The Mustangs answer a wakeup call at Liberty

Ranked fourth in the state in the OSAA high school girls basketball power rankings, the Milwaukie Mustangs put two more games in the win column last week, staging a second-half rally to win at Liberty 41-35 on Friday, after cruising to as a 65-34 victory over St. Helens on Jan. 15.

Friday’s win over Liberty was Milwaukie’s 10th win in a row. The Mustangs (11-2) are undefeated against Class 5A opponents. Their only losses this season were in their season opener with Oregon City, the top-ranked team in Class 6A; and in an overtime game with Class 6A Jesuit on Dec. 7.

Milwaukie (4-0) was all alone in first place in the Northwest Oregon Conference standings heading into play this week. Liberty (5-9 overall, 3-1 in the NWOC) was in second place.

Milwaukie coach Kevin McElroy said the game at Liberty was a wakeup call for his Mustangs.

“We didn’t get off to a good start,” he said. “I think we kind of took things for granted, thinking we could just show up and step on the floor and win. If we had lost that game, we would have had no one to blame but ourselves. Hopefully it’s a wakeup call. We’ve got to show up and play four quarters every night out.”

After trailing by as many as 10 points in the second quarter, McElroy said his charges righted the ship in the second half of the Liberty game, when they turned more aggressive on defense, and took the ball to the basket at the offensive end of the floor.

Alexis Noren, who finished with a game-high 11 points, scored all 11 points in the second half. Lorissa Martine (8 points) went scoreless in the second half. April Meads tallied 9 points, hitting three treys.

It was a different story in the St. Helens game. Milwaukie led 15-9 at the end of the first quarter and 65-34 at halftime.

The Mustangs were firing on all cylinders, as they committed only four turnovers and ran their offense like clockwork.

Martine and Noren had big games. Martine tallied a game-high 20 points, hitting three 3-pointers. She also had six assists and seven rebounds.

Noren tallied 17 points, served up eight assists and hauled down seven rebounds.

Meads (14 points) had a hot hand from downtown, connecting on 4-of-9 shots from 3-point land.

Noren (4 steals) and Meads (3 steals) headed up the defensive onslaught.

Milwaukie (11-2, 4-0) hosts Parkrose (5-7, 2-2) this Friday, and the Mustangs battle Wilsonville (5-8, 2-2) on the road next Tuesday.


win at Sandy

After a lackluster first half, the Rex Putnam Kingsmen turned up the defensive pressure and rallied to a 42-34 win at Sandy on Jan. 15.

Sandy 5-10 post Raquel Pellecer had her way in the first half, scoring 16 of her game-high 22 points, to lead the Pioneers to an 18-15 first-half advantage.

The Kingsmen did a better job guarding Pellecer after the break, and Putnam guards turned up the pressure on defense. As a result, the Kingsmen outscored their hosts 27-16 in the second half.

“Brooke Snyder came in in the third quarter and gave us a spark,” said Putnam assistant coach Kris Leatherman. “She blocked Pellecer on her first shot of the second half, and that got us going.”

Besides her key block, Snyder claimed four rebounds in the second half.

The Kingsmen went on top for good in the third period and widened the gap in the fourth stanza, Kelsea Baton and Carly Bolander then combined to go 7-for-8 from the free throw line down the stretch, and Putnam claimed the spoils.

“It was a team effort,” Leatherman said. “We had 13 girls play, and they all contributed.”

Bolander (12 points) and Baton (10 points) headed the Kingsmen offense.

The Kingsmen turned cold from the field and from the free-throw line last Friday, as Putnam fell to Parkrose 50-45, in a foul-plagued game at Putnam.

“We missed a lot of lay-ups and we shot less than 30 percent [from the field],” Leatherman said.

The two teams had 59 fouls whistled between them. Putnam was only 14-of-35 from the charity stripe.

Nine different Putnam players scored, but Kelsea Baton (12 points) was the only Putnam player in double figures in scoring.

Parkrose was led by 6-2 post Audrey Frison (21 points).

The Kingsmen (4-9, 2-2) play Liberty (5-9, 3-1) on the road this Friday.

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