OC rolls to a 30-12 halftime advance and the Pioneers coast home from there

PORTLAND - The third-ranked Oregon City Pioneers showed up ready to play and they dispatched with fifth-ranked North Medford with relative ease, winning 53-39 in the March 5 quarterfinals of the Class 6A High School Girls Basketball Tournament.

Defense and offensive execution were keys for the Pioneers, as they put the Southwest Conference champion Black Tornado away early, building a 14-3 lead in the first period and a 30-12 advantage by halftime.

The Pioneers forced 14 turnovers in the first half, when they allowed the Tornadoes just three field goals out of 20 attempts, for a frigid .150 shooting percentage.

Meanwhile the Pioneers ran their offense like a well-oiled machine. Crisp passes to the open man led to a .565 first-half shooting percentage, as the Pioneers hit the mark on 13-of-23 shots from the floor.

Brittany Knighton (8 points) and Karlie Gach (7 points) headed a first-half offensive attack that saw seven Oregon City players put points on the scoreboard. Led by Kenna Borgmeier (3 assists), seven different players were also credited with assists before the intermission.

Lindsey Shearer and Calli Jackson hit buckets early in the third period to up the gap to 34-12.

It was still an 18-point game at the end of the third period.

The Black Tornado continued to battle and closed to within 12 points, at 47-35, on a 3-point play by 5-11 post Erica Schultz with 2:48 to play. But they couldn't get any closer.

'This feels really good, because it was very heartbreaking last year,' said Knighton. 'I'm really proud of the girls.'

'Before the game, we were all really nervous,' said Oregon City junior wing Melair Holterhoff. 'Once we got going there was kind of an adrenaline rush. It was really fun!'

'We played really good defense in the first half,' said Knighton. 'But we need to work on our late game situations. We turned the ball over way too much.'

'When you play against really good teams, you can't let up,' said Oregon City girls coach Kurt Guelsdorf. 'I think the girls learned that lesson today.

'But foul trouble also had something to do [with Oregon City's second-half letdown]. Brittany and Lindsey both had four fouls, and it doesn't help when two of your top scorers are in foul trouble.'

Knighton (12 points) and Shearer (12 points) tied for team-high scoring honors. Shearer was 5-of-6 from the field.

'Lindsey was really aggressive,' said Guelsdorf. 'She took the ball to the basket hard.'

Borgmeier and Holterhoff sparked the offense with four assists apiece.

Holterhoff (7 rebounds), Shearer (6) and Knighton (6) headed up the effort on the backboards.

Holterhoff and Shearer headed the defense with four and three steals respectively.

The Pioneers stifled the Black Tornado offense both with an aggressive half-court defense and with a tenacious full-court press.

North Medford had 25 turnovers on the night; the Pioneers committed 18.

For the game, the Pioneers out-shot the Black Tornado from the field, .537 (22-of-41) to .268 (11-of-41).

Schultz (13 points) and 5-8 wing McKenzie Smith (11 points) paced North Medford in scoring.

With the loss, North Medford's record slipped to 22-6 on the season.

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