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OC drops Sunset 52-42 in the semifinals

The Pioneers pull away in the second half when they up the pace of play

PORTLAND - After a seesaw first half, the Oregon City Pioneers upped their intensity at both ends of the floor and rallied to a 52-42 win over Sunset in a Friday afternoon semifinal game of the Class 6A High School Girls Basketball Tournament.

The Apollos slowed the pace of play in the first half and played the Pioneers straight up, thanks to a strong inside game.

Oregon City trailed 23-21 at halftime. But the Pioneers fired up in the third stanza, going on an 11-0 run late in the period to build a 41-32 advantage by the end of the quarter.

The Pioneers went on top for good, at 28-27, 3-1/2 minutes into the third quarter on a pair of free throws by junior wing Melair Holterhoff.

Underclassmen led the offensive effort in the Pioneer victory. Sophomore wing Brittany Knighton, junior post Calli Jackson and Holterhoff led the charge, scoring 18, 12 and 11 points respectively.

Knighton fired up from downtown, hitting 4-of-7 shots from 3-point land.

Jackson played a strong game all around, hauling down a team-high six rebounds, dishing out a team-high four assists, and stealing the ball two times.

Sophomore posts Samantha Potter and Alyssa Martin paced the Apollos in scoring with 13 points apiece.

The Apollos struggled from the field in the second half, cashing in on only 8-of-26 (.308) shots from the floor. The Pioneers made only 7of-25 (.280) field goals before the intermission. They were 10-of-18 from the field in the second half.

The victory advanced the Pioneers to Saturday night's championship final with Metro League champion Southridge. It was the 11th straight win for the Pioneers, whose last loss was to Southridge on Martin Luther King Day.

Sunset, the No. 3 team from the Metro League, finished up at 19-10 with the loss to Oregon City. The unheralded Apollos had advanced to the state semifinal through state playoff wins over eighth-ranked Tigard and Grants Pass, and a state quarterfinal victory over ninth-ranked Lincoln.