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Wyffels steps up as Rams take 4th

• On the way to a trophy, Central Catholic senior breaks unusual record

Central Catholic's Vanessa Wyffels wanted to make up for a subpar performance in the OSAA/U.S. Bank Class 4A girls basketball state tournament last year with a strong one this year. She more than accomplished the task.

Wyffels led the Rams to three wins in four games and the fourth-place trophy, and she landed on the all-tournament first team with a record-setting performance.

The 5-10 senior made 11 of 11 field-goal attempts in a win Friday over Hermiston. That put her into the tourney record book for the most field-goal attempts without a miss (the old record, set in 1989, was 10).

Wyffels said she had a feeling about the record after the Rams' 69-53 win.

'When I came off the court at the end of the game, I saw a friend and said to her, 'I don't mean to sound conceited, but did I miss a shot?' ' Wyffels said. 'What's neat about that record is, it's not one that people usually break.'

For the tournament, Wyffels made 28 of 43 from the field (.651), which flirted with the tournament record, .730 (46 of 63), set by Marshall's Jennifer Freeman in 1982.

Wyffels scored 70 points in four games and also had 13 steals. Last year, she scored 32 points and had one steal in three games.

Rams coach Sandy Dickerson said she was happy with her team's play at the Chiles Center.

'Our seniors helped take the program a long way,' she said. 'I'm happy they got to win a trophy.'

Central Catholic, the fourth seed, beat second-seeded Crater 60-55 in the fourth-place game Saturday. It was the Rams' second win over the Comets this season.

FINALS CRUSADE: Jesuit lost to Oregon City for the fourth time in the semifinals Friday night. The Crusaders rebounded to beat Metro League rival Glencoe 55-43 in the third-place game Saturday. The third-place trophy was the third in five years for the Crusaders, who have not yet reached the final.

Coach Kathy Adelman Naro said that consistently running into the Pioneers in the semifinals isn't a bad thing.

'There's great competition in this state, and Oregon City is at the top, and you can't fault them for that,' she said. 'Our problem is that we haven't played well against them. We certainly didn't this year.'

Jesuit fell behind by 16 points in the first half, damaged in part by making just three of 11 free throws. The Pioneers won 64-46, then beat Beaverton in the final Saturday for their eighth title in 11 years.

Jesuit junior Courtney Fritz earned a spot on the all-tournament first team.

TROJAN BLUES: City champion Wilson, the 13th seed, gave Central Catholic a game before losing 51-45 in the first round. The Trojans then had Pac-9 champion Tigard beaten until a late surge by the Tigers earned them a 49-46 win.

'We played well enough to stay in the games but not well enough to win,' Wilson coach Rick Earl said.

A promising sign for the Trojans was 5-10 junior Tara White scoring seven points in the first half against Central Catholic and 6-5 junior Jessie Shetters hitting 10 of 18 shots against Tigard. The Trojans graduate five seniors.

Wilson went 0-2 in the tourney, and the PIL finished 0-5 in the state playoffs. A PIL team last won a trophy in 1996, when Lincoln finished fifth.

BAD SEED: Tournament attendance (21,130) dropped for the second straight year and is down 24 percent from just two years ago, making the two-year trial run of seeding a qualified failure at increasing interest.

The state's basketball coaches, led by South Medford boys coach Dennis Murphy, are again working on a new playoff format, in which 48 teams would qualify for the state playoffs and teams would need to win one or two games to reach the 16-team tournament. This plan wouldn't take effect until at least 2003-04.

Most coaches at the girls state tournament Ñ including Dickerson, Adelman Naro and Earl Ñ like the current playoff format, in which district champions automatically qualify for the tourney.

The Oregon School Activities Association probably won't be too alarmed by the tourney attendance drop, though. Its net revenue from fall sports championships hit a five-year high, jumping 26 percent from 2000-01.

How the OSAA does financially is important to schools because the group reimburses them for their costs to attend state championship events. Most years, though, that reimbursement is only about 50 percent of what schools request because of revenue issues.

BIG REBOUND: Columbia Christian finished fifth at the Class 1A girls tournament in Baker City. The trophy, the school's first in girls play, shows how far the program has come. In 1994, Columbia Christian lost 115-4 to Catlin Gabel, a game that sparked statewide debate over sportsmanship.

Contact Cliff Pfenning at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..