Going into last week, the number seven ranked team (3-0) as faced with possibly the hardest week of the season: three road game against number five South Salem Saxons (1-2), number one Saint Mary’s Blues (2-1), and Sheldon Irish (1-1). The Lions came out on top in all three games.
“ We were really pumped going into this week,” Hannah Mathiseen, senior, said. “We really wanted to beat Saint Mary’s because Coach Griffith (WLHS basketball coach) played there, so that motivated us as well.”
Ashley Johnson, senior, took a more strategical approach to the game.
“Before last week we knew these would be three very tough games,” Ashley Johnson, senior, said. “We went into practice really emphasizing defense, and that won us the games.”
On Dec. 14 the Lions traveled south to take on the Irish in a game that was rescheduled from the previous Tuesday due to snow in Eugene. It took one period of overtime but the Lions came out victorious, 48-43.
The night before the Lions took on the Blues in a top ten battle. Sidney Kolasinski, sophomore, sealed a 42-41 Lion victory with two clutch free throws with six seconds remaining. This guaranteed the Lions their first victory over a number one ranked team since defeating the Oregon City Pioneers in the 2011 postseason. Johnson led the Lions with 16 points.
“When we beat them everyone freaked out, jumping up and down at center court,” Mathiseen said. “Everyone was crying.”
The Lions hit the road once again on Dec. 9, traveling to South Salem High School to battle the Saxons. Behind a defense that held the Saxons to 22 percent shooting, the Lions held their opponent to a measly 29 points, and pulled out a 37-29 victory.
The Lions will play the Hermiston Bulldogs (2-1) in their home opener on Tues.