• For preps, now is the time to show hunger for state playoffs, titles
The prep basketball season heads into the final week of district play for girls teams this week, and that means playoff-type pressure for those fighting to finish in the top four within their league or conference.
In the Portland Interscholastic League, that's Benson and Franklin, which play each other Thursday at Benson in what could be a duel for fourth place.
Benson (11-5 PIL) is a game ahead of Franklin (10-6) entering today's contest at Grant (14-2). Franklin won its first game with Benson, 68-58, but the Lady Techsters are 7-1 since then, including a victory over Jefferson (14-2), which is still in position to win the league title.
Lincoln (14-2) plays host to Grant on Thursday as well.
In the Metro League, Beaverton (10-6 Metro) plays a must-win game at Glencoe (11-5) tonight. If the Beavers win, they will likely finish fourth. Glencoe still has a game against Southridge (16-0) on Friday.
Silverton can wrap up the No. 4 spot in the Pacific 9 Conference if it can beat Canby and Woodburn this week. Those teams have won a combined three games between them.
In the Three Rivers League, three-time defending state champion Oregon City and Lake Oswego, which are tied atop the league standings, meet Thursday to determine the district's top seed. Lake Oswego won the first meeting between the teams.
David Douglas junior Na'Tasha Umemoto became only the second girl in Oregon to qualify for the state wrestling tournament when she finished third in the Mount Hood Conference tournament at 119 pounds, but her family struggled to celebrate because of what happened at the Pacific- 9 Conference tournament in McMinnville.
Tualatin senior Samantha Lang, a club teammate and close friend of Umemoto's, was disqualified from the Pac-9 tourney on the second day because of a technicality during the weigh-in. Lang, according to her club team coach Bobo Umemoto, was disqualified for missing the weigh-in, despite being just yards away from where the weigh-in was taking place.
'The entire Woodburn team wasn't even there for the start of the weigh-in because their bus was late, but they were allowed to weigh in,' Umemoto said. 'It's terribly unfair.'
Lang lost a close match on Friday but then won two consolation matches and was in position to finish third and reach the state tournament at 160 pounds. Her disqualification halted that.
The OSAA state tournament is set to begin Thursday at Memorial Coliseum.
Umemoto said he planned to hire a lawyer today and seek some recourse on Lang's behalf. He hoped to have her added to the state tournament bracket.
'It's unfortunate, but it's going to have to be some sort of gender complaint,' Umemoto said.
Lang said she expects her season is over.
'I don't think anything will happen,' she said. 'It's really unfair.'
In the PIL, Benson wasn't overpowering, but the Techmen won when it counted.
Benson, the league's dual meet champion at 9-0, rallied Saturday from a third-place standing after the first day of the meet at Benson to win the district title for the first time in five years. The Techmen had seven finalists and three individual champions and will head to the Class 4A state meet this week with 10 entrants.
'It was a team effort,' Benson coach Mike Mechling says. 'The guys did a great job of getting to the semifinals and then doing well when they got there.'
Cleveland, which finished third, will take eight wrestlers to state. Second-place Grant has seven entrants.
Of the district's 10 schools, nine had at least one individual champion from among the 14 weight classes.
Three wrestlers won titles for the second consecutive year: junior Andy Jackson of Madison (145 pounds), senior Brock Luedtke of Cleveland (152) and senior Sean Murphy of Wilson (189).
Three individuals won PIL titles despite not being one of the top four seeds at their weight: sophomore Peter Herbert of Benson (103), junior Ben King of Franklin (140) and junior Paul Miles of Grant (160).
Wrestlers who were seeded No. 1 at their weight won 10 of the 14 weights.
Reynolds senior Caitlyn Shortt was poised to have a breakthrough weekend at the USA Swimming short-course nationals in Orlando, Fla., last week, but it didn't happen.
Shortt, a two-event winner in the high school state meet last winter, finished only as high as 45th in one event. She swam in three other events and was 57th, 70th and 72nd in preliminary races.
'It wasn't a good meet for me,' Shortt said. 'But, that's how things go sometimes.'
Barlow senior Felecia Castaneda turned in the best result by an Oregon swimmer, placing 11th in the preliminaries for the 100-meter breast stroke. She finished sixth in the B Final, scoring three points for the Mt. Hood Swim Team. Castaneda's time, one minute and 11.60 seconds, was good enough to earn her a spot in the U.S. Olympic Trials later this summer.
Jessica Embick of Grant High finished 51st in the 100 breast stroke.
Senior Jake Salaz of Barlow was among the top 24 finishers in both the 100 and 200 breast stroke events.
Shortt is still a leading contender to repeat as the state champion in the 200 individual medley and 100 backstroke this weekend when the Class 4A meet is held in Corvallis.