Lady Vikings move to 4-5 in preseason play as they get a week off before Regis tournament

PIONEER PHOTO: CONNER WILLIAMS - Colton junior Jenelle Baker (left) boxes out a Sheridan defender during the Lady Viks' 54-39 win over the Spartans on Dec. 15. Things didn't look so great for the Colton girls' basketball team during the first quarter of play at Estacada on Tuesday.

But it's not always about how you start, and rather how you finish.

The Lady Viks found themselves down 13-9 in the first quarter, but kept their cool as Madi Olsen hit two three-pointers along with a couple of free throws, as senior Katie Wills stole the Rangers' inbound pass and took it the length of the court to beat the buzzer and give Colton a two-point lead heading into halftime.

Then in the third quarter, the Lady Viks tightened their defense and pressured the Rangers, forcing turnovers (Estacada had 27 on the night while Colton had just 14) and allowing them to take a 41-28 lead going into the fourth quarter, where Colton was able to keep things going and finish out the game with a 52-38 win on the road.

"It was a good overall game for us," head coach Kyle Gilstad said. "It showed us our ability to come back from a rough start and execute defensively to control the game."

Senior Grace James led the team with 12 points, 12 rebounds, and four assists, while Madi Olsen followed up with 11 points. Senior Becca Burge contributed eight points, seven rebounds, and two assists; senior Maddie Travis had seven points with one rebound, one assist, and five steals; and junior Janelle Baker had six points with seven rebounds.

Against Portland Adventist the next day, Colton started with their best out-of-the-gate offensive performance, scoring 19 points in the first quarter, seven of which came from Madi Olsen.

While the game was tied at 28 at the half, in the end, Gilstad said foul trouble hurt them the most. They had two starters foul out and one other see limited minutes because of foul trouble as well.

"In a close game, that hurts," Gilstad said.

Still, the Lady Viks put up a solid fight despite being down three players due to foul trouble. Madi Olsen led with 11 points, while Burge followed up with 10 points, six rebounds, and three steals. Baker had eight points and nine rebounds and Wills had eight points, three rebounds, and four steals.

"Overall, I've seen a huge improvement with the girls in just the last two weeks," Gilstad said. "After returning from the Junction City tournament, the girls have really focused on improving the fundamentals and court awareness."

"We've improved on our scoring by going from 33 points per game to 45.5 points per game, and improved on our turnovers by dropping from 24 per game to just 15. Now we need to focus on getting more stops on the defensive end. We're heading in the right direction, and if the girls keep working together, anything is possible."

Colton gets a week off before heading down to Stayton for the Regis tournament on Dec. 27-28.

Conner Williams
Sports Reporter/News Contributor
503-829-2301 ext. 341
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