by: MILES VANCE West Linn’s Mikayla Kraemer drives to the hoop in West Linn’s loss to Beaverton on Tuesday. The Lions held a lead early in the second quarter before the Beavers took over, dropping the Lions to 1-4 on the season..

The West Linn girls basketball team is slowly getting back to full strength and is hoping to find its stride soon.

The Lions dropped back-to-back contests against a pair of strong opponents in Tigard and Beaverton, moving to 1-4 on the year.

Against the Beavers, West Linn got off to a strong start on the road, shooting the ball well and holding the lead through a quarter and a half.

But Beaverton recovered quickly and controlled the second half as turnovers mounted and cost the Lions in a 62-41 loss.

The Beavers jumped out to a 9-2 lead to open the game but West Linn closed the opening quarter on a 12-4 run.

Point guard Brittany Smith hit a pair of three-pointers as the team shot well from the outside in the first half.

Ashley Johnson then knocked down a shot at the first-quarter buzzer to put the Lions on top 14-13.

West Linn would carry that momentum into the second quarter, getting a hoop from Karly LeVeque and another three-pointer from Smith to help the Lions go up 19-15.

But things would go south quickly for West Linn from that point on.

Beaverton's defensive pressure forced 29 turnovers in the game and the Beavers' effective fast-break game led to easy hoops.

Beaverton closed the first half on a 15-4 run and led 30-23 heading into the locker room.

The Beavers continued to establish control of the game to start the third quarter, hitting an early three-pointer and West Linn struggled to make a dent in the home team's lead.

The Lions trailed by 10 to start the fourth quarter and got as close as eight on Mikayla Kraemers' bucket on an assist from Johnson.

But West Linn shot just 2-of-11 from the field in the fourth quarter and the Beavers easily closed out the win.

Last Friday, West Linn had another rough night from the field in a 42-31 loss to Tigard.

West Linn hit just four two-point shots in the game, relying primarily on the long ball for its offense.

The Lions were also playing without Smith who missed the game with an illness.

West Linn hung with the Tigers in the first quarter, trailing just 12-11 after the first eight minutes.

But Tigard blew the game open in the second quarter and led by nine at the break.

Turnovers were an issue for the Lions again as Tigard forced 27 in the game which hurt the team's rhythm on offense.

West Linn scored just two points in the third quarter as Tigard extended its lead.

LeVeque would finish the game with eight steals and eight points while Johnson hit four three-pointers and ended with a team-high 15 points to go along with six rebounds.

West Linn will play at the South Salem Winter Classic this weekend.

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