Versatility marks queens of the court
Tribune All-City girls players excel anywhere on court
The Tribune's All-City girls basketball team for 2004 might not be stacked with tall players, but it would be among the most athletic teams in the state were it to take to the court.
On the Trib's five-member team are guards Brittney Davis and Simone Jordan of Jefferson, Lauren Greif of Lincoln, Toya Hill of Grant and 6-2 forward Hannah Oken-Berg of Lincoln.
But the positions are misleading because all of the guards are capable of playing as forwards Ñ blocking shots or grabbing rebounds Ñ and then casually slipping back into guard mode, gliding upcourt for a layup.
'I think we'd be a pretty good team if we played together,' Hill says. 'We would do pretty well against other all-league teams. I think that would be a tournament we could win.'
Hill says the best thing about being named All-City is the recognition.
'It's fun to be on the All-City team,' she says, 'because that says you're one of the best in the league.'
Three members of this year's team are repeat selections: Davis, Greif and Oken-Berg.
Davis, voted player of the year by coaches in the Portland Interscholastic League, has been a member of the All-City team since her freshman year. This season, she helped the Democrats make the state tournament, a thrilling feat for her because Jefferson had played within one game of the tourney the past three years.
Davis, who averaged 20.1 points and seven rebounds this season, is headed to the University of Minnesota, which garnered a No. 7 seed in the NCAA tournament that began Thursday.
Greif, who helped Lincoln reach the Class 4A state soccer final in November, and Oken-Berg led the Cardinals to within one game of the state tournament for the second straight year. The two girls, who also play together on a summer league team, combined to score nearly 37 points per game.
Greif is also one of the district's top golfers. Oken-Berg is dabbling with the long jump and triple jump for the Lincoln track and field team.
Hill averaged 19 points per game, leading the Generals to within one game of a share of the PIL title.
Hill, who played at St. Mary's as a freshman, sat out the past two seasons but returned to the court this winter with Grant, filling a hole left when Cicely Oaks, an All-City player last year, graduated and moved on to the University of Oregon.
Hill hopes her career will continue at either a Big Sky or even a Pacific-10 Conference school.
Jordan averaged just 11.6 points per game this season but pulled down seven rebounds per game. The Demos' quarterfinal game against Sheldon at the state tournament was a good showcase of Davis and Jordan's skills. The duo scored all of the Demos' 26 first-half points.
'That game was a lot of fun,' Davis says. 'It was a bigger court, and I got to let loose. Hopefully it'll be like that at Minnesota.'
The Davis-Jordan connection came in handy for Jeff numerous times. Frequently one would find the other one cutting toward the basket for a layup.
'We'll try things with each other on the court that we wouldn't try with other players,' Davis says. 'We just have a connection.'
'Usually, we can communicate that kind of play with just a look,' Jordan says. 'We've played on teams together for so long, we can do that.'
Jordan's role on the team was largely to support Davis, which Jefferson coaches encouraged so that Jordan wouldn't feel too much pressure. But that's likely to change next season.
Jeff assistant coach Eric Mashia, whose daughter Erica was a former state player of the year and played in college at Southern Cal, says Jordan has the potential to rival his daughter's prep career, something Greif is on a path toward, too.
'She's got that kind of game,' Mashia says of Jordan. 'It's just waiting to come out in the next couple years.'