Lady Braves advance in the postseason with a 54-25 win over Molalla in the 4A play-in round
by: Chase Allgood Banks junior Riley Gerlinger attempts a jump shot during Friday’s state play-in game.

After a decades-long postseason drought, the Banks girls basketball team appears to have turned the corner, earning a state playoff berth for the second straight year by pounding Molalla 54-25 in a play-in game last Friday.

Next up for the Lady Braves will be a home game against Junction City on Friday for the right to advance to the Class 4A state tournament, which runs from March 7-10 at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. With a victory this week, Banks would open the tournament against the winner of Friday's playoff game between Crook County and third-ranked Mazama.

Banks (18-4) had little trouble last week with Molalla (8-16), the No. 3 seed from the Tri-Valley Conference.

The Lady Braves used their smothering zone defense to almost completely shut down Molalla, building a big halftime lead that continued to grow in the second half.

Banks will meet its defensive match this Friday. The Lady Braves are allowing 31.8 points per game, fourth best in the state at the 4A level. Junction City (19-5), meanwhile, ranks second at 29.9 points per game.

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