Elite teams to compete at the Trail Classic

Sandy basketball team aims for some holiday surprises

The Barlow Trail Classic has a top-flight field for this year's post-holiday boys basketball tournament, making it one of the elite events in the state.

The eight-team Classic will be held at Barlow High School from Thursday to Saturday, Dec. 27-29 with plenty of intriguing matchups waiting in the bracket. Searching for its first win ot the season, Sandy will open play against the tournament's best team - No. 3-ranked Sunset (7-1). Sandy head coach Chris Meyers knows his team comes in as the ultimate underdog.

'We are going into the tournament with the idea of getting ready for league,' Meyers said. 'We will come out and work on our game and see how we rank with the better teams around.'

He knows that his team has work to do and has them focused on the chance to play some of the better teams in the state.

'You can't practice for two or three straight weeks, so we plan to go in and work on our game and play against the top teams,' Meyers said. 'We know we are not an elite team, but we are going to see how we rank and how far we have to go.'

The No. 7-ranked Bruins open their host tournament against Grants Pass (2-3), but are in line for a tough road to the championship game with a likely semifinal showdown against Thurston (5-1) - ranked No. 4 in the Class 5A coaches poll.

'Our schedule so far hasn't been as competitive as I had hoped,' Barlow coach Tom Johnson said. 'But I know we'll get some stiff competition at the tournament. It's our final opportunity to get ready for league.'

Also, a headliner for the tournament is No. 7 Roosevelt, which reached the Class 5A title game last season.

• The Sandy girls basketball team will participate in the Lake Oswego Interstate Shootout and have a big, tall order for their opening game. The Pioneers will face No. 2 ranked (in 5A) Jefferson in the first round on Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 1:30 p.m.

"Jefferson is big and fast and will try to run us out of the gym," Aschoff said. "We just have to go out and execute our game plan and prepare for the second half of league play. If we could take two wins out of this tournament, we would be way ahead of our game."

Aschoff said her team will enter this tournament with the goal of stopping the mistakes that have kept them from more victories in the early season.

"There have been few teams that have outplayed us, we just keep shooting ourselves in the foot. We have to make our free-throws, get our lay-ups to fall and wins will fall into place."

The tournament also features 5A powerhouses Wilsonville (6-1) and 6A top teams Tualatin (4-1) and Westview (5-2).