The Pioneers upset South Salem, play Southridge for title
PORTLAND - It's hard to call any victory by the Oregon City girls basketball team an upset, but technically that's what happened Friday.
Trailing by eight points early, the sixth-ranked Pioneers recovered and overcame a 25-point performance from Evina Westbrook to reach the final for the first time in four years by beating second-ranked, and two-time defending champion South Salem 54-46 in the semifinals of the OSAA Class 6A girls tournament at the Chiles Center.
N'Dea Flye led three players in double figures with 14 points for Oregon City, which will play Southridge for the title Saturday night at 8:15 p.m.
Top-ranked Southridge beat No. 4 Grant, 36-34, in the first semifinal.
Since 2001, Southridge and Oregon City have combined to win 11 state titles.
Southridge led from start to finish, but survived a late run by the upstart Generals to return to the final for the first time since 2010.
Saturday's meeting will be the third between the schools in a state final with the Skyhawks having won the previous battles in 2006 and '08.
PORTLAND - Top-ranked Southridge blew through its quarterfinal game with St. Mary's from the opening tip, and cruised past the Blues 82-42, Thursday at the OSAA Class 6A girls basketball state tournament at the Chiles Center.
The Skyhawks scored 31 points in the first quarter to secure the eventual outcome and will play No. 4 Grant Friday as they look to return to the top of the state ranks for the first time since 2010.
Maggie Freeman led four players in double figures with 19 points for Southridge.
The Skyhawks won four consecutive titles, and five in six years beginning in 2005, but have not been to a final since.
Two-time defending champion South Salem moved into the semifinals with a 55-48 victory over Tigard, in a rematch from last season's final.
Upstart Grant beat South Medford 56-45 to become the first team from the Portland Interscholastic League to reach the semifinals since 1991 - the last time a PIL team reached the final. A Portland team has not won the state title since 1982, when Marshall won the second of back-to-back championships.
Oregon City beat rival Clackamas 55-37 in the other quarterfinal, and will play South Salem in the other semifinal.
Techsters dispatch Cleveland, gear up for playoff run
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
PORTLAND - Benson's season of success kept moving forward Friday with a 74-36 victory over host Cleveland in PIL girls basketball action.
Sophomore Taylor LyDay scored 20 points, sophomore Makenzy Porter added 15 and sophomore Mahogany Menefee hit four three-point shots and finished with 12 points in the win, which helped the team get one step closer to its ultimate goal: reach the state tournament for the first time since 1996.
The Techsters, who made 11 three-pointers and improved to 18-3 on the season, 13-1 in league play, while Cleveland dropped to 12-8 overall, 9-6.
Junior Julia Downing scored 15 points to lead the Warriors, who honored their three seniors: Elena Matt, Luisa Potestio and Tynesha Parnell prior to the game.
Benson beat No. 3 Grant a week earlier, and sits atop the PIL standings tied with the Generals with two regular-season games to play. Cleveland plays at Benson Monday in its season finale, while Benson follows Tuesday with it's final game at home against Franklin.
The Class 6A state playoffs begin March 1 with the first of two play-in rounds. The state tournament is set for March 9-11 at the University of Portland.
A year after reaching the
Benson started the season with narrow losses to Jesuit and Canby, but has won 18 of its last 19 games, falling just to Grant, 64-44 on Jan. 28. Defense has been the key, coach Eric Knox said Friday, to those wins. Only Grant has been able to score more than 50 points per game against the Techsters. Benson has scored more than 50 points in all but five games - three of them losses.
Away from headines and rankings, a game rush is a win in itself
Dec. 19, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
Christmas came early for the David Douglas and Sprague girls basketball teams Friday in the form of an collective adrenaline rush.
For programs rebuilding, retooling, just flat out surviving to an extent, a 35-33 game with all the trimmings of a last-second shot to win was a blessing. David Douglas led the entire game, but had just a one-point lead late before pulling out their second win of the season.
"It was a lot of fun to win a game like that," David Douglas junior Takayla Hadley said after her team improve to 2-4. "That kind of excitement is what the game is all about, and I love to be a part of that."
Sprague trailed by 12 in the first half, but scrapped together a consistent comeback that got within 33-32 before Scots senior Taliah Graham got a long pass and made an uncontested lay-up with 56 seconds left. Sprague got a free throw with 12 seconds remaining, and had the ball with four seconds left, but couldn't get off another shot.
The Olympians dropped to 1-5, but Friday's game was the first that hadn't been decided by 21 points or more. The team lost its first four games by an average of 50 points, then beat McKay on Tuesday by 21.
"It would have been nice to get a win, but I'm happy the girls got to play a game like that," Sprague's first-year coach Casey Williams said. "We haven't had that kind of experience this season.
"It was especially good for our team because of how we battled back. That's got to give the girls some confidence in themselves."
The excitement, in front of a receptive crowd of parents and the David Douglas cheerleaders, was great for both teams, who face differing challenges that both involve losing by significant margins. The Scots suited up just eight players, a fact that sparks the senses because the school has more than 2,500 students - the largest high school in the state. Sprague had a full bench, but played a consistent line-up of four freshmen and either a junior or senior.
David Douglas had actually played two other games decided by four points or less, but they were both against Jefferson, which won one of the games and has one other win - McKay. David Douglas coach Kristinya Birch was nothing but smiles after the game, not only for the outcome, but the outcome of last week's camp for younger players.
"We had 35 girls, which was a great showing," she said. "That's part of our working to build the program, which is what we need."
Both programs are hardcore into a building mode, something highlighted by Friday's game featuring, unofficially, at least 60 turnovers. Sprague went winless two seasons ago, and went winless in conference play last year. It's four starting freshmen, though, produced plenty of fight and showed off a level of skill that might make the other 11 freshmen in the program put in some of the extra work needed to be part of a winning program.
The Scots have 14 freshmen and another 11 sophomores in their program, which Birch is leading on an interim basis after coach Joanne Maki suffered a medical illness that required she step aside for the season. Birch, a teacher in the district for eight years, is committed to helping build the program with Maki, neither of whom is rushing players to the varsity level before they're ready. Birch said basically anyone who tried out found a spot.
Hadley, who has played since third grade, said she's optimistic about the team this season, but gets frustrated at times passing by classmates who were once teammates but simply bailed on the game.
"It's tough when I see girls I know can play, who could be helping us," she said. "But, you have to be committed at this level, and that's not something everyone can do."
Monday, the Scots play at Class 5A Woodburn, which is 3-4 and has scored no less than 33 points in all of its games. Regardless of the score, Birch will be happy to get another nightly-contested outcome.
"I know it's fun for the girls to play in games like this," she said. "It's not so good for my heart, but it's great to get the kinks out of your game before league play starts."
The Rams beat Norcross, Ga., with fresher legs in Shootout finale
Dec. 30, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
LAKE OSWEGO - In the second half of the fourth game in four days, the Central Catholic Rams showed off that having two major college recruits is better than having one and beat Norcross, Ga., 68-61 in the championship game of the Nike Interstate Shootout girls basketball tournament at Lake Oswego High School.
With the game tied at 45, the Rams scored the final four points of the third quater and then extended the lead to 62-52, which effectively decided the game.
Jordan Bailey, who is headed for Tennessee, scored a game-high 25 points and Kailee Johnson, who is headed for Stanford, added 18 to lead the Rams, who were focused on showing their collective skill after losing two of three games in an eight-team tournament in Arizona last week.
Norcross got 27 points from Diamond DeShields and 13 points from Shayla Cooper, but could not overcome Central Catholic's depth.
"We could tell they were getting a little tired," said Johnson, who was an all-tournament first-team pick. "We knew we just had to gut the game out to win."
The Rams upend Oregon City, will play Norcross, Ga., in Interstate final
Dec. 29, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
LAKE OSWEGO - Central Catholic wanted to make a statement about its game to the rest of Oregon this weekend, and the Rams did with a 59-48 win over Oregon City Saturday in the semifinals of the Nike Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego High.
Next, they get a shot at making a statement to the nation as they'll face national power Norcross, Ga., in the final Sunday at 6:30 p.m.
Norcross, pressed to perform in their first two games, pulled away from a 27-20 lead over Clackamas to 31 at the end of three quarters on the way to 82-45 their victory.
The start time got moved from 8 p.m. to accomodate the Lady Blues and their travel plans.
Diamond DeShields had 20 points and Shayla Cooper added 17 to lead Norcross.
Kailee Johnson scored 21 and Jordan Reynolds added 20 to lead Central Catholic. The Rams played in a tournament in Arizona a week ago and lost two of three games, but returned to Oregon motivated to show off what they learned in those three games.
"We definitely wanted to make a statement here," Reynolds said. "Beating Oregon City did that, now we really want to win the tournament."
Trailing in the fourth quarter, the Lady Blues rally past Westview
Dec. 28, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
LAKE OSWEGO - Facing another deficit in the fourth quarter, the Lady Blues from Norcross, Ga., found a way to move past Westview and into the semifinals of the Nike Interstate Shootout Friday at Lake Oswego High School.
Diamond DeShields scored a game-high 24 points and Shayla Cooper had 18, inluding six big free throws in the closing moments as Norcross outscored Westview 12-6 to close the game on the way to a 60-55 victory.
The win puts Norcross into the semifinals, where it will play Clackamas Saturday at 8 p.m.
Oregon City and Central Catholic will play in the other semifinal at 6:30 p.m.
Westview led 49-48 and had the ball, but suffered a turnover and the Lady Blues got a basket from junior Sydney Marshall and a pair of free throws from DeShields to take a lead it would not relinquish, a day after beating Springfield 45-42. Norcross trailed 38-32 in that game.
Norcross made 14 of 16 free throws in the game.
"They're making us play our best, which is what we were hoping for when we came here," Cooper said of Westview and Springfield. "We can feel there's a state pride thing in there, too with us being from Georgia."
"It's neat the way they hand the banners of all the past winners of the tournament," DeShields said. "We want to be up there."
Jamie Nared scored 22 to lead Westview, which will meet Metro-League rival Beaverton Saturday. Delanie Parry and Sarah Curl added 10 points each for the Wildcats. Westview hit 13 of 20 free throws.
In other games:
OREGON CITY 64, SOUTH SALEM 44 - Oregon City moved along with its usual fast-paced, energetic style past a scrappy effort from South Salem to reach a marquee meeting with Central Catholic.
South Salem, which moved up from the lower bracket last year, trailed just 47-37 in the fourth quarter when the Pioneers hit a 7-0 run and extended it to 17-7 to finish the game.
Johanna Paine and Catelyn Preston combined for 27 points to lead the Pioneers, who improved to 9-0 on the season.
Katie McWilliams had 12 points and Kelsie Gardner added 10 points to lead South Salem.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 54, TIGARD 38 - Another blistering first quarter helped Central Catholic cruise past Tigard and into a semifinal meeting with Oregon City.
The Rams, who led West Linn 16-2 in the first quarter Thursday, led the Tigers 18-7 Friday and ended the first half ahead 29-10.
Senior post Kailee Johnson led Central Catholic with 17 points, while Jordan Reynolds had 13 and Tyler Upshaw had 11.
Lexi Carter had 14 and Megan Risinger added 12 to lead Tigard, who managed to outscore the Rams 28-25 in the second half.
CLACKAMAS 64, BEAVERTON 42 - For the second-straight game, Clackamas fell behind by a notable margin before waking up and pulling out a victory, this time aided by a 20-1 run in the second half.
After falling behind 11-0 to open the game, the Cavaliers beat a youthful Beaverton squad 64-42 in the quarterfinals, a day after trailing St. Mary's 29-24 in the third quarter of their first round game. They won that 57-45.
"We played well in the second half," said Thomas, who is headed for Weber State. "We just have to get more consistent and not have those stretches like we did in the first half."
Thomas scored eight points in the first quater, which ended with Beaverton ahead 15-12. The lead changed hands eight times in the second quarter, which ended with a buzzer-beating half-court shot that gave Clackamas a 29-27 lead. Beaverton responded with a 3-point shot to open the third quarter, but got its next field goal after Clackamas led 49-31.
Senior guard Deeshyra Thomas led Clackamas with 19 points and Kaitlyn Reiner added 10 points - all in the second half.
Danielle Hartzog had 18 points, while Alexis Montgomery added eight for Beaverton, which scored just 15 points in the second half.
In a physical game, the Wildcats keep the Wolverines in check
Dec. 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
LAKE OSWEGO - In one of the most physical girls basketball games played on any court, Westview beat Willamette to advance to the quarterfinals and a meeting with Norcross, Ga., Thursday in the opening round of the Nike Interstate Shootout.
Sarah Curl had 19 points and Delanie Parry added 15 for Westview, which led 29-21 at the half and fought through a vicious second half in which players regularly were tossed around from contact with opposing players or simply dove onto the ground for loose balls which then turned into a pile of players akin to a football fumble.
"That was as rough a game as I've coached in," Westview coach Lindsay Strothers said.
"It was very physical, but we were hoping for that out of this tournament, to get more physical," Curl said. "The Metro League is very physical, so this is getting us ready for that."
Lexi Bando finished with 12 points and Brittany Glasson added 11 to lead Willamette, which entered the tournament as the No. 2 team in Class 5A. The Wolverines will play Springfield Friday in a rematch of the Class 5A title game from last season, which the Millers won.
Cavaliers take advantage of turnover-filled game to advance to quarters
Dec. 27, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal
LAKE OSWEGO - Clackamas survived a rough opening-day performance and moved into the quarterfinals of the Nike Interstate Shootout with a 57-45 victory over St. Mary's Academy Thursday.
Junior forward Sydney Azorr scored 18 points and senior guard Deeshyra Thomas added 13 to lead the Cavaliers, who will play Beaverton Friday at 7 p.m.
With the game tied at 24 entering the third quarter, St. Mary's burst to a five-point lead when it forced turnovers on five consecutive Clackamas possessions. But, the five-point lead didn't last as the Cavaliers ratcheted up their defense and caused consistent turnovers the remainder of the game.
A 15-2 run put Clackamas ahead 39-31 and St. Mary's got no closer than five thereafter.
Clackamas shot 23 free throws in the second half, making 10. For the game, the Cavs were 15 of 29.
Martina McCowan and Nae Torregano scored 10 points each to lead St. Mary's.