Prep

Benson sweats out summer

The schools' athletic program will continue after some worries
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - For an athletic program that survived plenty of rumors of being cut entirely this summer, Monday’s opening day of conditioning practices was a welcome relief at Benson High School.

Now, the real sweating begins.

Benson’s fall teams, as with all other programs across the state, began non-contact drills Monday heading into one of the hottest forecasts on record. And, they’re happy to deal with it.

"We were all a little bit nervous about what might happen," senior Tariq Walker said Monday. "I'm glad to be on the field again. I'm not worried about the heat, or the season really. I don't know how many guys we might have come out, or what to expect about winning, so it's just go out and play hard and do the best you can. That's what we can focus on."

Benson's football team is set to play an independent schedule - one outside of the Portland Interscholastic League, as it did a year ago, with the goal of returning to PIL league play. Although the school is classified as 6A as with the other PIL schools, it's schedule is made up primarily of Class 5A schools, and other independent teams - Glencoe of Hillsboro is also playing an independent schedule.

Third-year head coach Devarieous Sly-Clay said he felt confident the Techmen would play this fall, in all varsity sports, based on conversations and testimony from coaches to the district in spring. But, he said he wasn't fully given the green light until early July.

"(The district athletic office) pretty much told us they weren't going to cut athletics this year," Sly-Clay said. "But, they didn't say anything about next year.

"They're doing a lot of data collection to see whether athletics works out here, but they're missing a key point in getting input from the kids. It makes a huge difference to a lot of these kids to have athletics at their school. Hopefully, they'll take that into consideration."

Benson dropped football in 2014 due to low numbers, and is slowly bringing it back in spite of not having any kind of feeder program. The PIL is promoting youth football with posters across the community, but it only represents eight of the nine schools - Benson does not have a youth program.

Benson suited up two dozen players for most of its games last year, including a girl who is on the roster again this year as a receiver. The team expects to add an exchange student from Germany when daily doubles begin Aug. 14

They're coming off what could easily be considered a highly successful season - winning three games.

Senior Tyler Phillips, the team's returning quarterback, said the football team is a significant element to his high school experience, especially since he's been involved in athletics since age 3.

"Sports has been such a huge part of my life, it would be a tremendous letdown if it were taken away," said Phillips, who also plays baseball. "Sports teaches you discipline, respect, so many other things. If helps you sort out your time, like for training, like you would for studying for a class.

"I hope we can have a great season, a great experience and get people excited so there's a team for the freshmen and sophomores to play on next year."

Sly-Clay said he anticipates around two dozen players again to be part of the program in two weeks, and is hopeful a letter being sent out to incoming freshmen might bring in enough players for a freshman team. Benson is in a unique situation in that there is such a demand to attend the school that most students are selected through a lottery system. Having a youth program that got a student into the school through athletics could easily be seen as recruiting.

"Benson is a great school, but it's got more than a few things working against it in terms of athletics," he said. "It would be great if there was some way we could get student-athletes here without it being looked at as recruiting."

BENSON SCHEDULE

Sept. 1     Milwaukie (5A)

Sept. 8     Parkrose (5A)

Sept. 15   At Woodburn (5A - independent)

Sept. 22   Fort Vancouver, Wash., 5:30 p.m. Homecoming

Sept. 29   Rainier (3A)

Oct. 6       Heritage, Wash.

Oct. 12     Glencoe (Independent)

Oct. 20     At The Dalles (5A - Independent)

Oct. 27     At Kings Way Christian, Wash.

 

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.

 

Oregon City girls return

The Pioneers upset South Salem, play Southridge for title
Staff report

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.

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.

 

Southridge establishes itself

Skyhawks overwhelm St. Mary's in quarterfinal win
Staff report

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.

 

 

 

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.

 

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