Wilson's boys basketball team will be sporting a stellar tan and plenty of confidence as prep sports get back to league play this week.
Wilson went 3-0 on its December trip to Maui and is -6-2 overall, 1-1 in the Portland Interscholastic League heading into a game at Roosevelt (7-1, -2-0) scheduled for tonight.
'We've been flying under the radar for the first part of the season,' says Wilson senior forward Cody Aker. 'But we think we can be one of the top four teams in our league and make the playoffs. We think we're good enough to be higher than fourth, too.'
Wilson's players got to know one another better on their trip. Aker says that was the key element.
'People are moving well on the court, and we're hitting each other with good passes and making a lot of layups,' he says. 'We went snorkeling one day on the trip. There were some tourists there, and they commented on how well we worked together.
'They said they thought we were good teammates.'
More boys hoops
With most teams having played the first third of their schedule in December, Grant, Jefferson and Lincoln clearly look like the favorites in the PIL. Jeff and Grant will play in the MLK Holiday Invitational on Jan. 17. The event has been moved from Jefferson to the Chiles Center at the University of Portland.
In the Metro League, top-ranked Jesuit (7-0) is the distinct favorite, although the standings are headed for a potentially dramatic weekly shuffling. Hillsboro, which reached the state title game last year and returns key guard James Loe, started 5-4 and is 0-2 in league play. Aloha, another playoff contender, also started 0-2 in league games.
Barlow, Central Catholic and David Douglas appear to be the top teams in the Mount Hood Conference, with Silverton, McMinnville, Canby and Tualatin ready to battle for the Pac-9 title.
The Three Rivers League features Lake Oswego and its star underclassmen, who reached the championship game of the Les Schwab Invitational. Lakeridge and Putnam are probably contenders for the league title, too. All nine teams in the league have winning overall records.
Oregon City has done little in the first five weeks of the season to deter the idea that every other team in the state is playing for second place. The Pioneers have lost only to the nation's top-ranked team, Bishop McNamara of Maryland, and are 8-1 entering this week. Kristen Forristall and Jessica Richter lead the Pioneers.
Lake Oswego and Lakeridge remain as annual contenders for the Three Rivers League title, but a victory over Oregon City would be a huge upset.
In the PIL, Jefferson has already beaten two of the three second-place teams Ñ Franklin, Grant and Lincoln Ñ and is the clear title favorite. Franklin plays host to Lincoln tonight and plays at Jefferson on Friday.
In the Metro, Jesuit, Southridge and Glencoe are at the top. Jesuit defeated Southridge in the final of the 32-team Lake Oswego tournament, and the Crusaders have lost only to Lake Oswego.
Central Catholic, St. Mary's and Sandy all won their first four Mount Hood games and appear to be the teams to beat in that league.
In the Pac-9, McMinnville, Silverton and Tigard are the premier teams.
Cleveland is the lone PIL team headed for the Oregon Classic on Friday and Saturday in Redmond. The event is something of a dual-meet championship for the state in that each team advances in a 32-team bracket. Usually, tournaments are run with individuals advancing at their weight.
Cleveland's top wrestler, senior Brett Christy-Hamilton, has wrestled just once this year because of injury. Senior Brock Luedtke is 14-1 heading into the Classic. Senior Anthony Clymens is 12-3.
Benson junior Bubba Vanegdom, a returning league champion at 140 pounds, is 9-0 as the Techmen prepare for a key league dual match at Madison on Wednesday. Senior Josh Keene and junior Tommy Walton are 8-1.