team opened its season Tuesday after an earlier scheduled game with Sheldon was postponed due to snow.

Taking on a strong and talented South Salem team on the road, the Lions were stellar on defense, holding a high-powered offense under 30 points in a 37-29 victory.

“It was an unbelievable effort on defense. They have three or four girls who are capable of going off for 20-plus points,” coach Lisa Griffith said.

West Linn played a stifling man-defense for the majority of the game and locked down on the Saxons' key scorers.

The Lions' height in the paint made things difficult for South Salem inside and West Linn refused to give up many clean looks from anywhere on the court.

As a result, South Salem went just 9-46 from the field and West Linn was finally able to seal the game in the fourth quarter.

There was strong defense from both sides in the contest. The Lions showed some nerves early on as they made some uncharacteristic mistakes on offense, leading to turnovers.

“I think we were a little amped up for our first game and just needed to slow things down a little. We know we can put up points, but the bottom line is you have to play good defense to beat good opponents. The offense takes some time to develop and we have some players who can score from anywhere,” Griffith said.

But West Linn's offense keyed its effort in the game and gave the team confidence.

The Lions were in control for the majority of the game despite the slim lead.

Sidney Kolasinski paced the team on both ends of the court. She took on the bulk of the duties in defending South Salem's top scorer and handled the job admirably.

“I tried to give her a break a few times but she didn't let me. She wanted to stay on her,” Griffith said.

She also knocked down big shots on offense and was aggressive going to the rim.

Caitlin Malvar also made a nice contribution, hauling in 11 rebounds for the Lions off the bench.

Post Morgan Haskin found herself in foul trouble in the second half, hindering West Linn's size advantage.

But freshman Daria Rutteger logged some important minutes in the paint and knocked down two big free throws as well.

The Lions clung to their slim lead in the fourth quarter, eventually forcing South Salem to foul. West Linn then hit enough free throws to seal the contest for an important early road victory.

West Linn has another huge test Friday, traveling to take on St. Mary's, the No. 1 ranked team in the state.

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