The Gladiators make mincemeat of three teams in their season openers

GLADSTONE - Ranked second in the state in the Class 4A girls basketball preseason coaches poll, the Gladstone Gladiators looked very much like one of the state's top teams, as they opened last play last week with three lopsided victories.

Outscoring their first three opponents 223-122, the Gladiators handled Yamhill-Carlton 65-28, Portland Christian 71-56 and Seaside 87-38.

They shot 47 percent from the field for the three games.

'The biggest thing has been defensive pressure,' said Gladstone coach Jere Applebee. 'We've forced an average of 28 turnovers a game, and that's because of our depth. We're playing a lot of people. No one's played more than 21 minutes in a game.'

As in their first two games, the Gladiators took their press off at halftime of Saturday's rout of Seaside. But they still forced 27 turnovers, while converting with 51 percent success from the field. Reflecting their strong team play, they had 28 assists on 32 baskets.

Lisa Terry, a 5-3 junior guard who transferred from Oregon City, and senior wing Jessie Jones headed the charge against Seaside, scoring 19 points apiece. Terry hit three 3-pointers.

Tasha Dearborn and Annan Applebee also made major contributions. Dearborn nabbed 10 rebounds and scored 13 points, with three 3-pointers; Applebee came through with 10 points and six assists.

Jones, Applebee and Emily Tsugawa headed the defense with three steals apiece.

The Gladiators will find out this Friday if they are for real as a state power, when they host third-ranked Scappoose. The Indians dispatched with top-ranked Stayton last Friday.

The Gladiators took no hostages in last week's girls basketball opener with Yamhill-Carlton, rolling to a 17-3 advantage en route to a 65-28 victory.

Defense told the story. Led by Applebee, Tsugawa, Jones and Dearborn - 4 steals apiece - the Gladiators forced 38 turnovers.

'We were able to keep the pressure on for 32 minutes,' said Applebee, whose charges removed the full-court press at halftime.

Nikki Ramsey and Applebee paced the Gladiators offensively, Ramsey with 11 points, and Applebee with 6 points and 9 assists.

Coach Applebee was also encouraged by his Gladiators' performance in a 71-56 win over 2006 Class 2A semifinalist Portland Christian on Nov. 30.

The Gladiators coasted to the victory, after shooting 22-of-34 from the field and running up a 50-26 advantage in the first half.

'They've got a 6-4 post,' said Applebee. 'Several teams in our league also have big kids at post, so it's nice to see that we can compete against teams that are a lot bigger than we are.'

Portland Christian post Kim Hill tallied a game-high 22 posts and nabbed her share of rebounds. But Gladiators Shanoaleigh Roseby, Haley Marsh and Robin Greer made Hill work for her spoils.

Meanwhile the Gladiators burned the nets as a team, forced turnovers, and took control from the outset.

Tasha Dearborn (17 points, 3 assists) headed a balanced Gladiator offensive effort.

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