high school basketball

College, prep hoop get down to business

Brackets are in action across the state, West Coast
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

It's time for a whole lot of seasons to end for high school and college basketball teams.

Lots of hugs. A team meeting, and some speeches - an annual right of passage as playoffs and tournaments are in full swing across Oregon and the West Coast.

Class 3A, 2A and 1A state tournaments begin for girls teams today, with boys basketball tournaments beginning tomorrow at the same classifications in Coos Bay, Hermiston and Baker City.

Playoff brackets for girls and boys teams at the Class 6A, 5A and 4A levels began Tuesday night with those tournament set to start next week.

At the college level, there's significant action as well - in Las Vegas, where both the Pac-12 and West Coast Conference tournaments are set to play out beginning Thursday.


In the Pac-12 women's tourney, Oregon State, ranked 14th, begins play on Thursday after finishing fifth in the highly competitive conference, which has five teams in the Top 14 of the final national rankings. The Beavers play Washington State in the first round.

No. 3 Oregon plays its game in the quarterfinals against one of Thursday's winners on Friday. 

In the WCC tourney, the University of Portland women's team doesn't play its first game until Saturday with its opponent still to be determined with games starting Thursday.

UP's men's team plays Santa Clara in the opening round Thursday.

The Pac-12 men's tournament is set for next week.

At the Div. II level, Western Oregon begins play in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference men's tournament in Seattle on Thursday against the University of Alaska.

At the Div. III level, the Northwest Conference played its tournaments over the weekend and George Fox of Newberg won the women's tournament for the third consecutive year on Saturday. The Foxes will play Montclair State Friday in the first round of the 64-team national tournament in Arlington, Va.


In the Div. II Cascade Conference, both Northest Christian of Eugene and Southern Oregon played their way into the national tournament Tuesday. NCU won the tournament for the first time and SOU earned its spot by reaching the title game.

Oregon Tech reached the title game of the men's tournament, but Southern Oregon, which finished second during the regular season is automatically qualified for the national tournament despite losing in semifinals.


In the newly-renamed Northwest Athletic Conference, the 16-team men's and women's tournaments begin on Thursday in Everett, Wash. The women's tournament includes unbeaten Umpqua, Lane, Clackamas and Mt. Hood all in action, with winners playing Friday in the second round. Umpqua has finished second the past two seasons.

On the men's side, Clackamas, Umpqua, Portland and Chemeketa begin on Saturday with winners reaching the quarterfinals Sunday. Both tournaments close out the following weekend.







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.


Oregon women duel with UCLA

4CAST: Ducks, Timbers, Damian, High School Hoops
Staff report

The Oregon Ducks will look to hold onto their spot atop the Pacific 12 Conference and move up in the national rankings tonight when they play host to the UCLA Bruins at Matthew Knight Arena.

Oregon enters ranked No. 9, while UCLA is No. 7 for the time, having lost to Oregon State Friday night.

ESPNU will be on hand to televise the game.

One key note in the game is Oregon's Ruthie Hebard, who has made her last 30 field-goal attempts to set an all-time NCAA record.

The Ducks are


The Timbers dropped a 2-1 decision to FC Dallas Saturday, but kept its drive to the regular season on track by playing many of its predicted starters for most of the game. Forward Fanendo Adi and midfielder Diego Valeri were among the group that played 80 or more minutes.

Newcomer Samuel Armenteros, who joined the club last week, scored for Portland. Former Timbers forward Maximiliano Urruti scored both goals for Dallas.

Portland plays the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday. The regular season begins March 3 in Los Angeles.


Damian Lillard, representing the Portland Trail Blazers for the third time at the All-Star Game, scored a team-high 21 points in 21 minutes, but Team Steph lost 148-145 to Team LeBron at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Liillard made 9 of 14 shots from the field and grabbed three rebounds. All five of his misses were from beyond the three-point line.

Portland (32-26) returns to action with a game Friday at Utah (30-28), and Saturday at Phoenix (18-41). The Blazers are currently tied with Denver for the sixth spot in the Western Conference, just a half-game behind No. 5 Oklahoma City, and one game ahead of the No. 9 Los Angeles Clippers.


The smaller schools across the state begin their playoffs Wedensday when the Class 1A boys and girls play the first of two rounds of games 16 teams playing elimination games. The eight winners of Wednesday's games will be paired with a league champion for the eight-team tournament play-in round Saturday with seeding among the 16 teams taking place at that time.

The Class 3A and 2A teams have a one-game play-in round Saturday having reached the end of their regular season this past weekend.

At CLASS 3A, De La Salle North Catholic of Portland is seeded No. 1 in the boys bracket, while Salem Academy is seeded No. 1 in the girls bracket.

AT CLASS 2A, Western Mennonite is seeded No. 1 in the boys bracket with Kennedy seeded No. 1 among the girls.




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.




Jesuit/LO meet again; Mac's night?

TUESDAY, JAN 8 The Crusaders and Lakers met in state and LSI Finals
Jan. 8, 2013

Lake Oswego and Jesuit are getting pretty familiar with themselves on a high school basketball court.

After meeting in the Class 6A boys state final in March, the teams met in the Les Schwab Invitational in December, with each team winning once. Jesuit won the bigger of the two games - it's fourth-straight state final, but LO showed it's more than capable of ending that run with a victory in the LSI, Dec. 29.

Tonight, they meet at Jesuit in a highlight event of the day, beginning at 7 p.m.

The Winterhawks look to extend their current win streak to 11 straight and get goaltender Mac Carruth his 106th victory for the team, which would establish a franchise record. The Hawks (33-5-1-0, 67 points) play Prince George (12-22-1-4, 29 points) at Memorial Coliseum at 7 p.m.

Early in the day, the Portland Timbers will introduce their new head coach, Caleb Porter, to the media today. Porter comes to the team from the University of Akron, where he coached team standout Darlington Nagbe.

And, Springfield and Willamette meet in Class 5A girls basketball in a rematch of the state title game last year, which the Millers won. The teams met at the Nike Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego, with the Wolverines winning that game.



Club Volleyball gets underway with regional qualifiers


Lake Oswego beats Central Catholic in boys basketball



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