GIRLS BASKETBALL: Sunset's girls give their all, but No. 2 Oregon City is just too much Tuesday
OREGON CITY - The Sunset Apollos didn't have an answer for Oregon City's depth, as the Apollos fell to the second-ranked Pioneers 64-42 in Tuesday's first round of the Class 6A girls basketball playoffs.
'We could have played them a little better than that,' said Sunset coach Bill Priester, whose team, the fourth seed from the Metro League, finished at 12-14 overall. 'But we had a couple kids who were a little nervous and we just didn't shoot very well.'
The Pioneers went up 18-8 in the first quarter, with their first five baskets scored by five different players. Two Sunset players - Crissy Watts and Samantha Potter - scored all of Sunset's first-quarter points. Only six Sunset players found the basket the entire contest, while 10 Oregon City players put points on the scoreboard.
'They've got a lot of good shooters and some really good posts,' said Sunset senior wing Crissy Watts. 'They're a pretty good team.'
Oregon City used sharp shooting, defense and aggressive rebounding to take charge of the game from the outset.
Sunset controlled the opening tip, but moments later Oregon City point guard Paige Halberg stole the ball and scored a fast-break lay-up for a 2-0. Halberg blocked Katie Sneed's shot on the Apollos' next possession, and Oregon City post Lindsey Shearer scored on the fast-break to make it 4-0 with the game barely underway.
The Apollos committed five more turnovers before the first quarter was out, and the Pioneers took charge.
'I think we were a little scared,' said Watts. 'We were nervous and it took us awhile to get our game going.'
Oregon City went on a 12-2 run early in the second period to up the gap to 32-13, and the outcome was never in doubt after that.
The Apollos did a pretty good job of handling Oregon City's full-court defensive pressure after the first quarter, but they struggled to slow the Pioneers' multifaceted offense.
The Pioneers were a hot-handed 27-of-50 (.540) from the field; the Apollos found the mark on 18-of-42 (.428) attempted field goals.
Oregon City senior wing Kelly Marchant headed a balanced Pioneer attack, with 12 points.
Potter (14 points) and Watts (10 points) were the top point-getters for Sunset.
Despite the loss, Priester was upbeat about his team's future. Coming off back-to-back state playoff appearances and losing just three seniors, he said the Apollos' best may yet be ahead of them. He thanked his team's three seniors - Watts, Katie Sneed and Dana Lively - and mentioned the incoming talent the varsity would get next year from its strong JV and freshman teams.
It was the ninth win in a row for Oregon City (21-4, 11-1), whose only losses in Oregon have come at the hands of fourth-ranked Lake Oswego and fifth-ranked Southridge.
Co-champion with Lake Oswego in the Three Rivers League, Oregon City meets Central Valley League champion McKay (18-6) at McKay in Friday's second round, with the winner advancing to next week's state tournament.
John Denny and Miles Vance contributed to this story.