State contenders start to emerge

Central Catholic's two-year run atop Class 6A appears in jeopardy
Sept. 12, 2015 /

A return to Mt. Hood Conference play might be just what the doctor ordered for two-time defending Class 6A state champion Central Catholic.

After a season-opening 27-14 loss to arch-rival Jesuit, the Rams lost 66-17 to St. Johns Bosco of California and are 0-2 heading into conference play. Central Catholic plays at Oregon City Friday.

Conference rival Centennial appears as a solid threat to rest the conference title from the Rams. The Eagles are 2-0 having dispatched both Beaverton and Aloha of the Metro League. Centennial and Central Catholic meet in Week 4 of the season.

Jesuit is among the 13 teams that won their opening two games. Sherwood impressed with its dominating wins over Grants Pass and Grant. The Bowmen play Tigard in the start of conference play on Friday.


High schools readied for fall sports

Central Catholic, Summit enter as top programs
August 26, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

With just a week left before the fall high school season begins, both Central Catholic of Portland and Summt of Bend enter as the dominant programs at their classifications.

Central Catholic won three Class 6A state titles last fall: football, boys soccer and boys cross country, and reached the volleyball finals. Summit won three Class 5A titles: girls soccer, boys and girls cross country; and boys water polo, which is a sport not affiliated with the OSAA.

Solid programs in all three sports for the Rams make them a contender for titles in the same four sports, while Summit is a clear favorite for both cross country titles as well as the remaining sports, which has many Class 5A schools pointing out the school is sixed for Class 6A play due to its enrollment. Both Summit and Bend, which played in the girls soccer final, have more than 1,300 students when the Class 5A cut-off for Class 6A is roughly 1,250 students.

At other classifications, Valley Catholic won a pair of 4A titles: girls soccer and boys cross country; Oregon Episcopal won both soccer titles at 3A, and Burns won the Class 2A football and volleyball titles, becoming the first school do win that pair of titles since the state moved to six classifications in 2007.

Among other state highlights, Hermiston won its first football title, St. Helens won its first volleyball title, and Hood River Valley won its first boys soccer title - all at Class 5A.

The most notable absence among state champions was Crook County, which had its run of state volleyball titles snapped at eight.

Summit enters the season with the longest run of championships at seven girls cross country titles. The Storm is the favorite to win this year and into the future as three of its top seven state finishers were freshman last year, and state champion Olivia Brooks won as a sophomore.


Mariota leads list of OSA candidates

Oregon senior's captivating run to the Heisman heads annual awards ceremony
June 7, 2015

ESPN SportsCenter anchor and University of Oregon alum Neil Everett will host the 63rd Annual Oregon Sports Awards Thursday at the Tiger Woods Center at Nike World Headquarters.

The annual event will be celebrated in June for the first time, with the event following the academic calendar year rather than the calendar year.

Among the top Awards candidates are Marcus Mariota of the University of Oregon football team, and Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and West Linn’s Payton Pritchard.

Awards are handed out for Professional, collegiate and prep athletes with three finalists at each level.


Johnny Carpenter Prep Athlete of the Year

Osawaru Odighizua, David Douglas H.S. (Football & Wrestling)
Payton Pritchard, West Linn H.S. (Basketball)
Kellen Strahm, Sheldon H.S. (Football & Baseball)
Ella Donaghu, Grant H.S. (Cross Country & Track & Field)
Katie McWilliams, South Salem H.S. (Basketball)
Gigi Stoll, Beaverton H.S. (Basketball & Golf)

Bill Hayward Award
Amateur Athletes of the Year

Oliver Bjorkstrand, Portland Winterhawks
Edward Cheserek, University of Oregon (Cross Country & Indoor Track & Field)
Marcus Mariota, University of Oregon (Football)
Ruth Hamblin, Oregon State (Basketball)
Cheridan Hawkins, University of Oregon (Softball)
Martenne Bettendorf, University of Oregon (Volleyball)

Harry Glickman Award
Professional Athlete of the Year

LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland Trail Blazers
Mo Farah Nike Oregon Project (Track & Field)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Mary Cain, Nike Oregon Project, University of Portland (Track & Field)
Kim Hill, U.S. National Team, Portland Christian H.S. (Volleyball)
Brianne Theisen-Eaton, Canadian National Team, University of Oregon (Track & Field)

Generals roll to tennis title

An all-Grant final leads to team title
May 23, 2015

An all-Grant boys final highlighted results from the OSAA State Tennis Championships Saturday at the Tualatin Hills Tennis Center.

Sophomore Andrew Finkelman edged junior Dylan King 6-2, 5-7, 6-0 in the boys final, vaulting the Generals to the team title as well.

Sunset, which placed two teams in the doubles final, finished second.

Churchill junior Nathan Hampton won the boys Class 5A final with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Summit's Carter Quigley. The Storm easily won the team race.

In tournament notes:

• Grant last won the state title in 2005.


Volleyball season roars to a close

Regional winners play out in four tournaments Sunday
May 3, 2015 / Staff Report

Eugene-based Webfoot Juniors survived a final-set tiebreaker with Salem’s North Pacific Juniors to win the 18U bracket at the Columbia Empire Volleyball Association Regional Tournament Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center.

The bracket was one of four played out during the two-day event, which featured more than 350 teams from Oregon and Southwest Washington.

Webfoot dropped a three-game match to NPJ, including 15-13 in the third game, that set up the one-game final. NPJ played in seven official matches Sunday, three of which went to three games. Webfoot played in just five.

At the 16U bracket, Beaverton-based Athena Volleyball Academy beat the Webfoot Juniors in the final, 25-11, 25-21, finishing the tournament unbeaten in seven matches. The champions gave up as many as 20 points in a game in only three of 14 games.

The fourth-seeded Rose City Volleyball Club rallied through the consolation bracket and beat NPJ in the 14U bracket, winning 25-17 in the one-game final.

The Portland Volleyball Club took the 12U bracket with a 25-22, 25-23 win over Vancouver, Wash.-based Excel NW. PVC finished 12-1 in games during the two days.

Volleyball season roars to regionals

The Oregon Convention Center plays host to the annual tournament
April 28, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The seemingly never-ending prep volleyball season comes to a close this weekend - for most teams, with the annual CEVA Regionals, set to be played out Saturday and Sunday at the Oregon Convention Center.

More than 350 teams are scheduled to compete in four age-groups ranging from 18-and-under to 12-and-under, with seeding into 16-team brackets having taken place during a league season that began in January.

Most of the girls involved have played in a tournament nearly every weekend the past two months.

Pool-play matches begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, and begin concluding with championship matches at Sunday afternoon. The top teams in the 18U bracket are scheduled to play their title match at 1 p.m.

The Convention Center will house 47 courts during the weekend.

The Webfoot Gold team from Eugene is the top-seeded team in the 18U bracket, with the Salem-based North Pacific Juniors as the second seed.

At 16U, the Webfoot club again secured the top seed, with the Adidas NW club, based in Gresham, as the second seed.

At 14U, the Oregon Juniors, based in Beaverton, are seeded first, with Athena, also based in Beaverton, as second.

And at 12U, Oregon Juniors enters as the top seed, with Rose City, which regularly feeds players into Central Catholic High School, as second.


Jesuit, Century swim to titles

The Crusaders move up from second last year, while Century repeats
Feb. 21, 2015

GRESHAM - Despite winning just one individual race, Jesuit's boys swim team won the Class 6A state title by a large margin through depth and a pair of relay victories Saturday at the OSAA finals at Mt. Hood Community College.

Sophomore Anthony Nosack won the 100 breaststroke - making up nearly a bodylength in the final 25 meters - and the Crusaders won the 200 and 400 freestyle relays, tallying a score of 169 points. Oregon City finished second with 101 points.

Century defended its girls title with a narrow win over Sunset, needing a win in the final event, the 400 freestyle relay, to cement the team race. The Jaguars got a pair of relay wins, and three individual titles, including a state-record by junior Sara Metzsch in the 100 backstroke. Ellie Thornbrue won two individual events and swam on the two relay wins.

In other Class 5A finals, Summit edged Bend in the girls team race, while the Bend beat Summit in the boys team standings. In all, an individual or team from either Bend or Summit won 17 of the 22 finals.

Noah Norris of Wilsonville won the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley finals to help break up the Central Oregon dominance.

At Class 4A, North Bend won the girls title by just a half-point over Sweet Home, while Catlin Gabel won the boys title.

Sweet Home swimmers won two relays and three individual titles, but North Bend won four indivudual titles and one relay. The Bulldogs finished second in the other two relays, while Sweet Home finished sixth in its third relay. Sweet Home's Jessica Coats narrowly missed earning her team a tie for the title in the 100 butterly, finishing in a tie for second with Sarah Krueger of Valley Catholic in 58.65 seconds. The swimmers scored 4.5 points each, instead of five for second and four for third.





Scots move into the title clubhouse

David Douglas wins its first state cheerleading title
Feb. 14, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - In what amounted to a historic upset, David Douglas won its first cheerleading state title Saturday, upsetting traditional champions Westview and Aloha in a tightly-contested Class 6A/5A large team finals Saturday at Memorial Coliseum.

The Scots performed a near-flawless routine, then celebrated wildly without knowing their fate for more than an hour.

Westview also performed near-flawlessly, but judges ended up handing the title to David Douglas in the closest result of the day, 66.22 to 65.75.

The win moved the Scots up from second last year, when they lost to Aloha by more than four points. Aloha finished third Saturday.

In other finals, Newberg won the Class 6A Small division for the third-straight year, while Thurston defended its Coed title and Springfield won the Class 5A Small division after finishing second a year ago. Klamath Union repeated as Class 4A champion, and Pleasant Hill won the Class 3A title, having not competed last year.



Demos overwhelm Cardinals

Jefferson avenges its only PIL loss with a powerful 76-55 win at Lincoln
Feb. 10, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The Jefferson High boys basketball team apparently got the message the Lincoln High team sent them Jan. 10. If the Democrats didn't play like they wanted to win the state title, they ran the risk of losing.

Tuesday, they showed off they don't plan on losing anytime soon.

Behind a dominating defensive performance led by senior center Isaiah Robinson's five blocked shots, and 24 points from senior point guard Kadeem Strickland, the Democrats ran over Lincoln, 76-55, avenging the 65-64 loss the Cardinals handed them in their first meeting.

The win was their ninth-straight by double-digits, and eighth-straight by at least 21 points. Jefferson improved to 15-4 overall, 12-1 in PIL play, a game ahead of the Cardinals in the race for the league title.

Jefferson dominated from the outset, turning a 7-3 lead into an 18-3 tsunami of offense and defense. Lincoln, tempered by the pass-first, shoot second mentality of teams that haven't tasted state glory, got overwhelmed into the fourth quarter, when Jefferson led 65-30. The Cardinals responded to reach the final score, but the PIL's hopes for playoff glory clearly rest with Jefferson. And, the Democrats know it.

Cards ready their hand

Lincoln gears up for duel with Jefferson by beating Benson 56-43
Feb. 6, 2015 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

PORTLAND - The ebb and flow of the high school boys basketball season showed itself in the second half of Lincoln's win over Benson Friday night as the Cardinals pulled out to a solid lead, extended it to a bigger lead, watched it dissolve then cruised to a 56-43 decision.

Lincoln led 35-29 at halftime, and 44-32 early in the fourth quarter before Benson rallied to within 44-41 with three minutes left. After a series of missed shots and turnovers by both teams, free throws eventuall pushed the host Cardinals to the win and a 10-1 record in the Portland Interscholastic League, 14-5 overall.

Sophomore guard Jonah Pemberton scored 17 points and junior Nic Wolf added 11 to lead Lincoln, which moved a half-game ahead of idle Jefferson in the race for the league title. The teams meet Tuesday at Lincoln.

"Our collective goal all season has been to win the league title," Wolf said. "Everyone knows Jefferson is the top team, and for us to win the league title we have to beat them. Having that win over them gives us a lot of confidence, but we know they remember that. It's going to be a big test."

Sophomore Will Lakayi led all scorers with 18 points for Benson, which dropped to 5-14 overall, 2-9. The Techmen have a week off before playing at Cleveland.

Lincoln's fluid season started off at 3-4 before a run of 11 wins in the past 12 games, including four in the past eight days. Within the stretch the Cardinals beat Jefferson 64-64 on a last-second three-point play by Pemberton.

Three days later they beat Madison 80-28, but a week after that they lost to Cleveland 66-48 showcasing the keys to their season - energy and focus. With a team of primarily role players, the Cardinals were possibly playing above their talent in beating Jefferson, which won the Class 5A state title last season and won a pair of games in the Les Schwab Invitational - one over currently third-ranked Jesuit.

"We definitely played with a lot of energy," Wolf said of the Jefferson win. "We matched their energy and their focus and that's been our biggest challenge this season - keeping that consistent energy and focus."

Jefferson responded to the loss, which came during a day of league games at Marshall High, Jan. 10, with seven consecutive wins by an average margin of 36 points. Jefferson is ranked sixth in the latest OSAA Rankings, while Lincoln is 14th. No other PIL team is ranked higher than 25th.

Lincoln has three state titles to its resume - 1919, '52 and '57, and was a state player from 2009-13 under coach David Adelman. But last season, the team fell to 27th in the state rankings under coach Sean Christensen. Lincoln last won the PIL title - the title with all the current schools playing at the same classification - in 2003.


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