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OC girls save their best for last

The Pioneers put on a clinic, as they tame the Tigers in the third-place final of the 2013 Class 6A State Basketball Tournament


by: JAIME VALDEZ - With the game in hand, Oregon City seniors (from left) Johanna Paine, Montana Walters, Jenae Paine and Tiani Bradford applaud the play of their teammates during the Pioneers 68-29 rout of Tigard in the third-place final of the 2013 Class 6A State High School Basketball Tournament. The defense-minded Tigers entered the state tournament having allowed opponents just 30 points a game. This is the 28th consecutive season that Oregon City girls teams have won trophies at the states big-school state tournament.PORTLAND — Oregon high school girls basketball fans were treated to the best basketball of the 2013 Class 6A Girls Basketball Tournament Saturday afternoon at the Rose Garden, as the Oregon City Pioneers bounced back from a 57-52 semifinal loss to Central Catholic with a 68-29 trouncing of sixth-ranked Tigard in the third-place final.

The Pacific Conference champion Tigers (24-6, 14-0) entered the state tournament heralded as the top defensive Class 6A girls basketball team in the state, having allowed their opponents an average of just 30 points a game. The previous high game by a Tiger opponent came on Dec. 28, when Tigard lost to Central Catholic, 54-38.

Central Catholic, which entered the state tournament ranked the state’s top team by Class 6A coaches, won the tournament, burying South Medford 57-36 in Saturday night’s championship final, after advancing through wins over Westview (55-50) and over Oregon City.

Oregon City, which entered the state tournament ranked No. 1 in the OSAA power rankings and third — behind Central Catholic and South Medford — in the coaches poll, topped Beaverton 70-53 in its state tournament opener, before losing to Central Catholic in the semifinal.

The Mt. Hood Conference champion Rams (26-3, 12-0) dealt Oregon City (26-2, 10-0) its only other loss of the 2012-13 season at the Nike Interstate Shootout, held in Lake Oswego in late December.

While the Pioneers appeared tense and struggled to get their shots to drop in the loss to Central Catholic, they were at the top of their game in Saturday’s third-place final with the Tigers.

They so outclassed Tigard that they made the Tigers appear like a jayvee team, building a 24-5 advantage in the first quarter, and continuing in command the rest of the way.

Playing an aggressive passing game on offense, the Pioneers hit 11-of-14 shots from the field in the first quarter of the Tigard game, with nine different Oregon City players scoring field goals in the period. And through a tenacious trapping full-court defense and aggressive man-to-man half-court defense, they forced eight turnovers in the first period, and they held the Tigers to just one field goal, out of five attempts.

Tigard scored only two field goals — on 2-of-13 shooting — in the first half. The Pioneers went 15-for-25 from the field in the first half, with 3-point baskets by five different players. The Pioneers were up 39-11 at the intermission, and the game was in hand.

Oregon City ended up 26-of-45 from the field (.578) — with eight 3-pointers — for the third-place final game. The Pioneers had assists on 18 of their 26 baskets. Tigard was 7-of-32 (.219) from the field for the game.

The Pioneers out-rebounded the Tigers 29-13 and, although Oregon City took the press off at the start of the second half, the Tigers turned the ball over 21 times.

Senior playmaker Montana Walters hit three-of-five 3-pointers and scored 11 points to lead 12 Oregon City players who put points on the scoreboard. Walters also came through with a team-high six assists.

Senior post Johanna Paine headed Oregon City’s inside game, scoring nine points and hauling down 11 rebounds. Paine, who was 4-of-6 from the field, also made three assists.

Eight different Oregon City players had steals.

No Oregon City player was on the floor for more than 17 minutes.

Lexi Carter, who paced the Tigers in scoring with 11 points, was on the floor for 27 minutes, and four Tigard starters saw at least 22 minutes of playing time.

Stressed out

to the max

“I think the difference between our game with Central Catholic and our game with Tigard was stress,” Walters said. “We were stressed out when we played Central Catholic. They’re a good team and they have two of the best players in the state. I was stressed to the max. We played hard [against Central Catholic], but we were stressed out, and it affected our shots. We were getting good looks, but nothing would drop....

“Against Tigard, we came out relaxed, because we had nothing to lose....”

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Tigard star Lexi Carter looks for help from the officials as she is tied up by Oregon City seniors Chelsi Brewer (left) and Catelyn Preston during Saturday afternoons third-place final at the Rose Garden.The Pioneers made only 6 field goals out of 20 attempts (30 percent) in the first half of the Central Catholic game, while the Rams dominated the backboards and went 14-for-31 (45 percent).

Oregon City trailed by as many as 13 points near the midpoint of the second period, and the Pioneers were behind by 10, at 30-20 at halftime.

But there was no quit in the Pioneers, as they came out battling with a newfound intensity in the third quarter, hitting five straight field goals.

Walters scored on a driving lay-up, Jenae Paine scored off an inbounds pass from Walters, Johanna Paine connected on a baseline jumper, Catelyn Preston hit an NBA 3-pointer, and Preston followed a Ram miss with an outside bucket off a pass from Walters.

And the Pioneers were within a point, trailing 32-31, with 4:34 remaining in the third quarter.

But that was as close as the Pioneers could get. They stayed close through the final horn, but the early 13-point deficit proved just too much to overcome against one of the state’s tops teams.

The Ram lineup included two of the state’s top players in 5-10 point guard Jordan Reynolds and 6-3 post Kailee Johnson. Both were unanimous all-tournament selections. Reynolds, who has signed with Tennessee, entered the state tournament averaging 17.9 points a game; Johnson, who is headed for Stanford, was averaging 18.2 points and 10 rebounds.

The Pioneers found Reynolds hard to stop, and she led the Rams with a game-high 22 points and six assists.

Oregon City’s 6-0 Johanna Paine guarded Johnson and held her own with the Ram star. Johnson scored 12 points on 6-for-14 shooting, claimed eight rebounds, had no assists and turned the ball over four times.

Johanna Paine scored 15 points on 5-for-9 shooting, collected five rebounds, made four assists and had only two turnovers.

“I thought Jo did a tremendous job on Kailee,” said Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf. “It was the best game I’ve ever seen her play....”

Preston scored a team-high 16 points on 6-for-9 shooting, with two 3-pointers, snagged six rebounds and stole the ball three times.

Walters scored only four points, but had eight assists.

“The effort was there,” Guelsdorf said. “Our energy was up and we played with tremendous heart. We just didn’t make enough shots. We were getting good looks.... We get a couple more shots to drop, and it’s a different story....”

No. 8 Beavers

came to play

Some halftime adjustments proved pivotal for the top-ranked Oregon City Pioneers in a March 6 state quarterfinal game with eighth-ranked Beaverton.

Oregon City prevailed 70-53, but the Pioneers were nursing only a two-point lead at halftime. And they appeared very vulnerable in the second quarter, when the Beavers made an 18-7 run, penetrating the Pioneer half-court defense like a hot knife through butter.

“I give Beaverton credit,” said Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf. “They’re well coached. [In the second quarter] they beat our press, found the little gaps in our half-court defense and attacked the basket....

“[In the second half] we changed up our press. We backed off a bit and stopped going for the steal, and it gave us the chance to get back on defense and get back to the defensive match-ups we wanted [in our half-court defense] — with people guarding the players that we wanted them to guard, and with more helping out....

by: JAIME VALDEZ - Oregon City senior Johanna Paine (32) and Central Catholic star post Kailee Johnson battle inside in Fridays championship semifinal game at the Rose Garden.“I think part of it was also fatigue. Our kids are used to [the fast-paced play of the second quarter], and I think it kind of wore them out.”

Oregon City led 21-11 at the end of the first period.

But, led by the aggressive half-court play of 5-9 junior Danielle Hartzog, the Beavers rallied back to take the lead, at 29-28, with 3:04 left in the second period. The two teams then traded buckets until halftime.

Oregon City freshman Cierra Walker made a fast-break bucket just inside the half-time buzzer that put the Pioneers up for good, at 39-37.

After going 16-for-40 (40 percent) from the field in the first half, the Beavers made only 3-of-16 (19 percent) field goals in the second half, as the Pioneers tightened up their half-court defense.

Beaverton made only one field goal in the third quarter, when the Pioneers stretched their two-point halftime advantage to 12 points, at 54-42.

Still the game was not without drama. Walters drew her fifth foul and was retired to the bench just 30 seconds into the fourth quarter.

With Walters out, the Pioneers turned to a delay. And with junior guard Toria Bradford taking Walters’ place, the Pioneers did not commit a turnover and they hit 12-of-16 free throws to seal the win.

Bradford, Walker, Chelsi Brewer and Preston all hit clutch free throws down the stretch.

“They played amazing [when I went out with my fifth foul],” Walters said. “Everyone stepped up and did their job.”

The Pioneers had balanced scoring, led by Preston (15 points, 3 assists), Johanna Paine (15 points, 11 rebounds), Jessica Gertz (12 points) and Walters (6 points, 6 assists).

The Beavers were led by Hartzog (17 points) and 5-10 senior point guard Alexis Montgomery (15 points, 4 assists, 9 rebounds).

Beaverton (9-1) which tied Westview for first place in the Metro League, finished with an overall record of 21-7.

The tradition

continues

Saturday’s third-place win over Tigard marked the 28th straight year in which an Oregon

City girls basketball team had brought home a trophy from the big-school state tournament.

by: MILES VANCE - Oregon City junior Jessica Gertz goes on the attack in Oregon Citys 70-53 quarterfinal win over Beaverton. Freshman Emma Kennedy (21) defends for the Beavers.“Of course, we wanted to win state,” said Oregon City senior Jenae Paine. “But I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. We did place third. We came out today and showed what true Pioneers do. We bounced back. We kept the tradition alive....

“Other teams go on a streak of three or four years and think it’s a big deal. Our streak is 28 years in a row. I’m proud of our senior class that we could be a part of that legacy. I love the coaching staff and these girls with all of my heart.”

“There’s no program in the country like Oregon City,” Walters said. “It’s just a blessing to be able to say that I was a part of it.”

The Pioneers graduate 11 seniors from this year’s state tournament roster, including all five starters.

The Paine sisters sent out a word of caution to anyone who believes the Pioneers will have a down year in 2013-14.

“They’ll be young, but they’ll be fine,” Johanna Paine said. “They’ve grown up in the system and they know what’s expected. We leave it to them to build their own legacy, which I know they can do.”

“We’re not done,” said Jenae Paine. “We may be young [next year], but we were also young three years ago when we graduated a lot of seniors and had four sophomore starters [and placed third at state]. The players will step up, just like we did.... They’ll work hard in the offseason; they’ll go to the open gyms and winter and summer tournaments, and they’ll rise to the challenge. The tradition will go on.”

“I don’t think there will ever be an end to the dynasty,” Walters said. “It’s our style of play. No matter how young the players are, or who the players are, they’ll always be successful.”

Lost to graduation off this year’s team will be senior starters Walters (5-5 point guard), Johanna Paine (6-0 post), Jenae Paine (5-10 wing), Preston (6-0 post) and Brewer (5-9 wing); and seniors Jaime Goff (6-1 post), Amber Fifield (5-7 wing), Tiani Bradford (5-8 wing), Breanne Johnston (5-9 post), Danielle Kirby (5-6 wing) and McKenna Hopkins (5-10 wing).

Expected back next year are: juniors Toria Bradford (5-6 point guard), Jessica Gertz (5-10 wing) and Alyssa Durr (5-6 wing); sophomore Jerusha Paine (6-1 post); and freshman Cierra Walker (5-6 wing).

Jerusha Paine was among a host of talented players that went undefeated while playing at the jayvee level during the regular season.



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