Cavs hold their own with top teams
Clackamas takes No. 5 West Linn down to the wire, and the Cavaliers upset No. 7 Barlow
Three Rivers League boys basketball preseason prognosticators believed that top-ranked Lake Oswego (15-0, 1-0) and fifth-ranked West Linn (10-4, 1-0) would battle for the TRL title this season.
However there may be a third team in the mix.
The unheralded Clackamas Cavaliers ranked 24th in the OSAA power rankings proved last week that they are the equal of West Linn as they gave the Lions (10-4, 1-0) all they could handle in a 69-63 losing effort. And that game followed on the heels of a 55-53 win over a Barlow team that was ranked seventh in the OSAA power rankings.
The Cavaliers on Friday trailed West Linn by only three points at the end of the second (35-32) and third periods (50-47), and they were within four points of the Lions, at 52-48, with six minutes to play. Had it not been for lukewarm shooting (6-for-15) in the last six minutes of the game, the Cavaliers probably would have pulled off an upset.
I thought the effort was there [in last Fridays game with West Linn], said Clackamas playmaking guard Aaron Ahlstrom. We played really hard. It was just that some of our shots werent dropping....
If wed shot the ball like we did against Barlow, I think we would have beaten them. I definitely think we can beat them the next time we play them....
West Linn is a good team. Were getting better every day. To compete with them when were not playing our best is really encouraging.
Sharp shooting from downtown helped the Cavaliers stick with the Lions on Friday. Led by Ahlstrom (12 points, three 3-pointers) and Brett Udland (11 points, three 3-pointers), the Cavaliers connected nine times from 3-point land.
Andrew Gutwig (12 points) and Colby Bankofier (11 points) also hit 3-pointers and they joined Ahlstrom and Udland in double figures in scoring.
West Linn was led by 6-5 junior Ryan Shearmire (18 points), 6-3 junior Hayden Coppedge (16 points, 8 rebounds) and 5-11 freshman Payton Pritchard (12 points, 4 assists).
Clackamas led 19-17 at the end of the first quarter. West Linns biggest leads were nine points, at 33-24, three minutes before halftime, and 12 points with just over three minutes left to play. Shearmires steal and slam-dunk with 3:05 remaining made it 60-48 West Linn, and pretty much sealed the outcome.
Colby Bankofier made two lay-ups, Cole Scruggs made a basket and Ahlstrom hit a trey in the final minute of play, but the Lions made 10-of-12 free throws at crunch time to hang on for the hard fought victory.
Keaton Bankofier was fouled and made two free throws in the closing seconds to gain the Cavaliers their winning edge in the 55-53 upset of Barlow.
It was only the third loss in 12 games for the Bruins, who fell to Jefferson (85-63), the top-ranked team in Class 5A, on Dec. 14, and to Service, Arkansas (70-32) on Dec. 29.
Ahlstrom noted that the Cavaliers (7-7, 0-1) have had additional motivation since the tragedy that struck over the Christmas break, when Clackamas baseball coach John Arntson lost his 7-year-old son Jake in a car accident.
A lot of the guys on the [basketball] team play baseball and Jake was always around us, Ahlstrom said. He was a great kid. Weve pretty much dedicated our season to him.
Players on Clackamas boys and girls basketball teams donned t-shirts bearing Jake Arntsons initials and the number 9 â€‘ with wings during warmups for Fridays games.
The Cavaliers were to meet top-ranked Lake Oswego on the road on Tuesday (Jan 15). They return home to host Oregon City (8-4, 0-1) this Friday. Lake Oswego cruised to a 51-29 win at Canby in last Fridays TRL opener. The Lakers are averaging 62 points a game, to 43 points by their opponents.
twice in OT
The Oregon City Pioneers had a tough week last week, losing their Three Rivers League opener 60-59 to Lakeridge in double overtime on Friday, after dropping a heartbreaker 64-59 in overtime to Gresham earlier in the week.
Hunter Knighton (16 points), Valentino Polk (10 points) and Cody Hole (10 points) all scored in double figures for Oregon City in the loss to Lakeridge.
Lakeridge was led by 5-11 junior Reggie Oliver (20 points), 6-5 senior Patrick Jaco (13 points) and 6-3 senior Madison Pihl (12 points).
Lakeridge improved to 10-4 with the win, while Oregon City slipped to 8-4 with the loss.
Valentino Polk made a driving lay-up late in regulation to knot the score at 57-57 and bring about the overtime with Gresham.
But Nico Estibar sealed the deal for the Gophers, with a steal and lay-up late in the extra period to put the game out of reach.
Polk scored a game-high 21 points; Hole tallied 15 points in the losing effort.