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Although the Canby Cougars girls basketball team dropped two games this past week, they further cemented their spot in the OSAA 6A playoffs. Playing two top-20 teams in No. 4 Lakeridge and No. 10 West Linn, the high competition alone kept Canby in the No. 27 spot in the state, five spots safe from elimination.
Beginning the week against Lakeridge (18-4, 11-1 TRL), a versatile squad that has won six straight games, the Cougars (11-10, 4-7 TRL) were not able to stop the Pacers’ offense.
So far this season, only one team has been able to score 50 points against the Cougar defense more than once: Lakeridge. After scoring 50 points in their first meeting, Lakeridge put up 64 points in a dominant 64-43 win over the Cougars.
The 21-point loss was slightly worse than the 13-point loss earlier in the season, although neither game was close.
As if facing the red-hot Pacers wasn’t fun enough, Canby got another battle against the scorching West Linn Lions (13-7, 10-2 TRL) two days later — such is life in the brutally competitive Three Rivers League.
The Cougars began the game with head coach Ingrid McCoy’s staple defense holding strong, limiting the Lion offense to just one point in the first three minutes and only eight in the first quarter.
Offensively, Kaylee Borntrager hit two triples off of passes from Allie Mead to keep the Cougs close, trailing only 7-10 at the end of one.
From there, though, the wheels fell off of the Canby offense. Mead and McKenna Kraft were the only two Cougars to score in the second period. While the Lions were relatively unable to score, totaling only 25 points in the first half, Canby was able to put up only a feeble 11.
Although the Cougars would lose soundly, 28-54, Canby did have several positives to take away. As has been the case for much of this season, Canby’s defense has performed at elite levels even when the buckets refuse to fall on the other end, and for stretches of this game, West Linn was rendered completely unable to score.
The Lions put up only a single point for nearly half of the first quarter, and the Cougar D held their opponents to only two points in four and a half minutes during another portion of the contest as well.
While the week may have been hard, Canby still sits firmly in playoff contention with their No. 27 ranking. With the remainder of their opponents — No. 12 Oregon City, No. 19 Tualatin, No. 29 Tigard — all also projected for the playoffs, Canby will have their work cut out for them.
The junior Mead sees the final three games as a gateway to clinching a playoff spot.
“Being able to put those tough losses behind us but still learning from our mistakes gives us our best chance at winning these last couple of games,” Mead said. “And just knowing that we all have to give it our all in order to make playoffs, we have nothing left to lose, which gives us some fire in preparation for these teams.”
Along with hosting Oregon City and finishing their season and Tigard, Canby will have their last home matchup of the season on Senior Night against Tualatin. The game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m.
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