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Lions hold the Bruins to 12 points in a team effort

by: VERN UYETAKE - Taylor Enders-Smith tries to avoid contact while putting up a shot in the Lions' playoff win over Barlow Tuesday. The West Linn girls basketball team made quick work of Barlow Tuesday to open its playoff run. The Lions played swarming defense and utilized their significant size advantage to drub the Bruins 63-12, advancing to the round-of-16 where they will play a rubber match with South Salem with a trip to the Moda Center on the line.

Eleven different players scored for the Lions in what was one of its best team efforts of the season.

“We've finally got everyone healthy and everyone knows their roles. This is when we want to be peaking,” coach Lisa Griffith said.

West Linn got off to a slow start offensively but Barlow was never able to muster any offense and was out of the contest midway through the second period.

“We emphasized defensive intensity all week. That's what keys us,” Griffith said.

The Bruins were deliberate on offense, swinging the ball around and eating up clock, but a 3-pointer early in the first quarter was all the scoring it would get.

West Linn closed on a 9-0 run with Morgan Haskin scoring six of her 10 points in the first quarter and the Lions led 11-3.

The Lions' bench gave West Linn a big boost all night. Taylor Enders-Smith gave the team a shot of energy and Courtney Landis drained a 3-pointer and quickly followed it with a steal and an assist for a layup.

The flurry bumped the lead to 25-6 and West Linn would lead 30-8 at the break.

Barlow couldn't establish anything in the paint. Haskin had five blocks in the game and, when the Bruins double- and occasionally triple-teamed her, it opened things up for Genna Hughes, who led all scorers with 12 points and Kennedy Fulcher.

Hughes had a terrific all-around game, also pulling down four rebounds and tallying three assists and three steals.

The highlight of the third quarter was Landis' buzzer-beating 3-pointer from well beyond NBA range.

West Linn opened the fourth quarter with a quick 8-0 flurry and then emptied the bench.

Barlow still only managed four points in the second half as the Lions looked to be in late-season form.

The Lions, ranked No. 9 in the state, will now travel to No. 8 Salem Friday. The teams split a pair of games earlier this year with West Linn winning on the road to start the season and South Salem exacting revenge in the Interstate Shootout.

“South Salem's one of the top teams in the state. It's definitely going to be a competitive game and our mentality is going to be what it's been all year,” Griffith said.

South Salem knocked off Aloha in its opening-round playoff game.

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