The top-ranked Southridge Skyhawks win 51-35 in a featured game of the Martin Luther King Junior Classic
PORTLAND - It was tough sledding for the Oregon City Pioneers' girls basketball team on Jan. 21, as the third-ranked Pioneers met their match in top-ranked, three-time defending state champion Southridge.
The Pioneers got upended by the Skyhawks 51-35 in a featured game of the Martin Luther King Junior Classic, which was contested at Portland's Rose Garden.
'The funny thing is we did a lot of things well,' said Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf. 'But unfortunately in the game of basketball you've got to put the ball through the basket, and we didn't do that.
'We were getting good shots in the interior - the type of shots we were looking for, we out-rebounded them 33-30 - with eight offensive rebounds, and we took care of the basketball (only 13 turnovers). We just couldn't get the ball to go in the basket.'
It was one of the worst shooting nights of the year for the Pioneers, and it was their lowest scoring game of the season. They found the basket on only 14-of-43 (.325) of their attempts from the floor and on only 6-of-12 free throws.
Still the Pioneers stuck with the Hawks for the first half, trailing 22-18 at halftime.
But the cold shooting worsened after the break. And the Skyhawks pulled away, as the Pioneers missed on 11 of their final 15 shots from the floor.
Guelsdorf chalked the cold shooting up to his team's youth, and his charges' unfamiliarity with a venue such as the Rose Garden.
He noted that the larger professional basketball floor at the Rose Garden hampered his team's efforts to make their full-court defensive pressure pay dividends. The Skyhawks had only eight turnovers.
'The floor is 10 feet longer and six feet wider [than the floor at Oregon City],' Guelsdorf noted.
But the Pioneer hoop boss said he was excited about his team's success at battling the Hawks on the backboards.
'They had kids at 6-3, 6-2 and 6-0 in their front line,' said Guelsdorf. 'That's huge to us. But we really held our own in the paint.'
Ashley Reed, a 6-1 junior, headed the Pioneers' effort on the backboards with eight rebounds.
Sophomore Brittany Knighton (11 points) and junior Melair Holterhoff (10 points) were the only Pioneers to reach double figures in scoring. Knighton was 4-of-14 from the field.
'Brittany had a lot of shots in the paint,' said Guelsdorf. 'But shots she usually makes wouldn't go in. She missed several lay-ups.'
Lindsey Shearer had three assists in the losing effort.
Senior point guard Alex Earl (15 points) and senior wing Kiara Tate (13 points) were the top point-getters for the Skyhawks.
For the Pioneers, the loss snapped a nine-game win string.
The Hawks improved to 12-4 with the victory.
OREGON CITY - The Pioneers regrouped on Friday and hammered Lake Oswego 59-30 in a Three Rivers League mismatch.
Defensive pressure told the tale, as the Pioneers played tough defense at both ends of the floor, forcing 37 turnovers.
The Lakers made only 8-of-38 field goals (21 percent) in the up-tempo game.
'I thought we did a great job on defense, especially on their top offensive players, Reader and Luetjen,' said Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf.
Shannon Reader, a 6-3 post, scored only seven points; Becky Luetjen, a 5-11 wing, scored 12, but most of her points came at the charity stripe.
'We used a 5-man tag-team on Reader,' said Guelsdorf. 'Lindsey Shearer, Ashley Reed, Brittany Knighton, Calli Jackson and Alisha Sleight all had a hand in defending her.'
Knighton claimed a team-high seven rebounds, as the Pioneers held their own with the Lakers on the backboards. Guelsdorf had his Pioneers with 12 offensive rebounds.
Junior wing Melair Holterhoff headed the defensive onslaught with five steals.
Kenna Borgmeier, Holterhoff and Taylor Belmont had 15 assists between them.
Shearer (14 points) and Holterhoff (12 points) led 11 Oregon City players who put points on the scoreboard.
'I like our energy,' said Guelsdorf. 'We played great defense and we crashed the glass. We missed a lot of lay-ups, but that doesn't concern me. The shooting will come.'
The Pioneers (13-3, 5-0) begin the second half of the league season on Friday, when they play at Milwaukie. They host fourth ranked Clackamas (12-4, 3-2) in a key league match-up next Tuesday.
The Cavaliers got upset by West Linn (12-5, 4-1) last Friday.