Prep

La Grande preps for title streak

Softball title defenders a class of newcomers
Staff Report

Among the five returning state champions, La Grande is the class of the state as it prepares for a run to a third consecutive title this spring.

But, it's hard to overlook Dayton as it prepares for another title run.

While the Tigers won the Class 4A title the past two seasons, Dayton reached the 3A final for the fifth consecutive year, although it lost the title game- for the second straight year.

Henley enters the season with a title-game run of three years, having last won in 2017.

The 2019 titlists featured three teams that ended the regular season at top seeds in the class: La Grande, Ridgeview at 5A and Clatskanie at 3A. North Douglas, seeded ninth, was the longshot of the spring at 2A. At 6A, third seed Sheldon beat fourth-seed Tualatin in the final, although the semis also featured the other top two seeds. In the 6A playoffs there were only two upsets - wins by a visiting team, until the semifinals. With four upsets, this past spring actually surpassed the previous year when the 6A bracket featured only three.

 

 

It's all about balance in baseball

Only La Pine will seek a third straight title
Staff Report

It's annually one of the most competitive sports at the high school - at least in Oregon. 

Only La Pine is currently making a run among baseball's state champions.

The Hawks won the Class 3A title the past two seasons, making them the only team with a title streak heading into the 2020 season.

The state's other champions - Jesuit at 6A, Central at 5A, Banks at 4A and Umpqua Valley Christian/Melrose Christian at 2A, all won their classification finals without having reached the title game the previous year.

And, both Jesuit and Umpqua Valley Christian needed extra innings to win their title game. Jesuit's 2-1 win over crosstown rival Central Catholic ended after 13 innings, which tied the state record for longest title game.

In La Pine's case, their four-game run to their second title involved two wins by just one run each.

While the titles changed from year-to-year, the playoffs are annually a different thing - the top seed is usually the winning team. Three of the five classifications were won by the top seed, with the fourth seed, including La Pine, winning the other two.

 

 

It's finally football season!

High schools hit the field in advance of college, pro games
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

All across Oregon high school football teams kicked off their 2018 seasons Friday night.

And, Saturday it'll be college.

It's a weekend that will help football fans get ready for the start of the NFL season Thursday, when Atlanta plays at Super Bowl champion Philadelphia.

The disparity of depth within the sport on opening night was on display Friday at Roosevelt, which took on district rival Benson and pounded out a 62-0 victory, giving up a first down to the Techmen only in the final minute of the game. The Roughriders led 34-0 after the first quarter, and most of the second half was played with a running clock after the score passed a 45-point difference.

Roosevelt's impressive win put it into a role as casual contender for the Portland Interscholastic League title along with Lincoln and Grant, which both scored non-league wins Friday. Lincoln beat Canby 40-7, while Grant beat Gresham 17-7.

Next week, Lincoln plays at Southridge, Grant plays at Newberg and Roosevelt plays at Centennial.

 

Southridge cruises again

Depth and defense lead Skyhawks to another title
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - A dominating first-quarter performance turned into another comfortable win for the Southridge Skyhawks, who defended their Class 6A girls basketball title Saturday afternoon at the Chiles Center.

Southridge led 15-5 after eight minutes and beat upstart Benson 46-27 to win the school's seventh state title.

Maggie Freeman score 12 points and Cameron Brink and Maya Hoff added 10 points each to lead Southridge, which beat all of its Oregon opponents by at least 15 points this season.

Benson, which reached the final for the first time since 1991, got 10 points each from juniors Makenzy Porter and Tayler Lyday.

CLASS 4A

Marshfield ended the game on a 10-3 run and beat Cascade 48-41 to win its first state title, 48-41, at Forest Grove High School.

With the game tied at 38-all, the Pirates got a 3-point shot by Hailey Browning and survived a 27-point outburst by Haile Wright, who also had 12 rebounds. Cascade made just 12 of 28 free throws in the game.

 

Grant wins epic final

The Generals claim the 6A title with last-second decision
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The Grant Generals lost three times to neighborhood rival Jefferson this season, but won the game that mattered most Saturday night.

After a pair of free throws by Ty Rankin game the No. 2 Generals a one-point lead with seven seconds left, top-ranked Jefferson managed a shot at the buzzer that hit the rim and bounced over the backboard sending Grant players and fans into a mad celebration with a 63-62 in the championship game of the Class 6A boys basketball tournament at the Chiles Center.

Grant got 22 points from Rankin, who like teammate Kelton Samore, played all 32 minutes.

"We talked about that before the game that it was okay to lose those three games as long as we won this one," Samore said afterward. "When that shot went up at the end, I just lost my breath until it went over the backboard. Then I just ran."

Jefferson trailed by as many as seven points in the second half, but rallied and was just that basket away from defending its title from last year. Kahlil Chatman scored a game-high 30 points, grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Democrats. Jefferson, though, made just eight of 14 free throws. Chatman, Robert Ford and Kamaka Hepa played all 32 for the Democrats.

CLASS 4A

Seaside made all four of its free throws in the final 45 seconds and beat Valley Catholic 48-44 to defend the state title it won last year at Forest Grove High School.

Chase Januk scored a game-high 17 points and dished out five assists to lead Seaside.

 

Benson heads to final

A last-second lay-up boost Techsters to 54-53 win over Beaverton
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - Benson junior Tayler Lyday drove the Techsters into the Class 6A girls basketball state final Friday afternoon, converting a lay-up with one second left to boost the Techsters past Beaverton 54-53 at the Chiles Center.

Lyday, a 6-foot-1 guard, scored 34 points, including the final two after dribbling the length of the court following Beaverton converting a free throw to take a one-point lead with 6.1 seconds left. Lyday took the inbounds pass and simply dribbled to the basket and make a right-handed lay-up setting off a frantic celebration by the nearby Benson bench.

Benson trailed by as many as 10 points in the second half, and 50-46 with 40 seconds left, but got a free throw, then a 3-point shot by junior Makenzy Porter to tie the score. Beaverton had a pair of free throws lined up for Sydney Erikstrup, but she missed the first. After making the second, the Beavers couldn't stop Lyday, who made 12-of-17 shots from the field, including all five of her second-half attempts.

The Techsters, who edged Tigard 32-28 in the quarterfinals, will play defending champion Southridge in the final at 3:15 p.m. Saturday.

Southridge, which beat West Linn 54-38 in its semifinal, is 27-1 and has won all 27 of its games by at least 15 points.

Benson is 23-5 and the first team from the Portland Interscholastic League to reach the title game since it played for the title in 1991. The PIL hasn't won a title since 1982.

 

 

Ah, the magic of skipping homework

COLUMN: Kids love tournaments because they get to be athletes
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

Homework came up a couple times in entertaining ways in basketball environs Thursday.

While chatting with Western Oregon senior Malik Morgan about the upcoming NCAA Div. II men's basketball regional, I asked him about the other three games set for today on the WOU campus, if he planned to attend any of those games. His senior-dominated team plays at 7:30 p.m., with the other games beginning at noon.

He answered as a committed student-athlete:

"That's one of the bad things about having the tournament in our gym," he said. "You still have to go to class, take tests, pay attention and all that."

In Corvallis, following Marist's comeback win over Silverton in the Class 5A semis, the Marist girls went directly to their fan section and got mobbed, something that hasn't happened to them this season, even though they've been at the top of the state all year and have lost just three times.

"It's nice to finally have some students at our games," junior Kayley Elliott said. "We've been getting great support since we got to the tournament."

But, not, she admitted, before the tournament.

Listening over my shoulder, a grandparent of one of the girls got in my ear.

"You know, we take homework very seriously at Marist," she said. "So the kids don't have all the time to go to basketball games."

They did Thursday, taking a bus from Eugene to Corvallis in the middle of the day as the game started at 1:30 p.m.

The prep state playoffs are an odd connection between teams and fans, and teams don't seem to mind because they get that tournament feel - a feel they might never get again.

High school playoffs, and even small colleges, would be much better served with a Final Four set-up, something the community college playoffs have now adopted instead of playing so many games in such a short time. At the NAIA national tournaments, teams, Eastern Oregon and Southern Oregon are in Iowa playing in their national tournament, have to sin five games - in five days for half the tournament, to win their national title.

For starters, at a tournament - both high school and small college, almost none of the games are played at the time from the regular season, when parents and students are most likely to be able to attend a game - that's 7 p.m. or later. Especially for the prep quarterfinals, it drastically reduces the level of team support available for virtually every team, especially ones that are even a moderate distance from the tournament.

And, with a quarterfinal loss, a team is headed for the consolation bracket, which features games that begin as early as 8 a.m. Nyssa, playing in the Class 3A tournament in Pendleton last weekend, lost it's quarterfinal at 1:30 p.m., then won its second game at 8 a.m. the following morning, and played in the fourth-place final - at 8 a.m. Saturday. The Bulldogs, who lost Satuday and finished 17-11 with a sixth-place trophy, played three games in three days and two started before the school day would have even started back home.

But, they probably loved it, because the games had "tournament" attached to them.

Quarterfinals played at home sites would attract much more attention and bigger crowds basically everywhere, and students would miss less class time, with a Final Four being a lot more vibrant as it would have several days of pre-game anticipation. And, it would be less expensive on the OSAA, which manages the tournaments and reimburses schools for travel and other expenses.

But, the schools and teams don't want it, said OSAA Executive Director Peter Weber.

"We look at it every few years, but the schools ... they really don't support it," he said at the Class 6A tournament Wednesday, acknowledging that a Final Four would be more financially attractive for the OSAA. "They really like the tournaments."

And, Clackamas senior Elly Bankofier said the game itself was the key part of the experience - the Cavaliers having lost to Southridge in the quarterfinals Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. They did have a couple dozen classmates in their student section, who were kept away from them until after they appeared from their lockerroom.

"I like that it was played on a neutral court," she said. "There probably would have been more people at a game at their gym, but I like the way it is with the tournament."

So, a Final Four would be much better for high schools, but the players involved don't want that because for at least one week they get to be athletes 100 percent of the time, and students on the way to making up homework sometime in the future.

 

Marist rallies to return to final

Class 5A heads to finals, PIL dominates 6A, Banks in 4A
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

CORVALLIS - Trailing 26-16 midway through the third quarter, top-ranked Marist started to finally hit shots and Spartans' defense dominated the game from there on the way to a 46-39 win over No. 5 Silverton in the semifinals of the Class 5A girls basketball tournament at Gill Coliseum.

Kayley Elliot led a balanced scoring attack with 10 points for Marist, which had six players score six or more points, and five players make at least two free throws.

The Spartans gave up 20 offensive rebounds, but Silverton turned those only into nine points. Maggie Roth led the Silver Foxes with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Marist had seven blocked shots.

Marist will play in its 10th state final, but last won in 1999. The Spartans lost in the qaurterfinals last year.

La Salle earned a return to the final with a 40-26 win over Bend, scoring 20 points off of just 11 turnovers. Emily Niebergall led the team with 11 points. La Salle beat Silverton in the final last year.

VIEW THURSDAY'S SCORES

THURSTON REACHES FIRST FINAL

The third-seeded Colts from Springfield will play for a state title for the first time, and get defending champion Wilsonville as their opponent.

Thurston beat Crater, which would have played in a final for the first time as well, 72-57, in its semifinal to avenge a pair of regular-season losses to the Comets.

Wilsonville beat Churchill 58-43 in a rematch of last year's title game.

Wilsonville beat Thurston, 55-40, in the opening round of the playoffs last season.

PIL DOMINATES 6A BOYS

Top-ranked Jefferson and No. 2 Grant both cruised through their quarterfinals Thursday, but Lincoln's upset of Southridge moved a third Portland Interscholastic League team into the Final Four for the first time.

And, upstart Barlow joined them with a 69-66 win over Tualatin - Jesse White scoring 27 points for the Bruins to counter 36 from Alexis Angeles.

Barlow qualified as the No. 29 team in the playoffs last year, and as No. 20 this season, needing two road wins just to reach the tournament. The Bruins last reached the semifinals in 1996, with their same coach - Tom Johnson - on the sideline.

SOUTHRIDGE MOVES FORWARD

Top-ranked and defending champion Southridge will play No. 4 West Linn in the semifinals at 1:30 p.m. today. No. 3 Beaverton and PIL champion Benson will play at 3:15.

West Linn will be looking to reach a final for the first time since 1985. Benson reached its only final in 1991 and is trying to win a title for the PIL for the first time since 1982. Beaverton coach Kathy Adelman Naro would be only the third woman to coach a team to a title with two more wins.

CLASS 4A

Banks and Valley Catholic both shuffled gyms Thursday with differing results - Banks won both boys and girls contests, while Valley Catholic split its games moving between Forest Grove High School and Pacific University in Forest Grove.

The Banks wins moved the school a step closer to a first title in either tournament. The boys play Valley Catholic in a Cowapa League rivalry that the teams split this season, while defending champion Seaside - also from the Cowapa League - plays Newport in the other final.

Banks plays top-seeded Marshfield in the girls semifinals, while Oregon West League rivals North Marion and Cascade play in the other semifinal.

 

 

 

 

Prep Scores Thursday

in
Class 6A, 5A, 4A basketball
Staff report

CLASS 6A

BOYS QUARTERFINALS

THURSDAY RESULTS

Jefferson 63, Jesuit 48

Barlow 69, Tualatin 66

Lincoln 39, Southridge 36

Grant 72, West Salem 57

TODAY'S SEMIFINALS

Jefferson vs. Barlow, 6:30 p.m.

Grant vs. Lincoln, 8:15 p.m.

CLASS 6A GIRLS

TODAY'S SEMIFINALS

Southridge vs. West Linn, 1:30 p.m.

Beaverton vs. Benson, 3:15 p.m.

 

CLASS 5A

THURSDAY SEMIFINAL RESULTS

GIRLS

Marist 46, Silverton 39

La Salle 40, Bend 26

BOYS

Wilsonville 58, Churchill 43

Thurston 71, Crater 57

TODAY'S CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES

GIRLS

Marist vs. La Salle, 3:15 p.m.

BOYS

Thurston vs. Wilsonville, 8:15 p.m.

 

CLASS 4A

THURSDAY QUARTERFINAL RESULTS

GIRLS

Marshfield 54, Valley Catholic 39

Banks 56, Baker 30

Cascade 22, Stayton 18

North Marion 40, Hidden Valley 26

BOYS

Banks 46, Sisters 38

Valley Catholic 62, La Grande 39

Newport 55, Marshfield 48

Seaside 51, Mazama 44

TODAY'S SEMIFINALS

GIRLS

Marshfield vs. Banks, 1:30 p.m.

Cascade vs. North Marion, 3:15 p.m.

BOYS

Banks vs. Valley Catholic, 6:30 p.m.

Seaside vs. Newport , 8:15 p.m.

 

Banks readies for historic run

both boys and girls teams are among strong favorites to win
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

When the results from this past weekend's Class 4A basketball playoffs were final, Banks athletic director Ben Buchanan got busy with planning. The Braves didn't need hotel space or a lengthy bus trip, but they looked in need of just a little efficiency in travel.

The Banks boys qualified into the first quarterfinal game of the day in their bracket, while the girls got the second game of their quarterfinals. That put one game finishing as the other was starting. Fortunately, the two gyms holding the 4A tournaments – Forest Grove High and Pacific University - are just a few miles apart. Even better, Forest Grove is just six miles from Banks. With both the boys and girls teams winning their league title – these are exciting times for the formerly sleepy town on the outskirts of Hillsboro.

“The two games aren't far apart, but we want to make sure we can get everyone from one gym to the other and not miss too much of the girls game,” Buchanan said. “Everyone here has a lot of energy to support both teams.”

Braves fans in and outside the school are hoping this is the season Banks becomes a basketball school by winning a state title. Maybe even both state titles.

The boys were unbeaten for most of the year, and is 23-2. Senior Dalton Renne, a 6-foot-6 forward, was voted Cowapa League Player of the Year, a solid feat as two other league teams, Seaside and Valley Catholic – schools that met in the state final last year - played into the tournament as well.

The girls team also fields a 23-2 record, and won the Cowapa League title led by junior Aspen Slifka, who was voted league co-Player of the Year.

The Banks girls have been setting the stage for success for much of the past decade, winning a trophy six times in the past seven seasons. But only once had the Braves won a quarterfinal game – 2012, until last year. Finally, the team got through the quarters, then the semis and was on the way to a title, leading three-time champion Sutherlin 34-16 in the third quarter. But, Sutherlin found its champion's mettle, and rallied to win 49-43.

This season, Sutherlin, which beat Banks in the quarterfinals in 2016, failed to reach the tournament, and Banks has has a year's worth of drive working its game.

“With how that game went last year, it's definitely been a motivator,” fifth-year coach Brandon Begley said. “We talked a lot about how we want to leave everything on court, and not have any regrets after a game.”

Slifka said this season started almost directly after last year's title game ended as she made the all-tournament first team and teammate Sydney Gregg, now a senior, made the second team.

The Banks boys were a bit of a tournament surprise, needing a road win to reach the final eight. But, the Cowapa League had prepped them for playoff success – half of the final eight teams were from the league. After a 72-70 loss to league rival Tillamook in the quarterfinals, the Braves won two games and finished with a fourth-place trophy – the program's first trophy. Ever.

Banks has been able to display two basketball trophies in its office the past year. This year, both teams have been almost unbeatable and have filled the school's gym game after game.

“The success we had late last year, the guys we had coming back and the early season success we had this season really helped grow our confidence,” third-year boys coach Marcus Roche said. “Getting a league title in the toughest league in the state, we definitely think we're in the mix.”

Renne, who said he's likely to play at a junior college next year, has teamed with 6-7 junior Blake Gobel to give the Braves a standout frontline, and the team has two other 6-5 players behind them.

Banks didn't give up more than 50 points until its 15th win, and didn't lose until game 21. In their playoff win over Madras, the Braves hit for 102 points.

Renne said the team has gotten used to being a target.

“Teams circle us on their schedule,” he said. “It's fun to be that team. We get everyone's best.”

The basketball teams have been getting everyone's best from the community, too, with strong support at both home and away games. Renne and Slifka said they expect a very large turnout for Thursday's games.

“I haven't have anyone say they're just going to skip the whole day,” Slifka said. “But, who knows.”

 

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