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Skyhawks derailed by top-ranked Pioneers in playoff opener

Kevin Sullivan's 28 points aren't enough against the No. 1 Oregon City boys

OREGON CITY - Southridge's 6-foot-4 post Kevin Sullivan attacked the basket for 28 points in his team's Class 6A boys basketball sub-tournament playoff game with Oregon City last Wednesday.

But Sullivan was seemingly the only Southridge player who could find the basket, and the Skyhawks got blown out by the top-ranked Pioneers 77-59 at Oregon City High School. The loss ended Southridge's season at 17-8 after a fourth-place finish in the Metro League.

The Pioneers, who beat Canby on Saturday to earn a berth in the eight-team Class 6A state tournament, led all the way and eventually put the Hawks away with a combination of sharp shooting and domination of the backboards.

The Pioneers led 21-12 at the end of the first period, 37-21 at halftime and 59-41 heading into the fourth quarter.

Oregon City made 9-of-12 shots from the floor in the first period, 9-of-13 in the third stanza, and Oregon City coach Mike Doherty had his club with a 33-17 advantage on the backboards.

Senior point guard Brad Tinsley and 6-9 post Sammy Schafer packed the one-two punch for Oregon City.

Scoring from the outside as well as on the fast break and on drives to the basket, the 6-4 Tinsley equaled Sullivan's 28 points, hitting 11-of-18 from the field with three three-pointers and seven assists.

Schafer was dominating on the inside, scoring 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting, with three putbacks, and also hauled down 12 rebounds.

Still, Doherty came away impressed with the play of Sullivan.

'He made a lot of shots that were tough shots,' he said. 'He's pretty impressive in that regard. But Brad also had a pretty good night ... and he played some pretty good defense as well.'

Southridge senior co-captain Juan Zuniga said he was impressed with the Pioneers. But he wasn't yet ready to concede that they are the top team in the state.

'They're a great team,' Zuniga said. 'They are very talented. No doubt about it. But the Metro League is a tough league. And if they played in the Metro League, I think they'd have a pretty even match-up every night.'

'We knew coming in that they were very, very dangerous,' said Doherty. 'The Metro League champion was Sunset, and Southridge split with Sunset, beating them by three points and losing to them by three points. There wasn't that much difference in that league between No. 1 and No. 4. They were easily the toughest No. 4 seed in the playoffs.'

The Pioneers (26-1) went on to defeat Canby on Saturday, earning a berth against second-ranked South Medford tonight (Thursday) in the Class 6A State Tournament, which runs through Saturday at the University of Oregon's McArthur Court.