The new-look Lions believe they’ll be able to compete with the league’s best.
In some ways, the West Linn girls basketball team is starting fresh in 2022-23.
The Lions, after all, graduated six seniors and lost all five starters from a year ago, a year that saw the Lions finish second in the Three Rivers League and earn a berth in the Class 6A state tournament. Included in those losses is the transfer of first-team all-TRL guard Allie Roden, now a sophomore, to Clackamas.
But in another sense, West Linn will be right back where it always seems to be — in the thick of the Three Rivers League championship race.
“I have a group of athletes who get along very well, are positive, work hard, work for each other and don’t care about their own stats,” said West Linn coach Brooke Cates. “It’s going to be a super fun year and I think as soon as we get some experience together on the court, we will be a dark horse down the stretch.”
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The 22-23 West Linn girls basketball team will be led newcomer Olive Batch (a 6-foot-2 senior wing who transferred from Valley Christian High School in San Jose, California), varsity returners Avery Jordan (a 5-7 senior guard), Alaina Moore (a 5-5 junior guard), Ava Hess (a 5-5 junior point guard), Olivia Haines (a 5-8 junior wing) and Poppy Friel (a 5-10 junior post).
Batch is a “versatile player who can hit the ‘three’ and also get to the basket. She will be a tough matchup for teams,” Cates said, adding that Jordan “can shoot the ‘three’ and also is a very positive team leader,” while Moore is a “feisty junior guard who can score from anywhere and is an exceptional on-ball defender.”
The Lions’ regular rotation will also include 5-6 freshman point guard Reece Jordan and 5-9 freshman guard Ayla Arnold.
“Reece (Jordan) can shoot, drive and is a fierce competitor,” Cates said, adding that Arnold “is a great athlete, incredible rebounder and has a good feel for the game.”
The rest of West Linn’s varsity lineup includes: 5-6 freshman guard Kali Daniels; 5-9 freshman wing Sophie Maxwell; 5-6 freshman wing Selah Molden; and 5-8 senior wing Taelyn Haney.
“I’m looking forward to the season. Our goal is to make it to the Chiles Center,” Cates said. “We’ll win games with defense and a ‘Together The Best’ attitude. I do not have one athlete that is concerned with her own stats and this is an awesome thing. Very rare these days.”
Cates added that she expects Tualatin, Lakeridge and her Lions to battle for the TRL title this year,
‘I think the league title is up for grabs,” she said. “I think the three teams in the running will be Tualatin, Lakeridge and West Linn.”
See the Lakeridge team preview by clicking here.
See the Lake Oswego team preview by clicking here.