Prep

Oregon teams again dream of tourney title

Les Schwab Invitational brings another national field to Hillsboro
Staff report

The state’s Class 6A rankings for boys basketball should become much more organized next week following the annual Les Schwab Invitational, set for Dec. 27-20 at Liberty High in Hillsboro.

Among the 16 teams are third-ranked Oregon City, No. 4 Southridge, No. 5 Lake Oswego and defending champion Jefferson. The elite field also includes national powers Oak Hill Academy from Virginia, and Mater Dei from Santa Ana, Calif.

Since the tournament moved to Liberty High in 2004, an Oregon team has won just once - 2012 when Lake Oswego beat Jesuit in the final.

This year’s field:

Barlow Bruins
Beaverton Beavers
Clackamas Cavaliers
Grant Generals
Jefferson Democrats
Jesuit Crusaders
Lakeridge Pacers
Lake Oswego Lakers
Oregon City Pioneers
Southridge Skyhawks
South Eugene Axemen
West Linn Lions
West Salem Titans
Crespi Celts, Encino, Calif.
Mater Dei Monarchs, Santa Ana, Calif.
Oak Hill Academy Warriors, Mouth of Wilson, Va.

Benson, PIL begin quest for respect

Lady Techsters, Grant highlight holiday tournament
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

A standout cast of teams makes the inaugural PIL Holiday Classic one to focus on for girls basketball fans this week. And, maybe many years to come.

No. 3 South Medford, No. 5 Tigard, No. 6 Benson, No. 8 Sheldon and a pair of standout teams from Washington are among the eight-team field in the tournament, which begins Thursday at Franklin High School. Grant, which reached the Class 6A tournament semifinals last season, and Forest Grove are also scheduled to appear.

The tournament kicks off at 1:30 p.m. in the newly finished gymnasium, with games following at 3:15, 5:30 and 7:15.

A JV tournament will also be played during the three days, with games at the Marshall High campus.

The tournament is a huge test for Benson, which heads to an invitational tournament in Washington, D.C., the following week, and the largely overlooked PIL.

Benson next suits up Dec. 21 against No. 7 South Medford in the first round of the eight-team PIL Invitational at Franklin High School. The tournament has three other top-10 teams scheduled to play.

Following the three-day tournament, the Lady Techsters head to Washington, D.C., for an eight-team invitational, Dec. 28-30.

A team from the PIL won the state title three times in the first seven state tournaments, but last won in 1982. A team from the PIL - Benson - last played for the state title in 1991.

Grant reached the Class 6A semifinals last season before losing 36-34 to eventual champion Southridge, and finishing with the fifth-place trophy.

Benson reached the state playoffs last season but lost in the first round.

Lincoln, at No. 11, is the next-highest ranked team in the PIL so far this season, according to rankings compiled by the OSAA, with Grant at No. 20.

Forest Grove is No. 22.

Camas, and Kentridge, Wash., are scheduled to appear as well.

THURSDAY GAMES

Grant vs. Sheldon, 1:30 p.m.

Camas, Wash., vs. Tigard, 3:15 p.m.

South Medford vs. Benson, 5:15 p.m.

Kentridge, Wash., vs. Forest Grove, 7 p.m.

 

BENSON ROLLS IN OPENER

Dec. 13, 2017

After a solid, 17-point win over Jesuit in its opener, the Benson girls figured to beat neighborhood rival Jefferson easily, and it did, 77-29.

But, coach Eric Knox still had starters and fullcourt pressure on the floor for this second-ranked squad into the closing seconds ... and expectations, too.

With two minutes left, 6-foot sophomore forward Aujae Yoakum managed a steal at midcourt, and dribbled to the basket directly in front of Knox, who settled back into his chair and talked to her.

“All right, show me something,” said Knox, who played under legendary coach Ralph Miller at Oregon State in the golden days of the 1980s.

Yoakum showed him a fullspeed brick while being chased down from the side by a Jefferson defender.

Knox smiled off that line of dialogue following the game.

“We talked before the game about how to deal with our own, personal resistance,” Knox said of the game, which stood at 23-2 after the first quarter of the Portland Interscholastic League opener for both teams. “I’m trying to get the girls to shift into a different gear and experiment, get them to do something different.

“This season is very early, and the up-side for these kids is scary.”

Benson finished with four players in double figures for points, and is already in the habit of recording rebounds, assists, steals and blocks on the main scorebook for its girls, who feature just one senior.

Junior guard Makenzy Porter led the Lady Techsters with 18 points, while juniors Imani Harris, Tayler Lyday and Ciera Ellington finished with 17, 15 and 10 points, respectively.

Harris also had six rebounds, Lyday had seven assist, five steals and three rebounds, and Ellington had five rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals before leaving in the third quarter with a hamstring strain - and those were “soft” numbers tallied by the team’s very busy scorekeeper.

Knox’s idea of different could easily be called regular action for boys teams. During the game, the Lady Techsters twice ran an alley-oop, just without the dunk. But, it’s a rarely seen play in girls games. The team’s pressure defense turned into steals and lay-ups routinely, but also routinely turned into uncontested lay-ups for the Democrats (although they missed many more than they made).

Junior guard Fara Kelly led Jefferson, which dropped to 2-3, with 14 points.

Lyday, who stands 6-1, is already a target for Div. I college programs, and is likely to be a candidate for Oregon Player of the Year.

 

Benson next suits up Dec. 21 against No. 7 South Medford in the first round of the eight-team PIL Invitational at Franklin High School. The tournament has three other top-10 teams scheduled to play.

Following the three-day tournament, the Lady Techsters head to Washington, D.C., for an eight-team invitational, Dec. 28-30.

Benson, which reached the state playoffs last season but lost in the first round, has played for the state title just once - losing to Lakeridge in 1991. That’s also the last time a team from the PIL played for the state title.

A team from the PIL won the state title three times in the first seven state tournaments, but last won in 1982.

Grant reached the Class 6A semifinals last season before losing 36-34 to eventual champion Southridge, and finishing with the fifth-place trophy.

Lincoln, at No. 21, is the next-highest ranked team in the PIL so far this season.

Clackamas wins wild final

A late field goal earns Cavaliers 31-30 win over South Medford
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

CORVALLIS - Clackamas closed out an undefeated season with the most memorable of wins - a late field goal earning the Cavaliers their first state title.

Jeffrey Nelson nailed a 37-yard field goal with three seconds remaining for the final points of a wild game that included several key emotional swings in the final four minutes.

Trailing 30-28, Clackamas failed on a fourth-down play at the South Medford 41 with 4:02 left in the game. then failed to stop the Panthers on their fourth-down attempt from midfield - the Panthers earning a first down by just inches with two minutes remaining. Needing a dramatic turn of events, the Cavaliers forced a fumble just seconds later and started the game-winning drive on its 21 with 1:39 left.

Amazingly, the Cavs were able to run 10 plays to reach the South Medford 20, setting Nelson up for the winning score.

Clackamas, which reached the semifinals last season, got 160 yards and three touchdowns rushing from James Millspaugh, and 230 yards and a scoring pass from Mitchell Modjeski

South Medford, playing in its first title game, got three touchdown passes from quarterback Robbie Patterson, who also ran for a score.

6A FOOTBALL BLOG

 

 

Mud doesn't stop national champions

The Nike Cross Nationals highlight strong fields
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

PORTLAND - The rain and mud at Glendoveer Golf Course made the conditions for the 5,000-meter course one of significant challenge, but only heightened the memories for Aiden Troutner and Katelyn Tuohy Saturday.

Troutner pulled away late for a win in the boys race, while Touhy dominated the girls race from the start to highlight the annual Nike Cross Nationals.

Troutner, who finished in 15:03, won by two seconds and became the third consecutive winner from Utah.

Tuohy, from New York, set a course record of 16:45, breaking the previous mark by 11 seconds.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Cardinals move PIL forward

Football playoffs begin with few upsets statewide

The OSAA football playoffs got underway Friday with the usual slew of big scores from heavy favorites, one near major upset, and one score that reminded fans statewide that basketball season is less than a month away.

Teams that played host to games Friday went 34-8, although top-seeded Mountain View essentially survived it's game with Milwaukie, winning 3-0. The Cougars improved to 10-0 on the season, but won for the second consecutive game by just three points. Milwaukie, which lost to second-seeded Wilsonville 49-0 two weeks ago, closed out its season at 5-4. Wilsonville beat Bend 41-21 in its first-round game.

Of the home teams that lost, none were seeded lower than fifth, and three were in the Class 3A ranks.

The noteworthy score happened in Oregon City, where the host Pioneers beat visiting Sunset, 75-72, to advance to a second-round game at second-seeded Clackamas, which beat Willamette of Eugene 53-0.

Portland Interscholastic League champion Lincoln broke free from a 7-3 lead at halftime with four touchdowns in the third quarter and held off Lakeridge, 49-38, and Grant beat McMinnville, 47-13, to earn the district two representatives in the second round.

 

 

State playoffs gear up

Championship finals begin Saturday
By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports.com

The high school state playoffs began this past weekend in several sports, but the big events - the state finals - begin Saturday.

The annual cross country finals are set to begin at 10 a.m. on the 5,000 meter course at Lane Community College Saturday, with individual and team titles being awarded in four classifications.

Titles in boys and girls soccer, volleyball and football will also be awarded by the Oregon School Activities Association during the next five weeks.

Championship tournaments for boys and girls water polo are set for the Osborn Aquatic Center on the campus of Oregon State University Thursday through Saturday at Class 5A, and Nov. 10-11 for Class 6A. Water polo is organized outside the OSAA.

Newberg has a three-year win streak going at the Class 6A boys tournament, while Mountain View has won the past two Class 5A boys titles in water polo.

Central Catholic enters the cross country championships as the favorite to not only win the Class 6A boys title, but continue its four-year win streak long into the future. The Rams won the Mount Hood Conference title Wednesday scoring the minimum 15 points - and with the top eight finishers. None of Central Catholic's top eight finishers were seniors. The Rams have won 10 titles since winning their first in 2003.

Summit will look to return to ownership of the Class 6A boys level after having its five-year win streak snapped by Crater last year. The Storm will run into Central Catholic next year, though, as the school moves up to the Class 6A level.

Volleyball championships will play out this weekend as well, with eight-team tournaments set to begin Friday at three courts across the state. Liberty High School in Hillsboro will host the Class 6A and 5A tournaments, with title matches set for Saturday night. Forest Grove High School will play host to the Class 4A and 3A tournaments, while Ridgeview High School in Redmond will play host to the Class 2A and 1A tournaments.

Country Christian of Molalla has the lone volleyball title win streak having won the past three titles at Class 1A.

Sisters and Crook Country, schools that played for the Class 4A title last year, met in the quarterfinals Friday morning with the defending-champion Outlaws winning in three sets.

Boys and girls soccer state title matches in all six classifications will be played Nov. 11 at Liberty High and Hillsboro Stadium. Oregon Episcopal has the lone soccer win streak having won the past three Class 3A girls titles. Of the eight championship matches from last year, three were decided by penalty kicks and only one was decided by more than one goal - Catlin Gabel's 3-1 win over Portland Adventist in the Class 3A boys final.

The state football championship games are scheduled for Nov. 25th and Dec. 2.

Clackamas and West Salem enter the Class 6A playoffs as two of the more interesting teams stemming from their histories: neither has been to a championship game. Clackamas has gone undefeated this season, averaging 53 points per game and earning the second seed in the 32-team tournament. West Salem enters with one loss and the fourth seed. A team from the Salem area has not played for the title since McNary won in 2001.

Since 2008, no team has won the Class 6A title with more than one loss on their schedule. There are seven teams this year with one or no losses heading into Friday.

Only Dufur has a title win-streak going having won the past two Class 1A championships.

 

 

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.

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