Cougars Storm Back Into Playoff Contention After Strong Week

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After their strong 6-1 start to the year, the Canby Cougar girls basketball team had fallen on hard times. Canby had fallen back to .500 with a 1-6 stretch over the month of January.

Their one win? A 32-13 defensive master class for Lake Oswego that — while impressive — didn’t prove much. The Lakers sit at 4-12 on the year with an 0-8 Three Rivers League mark.

The Cougars (9-7, 3-4 TRL) may have been in a slump over the month of January, but they made sure to start off February with a bang. Canby wrested themselves back into playoff contention this week with two quality wins — a tight 48-40 victory over No. 29 Tigard and a 51-32 beatdown over No. 23 St. Mary’s.

The Cougs kicked off their week against Tigard (8-9, 2-5 TRL) in a matchup that was sure to excite. Both teams entered the day with 7-7 records on the season.

From the start, it was clear that the Tigers had one advantage: height. Senior post Sarah Lamet towered over the smaller Cougars with her 6-4 frame. When she checked out, 6-1 freshman Jordyn Smith took her place.

“In the first half we struggled with height a little bit,” first-year head coach Ingrid McCoy told the Current after the game. “We played behind way too much in the post and we should have fronted a bit earlier.”

Lamet scored six points in the first quarter as the Cougars scrambled to made adjustments. Despite the early presence inside, the game remained close through the first half. As the teams headed to the locker room for halftime, Tigard led just 26-23.

The Cougars emerged from the break reinvigorated and content to let Tigard beat them from outside. The Canby D, bolstered by sophomore post RayAnne Schedler, held Lamet to just one field goal and three points in the second half.

Offensively for the Cougars, it was the Allie Mead show. McCoy moved Mead away from the top of the key and allowed her to work in the midrange.

“[Allie] really is good when she can get in the middle and penetrate,” McCoy said. “She can penetrate and dish or shoot. We were just trying to create different opportunities for her.”

Mead had 20 points on the night, 15 of them in the second half alone. With 4:35 left and the game locked at 40, Mead scored the last eight points of the game as the Cougars came away with the 48-40 victory.

Canby followed up their impressive Tuesday performance with another masterful game against St. Mary’s (6-10, 2-6 TRL). After starting the year strong, the Blues have fallen into a hard stretch. On Thursday, only two of their starters from their January 12 game against Canby remained in the lineup.

No matter the circumstances, the Cougars made sure to avenge their 27-point loss from January by taking down the Blues in dominant fashion. the Cougars allowed only four points in the second quarter as they pulled away early in their 19-point victory.

The two wins moved the Cougars up from No. 34 to No. 26 in the state standings and squarely in the OSAA 6A playoff picture. The top 32 teams in the state qualify for the tournament.

The Cougars will be busier than usual next week with the games on the slate. Canby will travel to Tualatin on Tuesday before hosting a make-up game against McKay — a game originally scheduled for January 4.

Finally, the Cougars prepare for their biggest game of the season: Pack the Gym Night against Lake Oswego on Friday. That game is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

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