Calhoun takes charge, as the Cavaliers rally from behind
CLACKAMAS - Apparently looking past McMinnville to Saturday's showdown with top-ranked Southridge, the fourth-ranked Clackamas Cavaliers had their hands full in getting by unheralded McMinnville 58-48 in a first round game of the Class 6A girls basketball playoffs, played at Clackamas Feb. 27.
McMinnville entered the contest a huge underdog, having eked out a 4-11 record en route to finishing fourth in the Pacific Conference. But you wouldn't have known it by the way the Grizzlies played against the Cavaliers.
The Grizzlies out-hustled their hosts through the first quarter. Their early domination of the backboards earned them second shots and they found themselves leading 17-8 at the end of the first period and 25-14 three minutes before halftime.
'It's playoffs and it's different, because it's their season,' said Clackamas team co-captain Cameryn Calhoun. 'When you're a senior you never want it to end, so you play hard.'
Calhoun explained the Cavaliers' early-game struggles: 'They had a really good defensive game plan - something we hadn't seen before. It took us awhile to make adjustments.'
Calhoun was a huge part in the Cavaliers' turnaround. The 5-7 all-league senior point guard scored all of her game-high 20 points after the halftime intermission.
'Offensively our seniors haven't been doing that well,' said Calhoun. 'Our coach has been preaching to us seniors that we've got to step it up and get it done.'
That's exactly what Calhoun did in the second half, as she carried the Cavaliers on her back, taking the ball to the basket and putting them on top.
Calhoun stole the show in the fourth quarter, when she scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting, assisted freshman post Jen Reese on a crucial lay-up, and even blocked a shot.
Calhoun drove the lane for five lay-ups in the fourth quarter and turned two of them into three-point plays.
Clackamas went ahead for the first time since early in the game, at 27-25, two minutes into the third period, on a steal and fast-break basket by Calhoun.
The game was then close all the way, until Clackamas rallied around Calhoun during the final minutes of play.
Clackamas went up for good on a fast-break basket by Calhoun with 4:59 left, after a missed Grizzly free throw.
Following a turnover, Calhoun cashed in for a 3-point play to make it 45-41 with 4:10 to play.
Brittney Yates stole the ball on the press and Calhoun found Reese open under the basket to up the margin to 47-41, and the Cavaliers were in charge.
Reese and sophomore post Alisa Griggs played big roles in the Cavalier win, because Cavalier 6-1 senior post Becky Buhler was in foul trouble through much of the contest.
Griggs (8 points) pounded the boards and battled the taller visitors for a dozen rebounds. Reese also claimed her share of rebounds and she scored six big points off the bench.
Freshman guard Natalie Myers also saw her share of playing time and made significant contributions when Clackamas starters got in foul trouble while executing an aggressive press.
Yates fouled out and Buhler was whistled for her fourth foul seconds into the final period.
'Our younger girls, like freshmen Natalie and Jen, really gave us a boost tonight,' said Calhoun.
The Cavaliers had a great night at the free throw line. Calhoun (6-for-6) and Monica Strous (6-for-6) headed the effort as the Cavaliers dropped in 18-of-21 (.857) attempted charity tosses.
Yates (5 steals) headed Clackamas' defensive effort, as the Cavaliers forced 19 turnovers. Buhler had three blocked shots, but she scored only six points - hitting two 3-pointers.
Field goal shooting stats reflect Clackamas' dominance in the fourth quarter. The Cavaliers were 10-of-35 (.285) from the field through the first three periods, but they were 9-of-11 from the field in the final period (.818).
Senior guard Maya McFaddin paced the Grizzlies in scoring with 10 points.
McMinnville finished the year with an overall record of 9-16.
Clackamas improved to 19-5 with the victory. The win advanced the Cavaliers to a Saturday (March 1) showdown at three-time defending state champion Southridge (20-4).