Boys Basketball

Hoops finally hits the hardwood

High school basketball begins across the state
Staff report

After eight months of shooting drills, defensive shuffles and flat out running until parents showed up looking at their watches, high school basketball kicked off Friday with games across the state.

McKay of Salem hit 90 points in its boys win over Lakeridge, Benson hit 87 in its boys win over Gresham, just as the school's girls team was registering a decisive 61-44 win at Jesuit.

For the Benson girls, the game was a fabulous start to a season that includes a scheduled trip for a tournament in Washington, D.C. later this month.

Snuck into all the excitement of varsity play, was Mountainside of Beaverton beginning its drive toward varsity play next year with a boys Junior Varsity 2 game against Beaverton. Mountainside opened this year.

While league play begins for some of the six classifications, the non-league boys schedule includes the annual 16-team Les Schwab Classic, Dec. 27-30, and annual Nike Invitational for girls, Dec. 27-29.

Oregon City, set to play in the Nike Invitational, began its season Thursday with a four-day tournament in California, and plans to play in an eight-team tournament in Hawaii beginning Thursday as part of its drive to win its first state title since 2014.

Sutherlin's girls team, which has won the past four Class 4A state titles, lost Friday to Dayton in a tournament it plays host to.

 

 

 

Jefferson returns to top of state

Democrats beat upstart Clackamas 70-67 in final
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Geno West led the Jefferson boys basketball team to the top ranking in the state this season, and Saturday he carried the program to another title.

West scored a game-high 28 points, grabbed five rebounds and had four assists in 31 minutes to lead the Democrats past Clackamas 70-67 in the championship game of the OSAA Class 6A state tournament at the Chiles Center.

West, a senior, helped Jefferson take a 62-60 lead by hitting a three-point shot with 2:51 left in the game, then had an assist and made four free throws in the remainder of the game, and senior teammate Thomas Miles added 20 points and six rebounds.

Jefferson, 26-1, won its ninth state title, but first at the top classification since 2000.

Clackamas, 24-4, got 22 points and five rebounds from senior Elijah Gonzales, and 17 points and seven rebounds from junior Cole Turner in finishing second for the second time in school history.

The hotly contested game featured 53 free throws and 47 three-point attempts.

 

Clackamas gets its shot

Powered by a 40-point performance, the Cavs reach the final
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The Clackamas boys basketball program finally played its way into being noticed Friday.

Sparked by a 40-point outburst from senior point guard Elijah Gonzalez, the Cavaliers upset four-time champion West Linn 78-71 in the semifinals of the OSAA Class 6A boys tournament at the Chiles Center.

Gonzalez made nine 16 shots from the field, and 19 of 22 free-throw attempts to lead Clackamas, ranked third, to within a game of its first title.

"We're on a tremendous run, and it's so fun," Gonzalez said afterward. "I always told my dad I was going to lead my team to a state title, and now it's happening."

Clackamas, 24-4, will play top-ranked Jefferson, 26-1, at 3:15 p.m. Saturday for the title.

Jefferson beat Beaverton 63-54 in its semifinal.

West Linn, 22-5, got 17 points from Nolan Bertain, and 15 points from Rodney Hounshell, but saw its drive for an unprecedented fifth straight title end with a late scoring drought. The Lions led 69-68 with 33 seconds left, but Clackamas scored the next 10 points, including seven by Gonzalez.

Matt O'Brien added 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Cavaliers.

 

West Linn readies for challenge

Lions trounce North Medford, move closer to fifth title
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - West Linn might not be the outright favorite to win a state title this year, but they didn't play like that Wednesday.

The four-time defending champions blew through North Medford on the way to 55 points in the first half, and rolled to a 89-59 victory in the quarterfinals of the OSAA Class 6A Boys Basketball tournament at the Chiles Center.

Senior Rodney Hounshell hit four three-point shots on the way to 20 points, and senior Braden Olsen made eight of this 10 attempts on the way to 20 points as the second-ranked Lions improved to 22-4 and moved to the semifinals, where they will play third-ranked Clackamas.

West Linn is aiming to be the first boys team at all classifications to win five consecutive titles.

"We definitely wanted to make a statement that we're here to win," said Hounshell, who played at Lake Oswego last year. "Everyone thinks we're the underdog because we aren't ranked No. 1, but we're here to get that fifth state title for the team and for the school."

North Medford got 22 points from Brad Allen, but dropped to 21-6 and will play West Salem in the consolation semifinals.

 

Gonzales leads Cavs to win

A near triple double helps beat West Salem 68-52 and move to semis
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Elijah Gonzales made a solid statement Wednesday that he's ready to move into the role played by Payton Pritchard the past three years, and lead his team to a state title.

Gonzales, a 5-foot-9 guard, scored 31 points, grabbed eight rebounds and dished out eight assists to lead Clackamas to a 68-52 win over West Salem in the quarterfinals of the OSAA Class 6A boys basketball state tournament at the Chiles Center.

Gonzales mad 12 of 22 shots, including six of 12 three-point attempts, and carried the Cavaliers to the semifinals, moving one step further in the tournament than last year when Pritchard, now a starter at the University of Oregon, led West Linn to its fourth consecutive state title. Pritchard was the state Player of the Year his final three seasons as well.

"This is very exciting getting to play this far into the tournament," Gonzales said afterward. "We're playing well, and playing as a team, and I can't wait for our next game."

West Salem got 20 points from Kyle Greeley, but hit just 38 percent of its field-goal attempts, and just six of 15 free throws.

 

Beavers get past Westview, 56-42

Metro champions move onto Jefferson
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Beaverton got another win over rival Westview, and kept pace with top-ranked Jefferson in the process in the quarterfinals of the OSAA Class 6A boys basketball tournament at the Chiles Center.

Following Jefferson's fourth win over its rival Grant, Beaverton got 22 points and seven rebounds from junior Jake Estep, and nine points and 11 reounds from Hunter Sweet to beat the Wildcats 56-42, its fourth win over Westview.

Beaverton moved to a 27-15 lead at halftime, and kept the margin at or near double figures for the remainder of the game, and improved to 22-4.

The Beavers are set to play Jefferson in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. Friday. Jefferson won an early-season game between the two 71-63.

Westview got 16 points and six rebounds from Mason Elliott, but dropped to 22-5. Its only other loss besides the Beavers was to Grant, 53-49, in the Les Scwab Invitational.

 

 

Jefferson rolls through Grant again

Top-ranked Democrats beat neighborhood rivals for fourth time
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Top-ranked Jefferson overcame a sluggish first half and beat league rival Grant 77-61 Wednesday in the opening round of the OSAA Class 6A boys basketball tournament at the Chiles Center.

The win advanced the Democrats to the tournament semifinals for the second straight year, and was the fourth time they beat Grant this season.

Jefferson got 17 points from senior Geno West and 12 points and nine rebounds from sophomore Kamata Hepa, while improving to 27-1. Leading 35-28 at halftime, the Demos outscored the Generals 42-33 in the second half.

"It's important for the guys because they're all friends, and play against each other all the time," Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said. "There's some bragging rights there."

Jefferson made eight of 24 three-point shots, but Grant made just two of 11.

Grant got 16 points from Anthony Deloney, and will enter the consolation bracket with a chance to finish fourth.

 

 

 

 

Jefferson runs past Jesuit to tournament

Top-ranked Demos use fastbreaks to beat Crusaders 98-86
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The anticipation of a Jefferson vs. West Linn state final took another step forward Friday as the top-ranked Democrats beat visiting Jesuit 98-86 in the second round of the OSAA Class 6A boys basketball playoff.

Junior Kamaka Hepa scored 28 points, sophomore Marcus Tsohonis added  23 and seniors Geno West and Thomas Miles combined for 32 points to lead Jefferson in an intense game that featured 51 free throws and a pair of technical fouls.

Hepa led the way at the free-throw line by making all 12 of his attempts. Tsohonis hit four of the team's six three-point shots.

The victory advanced the Demos to the eight-team state tournament that begins Wednesday at the Chiles Center, with second-ranked West Linn playing on the the other side of the bracket.

Jefferson is 24-1, having lost only to Gonzaga College of Washington, D.C, in the Les Schwab Invitational in December, 91-70, plays Portland Interscholastic League rival Grant at 1:30 p.m. in the quarterfinals. The Democrats have beaten Grant three times this season, including in the LSI.

Grant, which beat Sprague of Salem 74-72 Friday, improved to 17-8.

The Demos beat West Linn 90-77 on January 16; but have the memory of a semifinal loss to the Lions last season still fresh in their memories. West Linn won its fourth-straight state title last season and is attempting to be the first school to win five consecutive titles in boys play.

West Linn, which beat Lincoln of the PIL 76-65 Friday, plays North Medford in the quarterfinals at 8:15 p.m. Wednesday.

In other quarterfinal games, Beaverton plays Westview at 3:15, and West Salem and Clackamas play at 6:30.

 

De La Salle defends its turf

Knights head back to 3A tourney with 49-46 win over Coquille
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The De La Salle North Catholic basketball program might not have a dazzling on-campus arena, but it definitely has a home territory in the Class 3A hoop world at the Moore Street Salvation Army Gym. And, the Knights did what they needed to protect their home court Friday, and played their way back into the boys state tournament with a 49-46 victory over Coquille.

Sophomore Kadeem Nelson scored 15 points, senior Jordanos Lincoln scored 10 and senior Marquis Guntle added 10 points, including hitting all four of this free-throw attempts in the final 40 seconds to send the team back to the tournament in Coos Bay for the fifth consecutive year.

Junior Seth Waddington scored a game-high 17 points to lead the Red Devils, who lost to the Knights for the third time in four years in the tournament play-in game. Coquille has missed the tournament by one victory eight times in the past nine years, and has not been to the double-elimination tournament since 2003.

De La Salle improved to 20-5 on the season, and will play Amity in the quarterfinals Thursday at North Bend High School. Amity beat Colton 69-63 Friday to improve to 21-5.

Coquille finished at 19-7.

The Class 3A Tournament begins Wednesday with the girls quarterfinals, then picks up with the boys quarterfinals Thursday. The boys and girls championship games are set for Saturday at Marshfield High in Coos Bay.

De La Salle's quickness and physical play seemed to catch Coquille off-guard at the start of the game, and the Knights went up 9-0 before the Red Devils scored. Early in the second quarter the lead extended to 18-7, but junior guard Henry Scolari led the Coquille comeback by continually breaking the De La Salle fullcourt pressure. A series of lay-ups by senior forwards Noah Hyatt and senior Dustin Davis, and clutch jump shots from Waddington eventually turned into a 34-33 lead when Davis completed a three-point play with 2:16 left in the third quarter.

Coquille led 38-36 entering the fourth quarter, but quickly reached 10 team fouls and the Knights spent much of the fourth quarter at the free throw line. De La Salle outscored Coquille 13-8 in the final quarter, with nine of those points as free throws as the lead changed hands five times.

A pair of free throws by Scolari with 43 seconds left cut De La Salle's lead to 45-44, then after Guntle hit a pair of free throws, Hyatt scored after an offensive rebound to make the score 47-46. Guntle drew a quick foul and hit both shots with nine seconds left.

Coquille set up Waddington for a game-tying shot, but it missed and the Knights celebrated a return to the Southern Oregon Coast.

 

 

 

 

Grant battles to key victory

The Generals' offense doesn't quite click, but they beat Lincoln 61-50
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - A season-low total of points in the first quarter might have been just what the Grant Generals needed as they head toward the state playoffs.

After putting up just six points in the first quarter and trailing by as many as 10 points in the half, Grant rallied behind solid defense and strong passing to overcome an inspired performance by Lincoln, 61-50, in a PIL boys basketball game Tuesday at Lincoln.

Grant got 15 points from junior Kelton Samore, and 14 points each from senior Noel Bangsberg and sophomore Aaron Deloney to improve to 14-8 overall and 12-3 in league play with one game left against Benson. The Generals are ranked No. 9 by the OSAA calculations, which would put them in position to play host to possibly two games in the state playoffs next week.

"I told them that's playoff basketball, at it's best for us," Grant coach Robert Key said of his post-game team meeting. "One of the best wins on the road for us all season."

Lincoln got 15 points from junior Bryce Sloan, but got outscored 22-6 in the fourth quarter and dropped to 13-8, 10-5 with its OSAA ranking at 16. At No. 16, the Cardinals would play host to a first-round playoff game.

Grant entered the game with the idea a win would boost its resume to a ranking of No. 8, with a key factor being its strength of schedule that includes top-ranked Jefferson twice as well as No. 2 West Linn twice. All four games were among its eight losses. At No. 9, they would only play host to the first-round game and play the second round at the 8th seed unless that team lost in the first round.

The resume boost looked shaky in the first eight minutes as the Generals missed lay-ups and an array of outside shots, scoring just six points and trailing 14-6 after one quarter. The team ramped up its offense to trail just 29-24 at halftime and finally got the lead at 37-36 on an offensive rebound by the 6-foot-9 Samore with 3:16 left in the third quarter.

Lincoln finished out the quarter with an 8-2 run and led 44-39 with eight minutes left. But, the Cardinals scored only one point in the first five minutes of the quarter and strong free-throw shooting by Deloney - who made nine of this 10 free throws, boosted the Generals to the win.

 

 

 

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