Prep

Westview continues cheer celebration run

South Albany, Santiam Christian also repeat on busy day
By Cliff Pfenning

Westview's team captains brought out their arsenal of personal hardware Saturday upon celebrating the team's fourth-straight state title at Memorial Coliseum.

Only, this one was a bit different in that it came in a coed division.

With the addition of junior Ashton White, the Wildcats moved to coed for the first time from the Class 6A division they'd won seven times since 2007 - including the past three.

By performing a near flawless routine, Westview easily won the Coed Small Division as a highlight of the day's results.

Also repeating as champion were South Albany at Class 5A and Santiam Christian at Class 3A. South Albany won for the fifth consecutive year, while Santiam Christian won its second title.

In other divisions, Gladstone won its second Class 4A title in four years, Newberg returned to the title ranks at Class 6A, and Tualatin tied Westview for the highest score on the day to easily win the Coed Large Division.

Moving to the Coed Small Division got Westview out of the most fierce division annually, something that repeated on Saturday as the top two teams were within 0.5 points of each other. Last year, Westview by less than a point over two other teams.

The 6A division again featured the scarcest margin of victory, as Newberg, which placed second to Westview at 6A last year edged David Douglas by 0.3 points. The result was unique in that David Douglas moved from Coed Small this year after winning that division last year.

As close as Westview's win was, Santiam Christian won by even less of a margin - beating Delphian by 0.1 points, and Rainier by 0.8 points. Rainier had the title won, but was assessed a 4-point penalty.

WINNERS

COED LARGE - Tualatin

COED SMALL - Westview

CLASS 6A - Newberg

CLASS 5A - South Albany

CLASS 4A - Gladstone

CLASS 3A - Santiam Christian

 

La Grande eyes 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.

 

 

State readies for cheerleading finals

Westview's goal tops championship changes
By Cliff Pfenning

The beginning of the OSAA Winter schedule of state finals begins Saturday with the Cheerleading Championships, which annually provide some of the most suspenseful results in any state final.

But, one result will be unique in the line-up of teams involved as state power Westview goes after its first coed title. The Wildcats have won five titles in the past 10 years, and finishes second twice, but all have come in the Class 6A division. It's never competed in the coed division.

Fielding a line-up stocked with seniors, Westview will take on perrenial runners-up The Dalles, which has finished second three times in the past four years, including last year in the Coed Small division. 

The Coed Small division does not, though, include defending champion David Douglas, which is moving to the Class 6A division Westview won last year by the thinnest of margins - 0.4 points over Newberg and 0.5 points over Lake Oswego. Both Newberg and Lake Oswego return to 6A. That snapped a string of six straight championship seasons for the Tigers. 

Thurston returns to defend its title in the Coed Large division, while South Albany (5A), Newport (4A) and Santiam Christian (3A) also return.

One side note for the finals involves the Portland Interscholastic League in that it won't be involved. Wilson, Lincoln and even Cleveland have competed in past seasons, with Wilson winning a title most recently as 2014. But, this year none of the schools have registered for the finals.

2019 CHAMPIONS

6A - Westview

5A - South Albany

4A - Newport

3A - Santiam Christian

COED LARGE - Thurston

COED SMALL - David Douglas

 

Demos pass key PIL test

Jefferson edges Grant 53-48 in tense battle
By Cliff Pfenning

PORTLAND - Third-ranked Jefferson got an early start to the playoffs in what it hopes will be a state-title run Friday in a 53-48 victory over rival Grant in a PIL boys basketball game at Jefferson.

Grant's strategy involved slowing the game down significantly and that nearly turned into a significant upset, although the Demos were able to survive and remain unbeaten in league play, and extend their win streak to nine games.

Jefferson got 21 points from sophomore Lamar Washington and 16 points from junior Kamron Robinson in the win, but it wasn't a typical league victory. The Demos, state runners-up the past two season, were held to their lowest total in nine leage wins, and led by just three points with five minutes remaining. They stretched the lead to seven several times, but Grant, which got a teram-high 14 points from senior Emanuel Steward, kept forcing turnovers and remained a threat to tie or win into the closing seconds, missing several three-point shots.

"That's the strategy we'll probably see throughout the playoffs," Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said. "We just need to get together and start playing playoff basketball right now."

Jefferson improved to 14-4 overall, 9-0 in PIL games. Grant, which beat Jefferson in the 2018 state final, dropped to 11-7, 7-2 with both of its league losses to Jefferson.

The Democrats lost the title game to Jesuit last season, and the Crusaders remained No. 1 in the state with a 46-44 win over Beaverton Friday. Jefferson actually moved to No. 2 with the win Friday.

The Demos play host to Wilson Tuesday, while Grant, which dropped one spot to No. 12 with the loss, plays host to Benson the same night. 

Only Jefferson and Grant are among the top 32 ranked teams in the state.

The Generals had scored at least 61 points in their seven league wins, but ran a very deliberate offense and trailed just 12-11 at the end of one quarter and just 25-23 at halftime. Jefferson stretched the lead to 46-36 after three quarters, but a 7-0 run to start the fourth cut that deficit to just three with 5:15 remaining. Jefferson's size, led by Robinson at 6-foot-9, Washington at 6-4 and freshman Marquis Cook at 6-9, collected several offensive rebounds and they were able to get a dunk, a rebound basket and three free throws to round out its scoring.

Jefferson heads toward the post season without a senior on its roster, something Cook said might play to their benefit.

"Without a senior, people might be looking at us as not having enough experience to win," he said. "But, we've got three guys who were on last year's team, and we've all been playing club ball for years, so we think we're going to be ready for the playoffs.

 

 

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.

 

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