OC girls rout Grant and Crater, advance to their 25th straight quarterfinal

The second-ranked Oregon City Pioneers took no hostages in last week’s first and second rounds of the Class 6A high school girls basketball playoffs.

The Pioneers stopped 15th-ranked Crater 66-27 on Friday, after routing 38th-ranked Grant 93-38 earlier in the week.

Friday’s shellacking of Crater was the Comet’s second-lowest scoring game of the season, and the win advanced Oregon City to the big-school state quarterfinals for the 25th year in a row.

The Three Rivers League champion Pioneers (19-6, 9-1) meet Pacific Conference champion Tigard (21-5, 14-0) tonight at 8:15 at the Moda Center in this year’s Class 6A quarterfinals, with the winner advancing to a Friday night semifinal with the winner of a quarterfinal between sixth-ranked Westview (21-5, 9-1) and third-ranked St. Mary’s (22-4, 12-0). Seventh-ranked Tigard routed tenth-ranked Jesuit 57-32 in last Friday’s quarterfinals.

Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf said of the Pioneers’ chances at the state tournament: “The tournament appears to be wide open, with eight teams capable of winning.”

He commended the players on this year’s edition of Oregon City basketball: “I am very proud of this group. With zero returning starters, to win the TRL and advance to the quarterfinals for the 25th straight year, it’s just a tremendous accomplishment.”

Asked what the key would be in getting past Tigard in tonight’s quarterfinals, the Pioneer hoop boss said, “We need to attack their zone and slow down their three all-state players, [5-8 senior] Emily Cinchotta, [5-8 senior] Lexi Carter and [6-3 sophomore] Elise Conroy.”

Carter (20 points), Conroy (14 points) and Cincotta (12 points) all scored in double digits in Friday’s win over the Crusaders.

Oregon City enters the state tournament as one of the state’s top offensive teams, averaging 66.5 points an outing, while allowing opponents an average of 43 points. Tigard is averaging 53 points, to just 36 points by its opponents.

Seniors Alyssa Durr (19 points) and Jessica Gertz (17 points) set the pace for Oregon City in last Friday’s game with Crater. Durr was 4-of-6 from 3-point land.

Senior Toria Bradford sparked the offense with six assists; sophomore Taylor Shaw led Oregon City to a 41-29 advantage in rebounding; freshman N’Dea Flye had a team-high five steals, as the Pioneers forced 30 turnovers and held Crater to 24 percent shooting for the game.

Oregon City took charge from the outset, building a 25-10 advantage in the first quarter and a 42-13 advantage by halftime.

The Pioneers also took early command in their 93-38 rout of Grant in a March 4 game played at Oregon City.

Oregon City had the game in hand after the first quarter, as the Pioneers rallied around their super aggressive defensive play to race to a 30-9 advantage.

They forced 26 turnovers in the first half alone, as they stretch their lead to 51-11 by the halftime break.

Rallying around the play of playmaking guards Cierra Walker and Toria Bradford, the Pioneers played the entire first half without a single turnover of their own.

The Pioneers had balanced scoring, with 10 players scoring and six players scoring in double figures — Jessica Gertz (18 points), Walker (15 points), Alyssa Durr (14 points), Taylor Shaw (12 points), Bradford (11 points) and N’Dea Flye (11 points).

Walker also sparked the offense with seven assists, and she hit three 3-pointers. Gertz was 8-of-13 from the field.

Durr hit 4-of-5 shots and she headed the defense with five steals.

Shaw was 6-of-10 from the field, and she hauled down seven rebounds.

Flye was tough off the bench, hitting 3-of-6 field goals, claiming four rebounds and stealing the sphere three times.

Grant finished up at 6-18 with the loss, while the win advanced the Pioneers to their March 7 second-round playoff game with Crater.

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