League champion Rams batter ahead
Prep Watch • 'Scrappy' play, senior leaders add to Central Catholic's strong start
Never mind the No. 2 ranking behind three-time defending state champion Southridge -the Central Catholic girls basketball team is off to a better start than last season where it really matters, on the scoreboard and in the standings.
The Rams got over the 'Reynolds hurdle,' beating the stubborn Raiders 52-40 in their Mount Hood Conference opener Dec. 4.
Last season, Reynolds upset the Rams 53-45 in early December. Central came back to win last season's rematch 68-46 en route to the MHC title and a third-place trophy at the Class 6A state tournament.
This season, the Rams are shooting for another big finish.
'This team has matured and learned a lot,' says coach Sandy Dickerson, whose squad is playing in a tournament in Phoenix this week.
The Rams like to press and run, and they rely heavily on four seniors -Audrey Miller, Courtney Flynn, Katy Wade and Yianna Nadeau -plus juniors such as Kate Lanz, Dani Klupenger and Chelsey Christensen.
Lanz and Miller have become familiar names in girls basketball. They're versatile players who can score or assist. 'Kate gives us leadership on the court, and Audrey has really stepped up her defense,' Dickerson says.
The 5-9 Nadeau is an athletic wing and another option at point guard. Christensen, 5-10, has emerged as an effective post player at both ends of the court.
Two sophomores also have made the varsity -5-5 Maddie Martin and 5-9 Kylee Schierman.
Reynolds, which has all its starters back from a 23-win team, led the Rams 21-15 after two quarters.
'We had a really good talk at halftime,' Dickerson says. 'We came out and picked up our defensive intensity and started attacking the basket much better. We played really well and were scrappy.'
nJefferson's girls, a top threat to win the 5A state title, visit Jesuit on Jan. 2, just before everyone gets into league play.
• The Parkrose girls were 6-1 going into this week's tournament at Gresham.
Grant hopes to make a run at the state title, just as the Generals did in football.
'I think this is probably one of our better teams since Terrell Brandon played here,' senior guard Andre Broadous says.
Brandon and the Generals won state championships in 1986 and 1988 and finished second in 1987.
'Now that we've got all our football guys going, we're looking good,' says Broadous, who starred at quarterback and free safety in the fall. 'We've got two superstars (6-1 senior point guard Paul McCoy and 6-8 junior wing Mike Moser) and a lot of good athletes and shooters, a lot of veterans. Moser's looking great. He's stronger and can almost dunk at will.'
In football, Broadous had his hand on the ball on every offensive play and was in on just about every defensive play. In basketball, his role is different.
'Andre is our glue,' says coach Tony Broadous, his uncle. 'He's the guy who's willing to do a bit of everything -defense, passing, hustle, leadership. He doesn't need to score a whole bunch of points.'
At 5-11, Andre Broadous has yet to get a major-college offer to play quarterback, and he is looking at Oregon State, Idaho, Portland State and Northern Arizona, with visits planned to Corvallis and Moscow, Idaho.
The biggest thing in picking a college, he says, will be that 'the school wants me and thinks I can contribute. I want to go somewhere where I can play. I don't want to just be on the bench as a quarterback, waiting and waiting. … And I'm looking at schools with baseball programs, so if the (football) coach allows me to, I can walk on and play two sports.'
Broadous plays center field and leads off for Grant. He likes to use his bat and base running ability à la Alfonso Soriano of the Chicago Cubs. 'My coach (Rob Kennewell) says I remind him of Kenny Lofton,' Broadous says.
• Grant is playing in the Les Schwab Invitational, which runs through Saturday night at Liberty High in Hillsboro.
• PIL boys play begins Jan. 8, with four good matchups: Grant at Benson, Wilson at Lincoln, Madison at Cleveland and Roosevelt at Marshall.
• Benson and Wilson took second and third, respectively, in a tournament last week at Honolulu. Those two teams look to be the main challengers to Grant in PIL 6A. 'Grant is the team to beat,' Benson coach Troy Berry says.
But the Techmen (5-4 in a tough preseason) are coming on. Standout guard Ameer Shamsud-din broke out of a scoring slump with 21, 20 and 21 points as Tech went 2-1 in the tourney, losing 60-57 to host Punahou in the final. 'He got off to a slow start,' Berry says. 'It's just a matter of adjusting to senior year, with the added pressure. I take full blame for it. We need to get him scoring and aggressive.'
Shamsud-din and guard Jamar Johnson made the all-tourney team.
Benson played in Hawaii without guard Tyrone Phillips, who should be back soon from a bruised knee.
'We came together as a team. Guys were moving the ball,' Berry says. 'Once we realize that a lot of our offensive opportunities are going to come off the defensive end, it's really going to help us.'
Wilson's only loss was 49-43 to Punahou.
State champion Bryce Burgess of Franklin has added four schools to the list of colleges he is considering attending. Portland State, Texas, Western Washington and Cal Santa Barbara have made the list, which includes Oregon, Syracuse and Cal Poly.
'I'm looking more for coaching and growth than the size of the school,' the Quaker senior says.
And somewhere warm would be nice. Burgess says he prefers to run in warmer weather.
Cleveland girls coach Brian Taylor thought long and hard about stepping down after 21 seasons. A couple of days after the Warriors' 2-1 state semifinal loss to Corvallis, Taylor phoned midfielder Annie Pippert, a junior who is expected to be a team leader next season, and asked her what she thought. 'She said, 'Oh, no, you can't quit,' so I went on and told everybody at our banquet that I'll give it one more year and take things year-to-year,' says Taylor, a real estate agent who is looking for other sales work.
The Warriors will graduate six seniors, including all-state forward Olivia Ashton, who will play for Northern Arizona.
'But I think the group that's coming back will be extremely focused on winning and getting the job done,' Taylor says.