Clackamas senior leader Kaitlyn Reiner likes her team
The fourth-in-the-state-ranked Clackamas Cavaliers lived upped to their billing in state playoff games last week, earning a spot in the eight-team Class 6A State High School Girls Basketball Tournament through convincing wins over 13th-ranked Tualatin (51-34) and unheralded Grants Pass (55-35).
The Cavaliers (21-5) meet fifth-ranked Beaverton (20-6) today at 3:15 p.m. at the Moda Center (formerly the Rose Garden) in the championship quarterfinals.
The two teams met in their preseason final on Jan. 14, with Clackamas winning big, 48-30.
With a win in this afternoons game, Clackamas would square off with top-ranked South Medford (24-3) or eighth-ranked South Salem (22-5) Friday at 1:30 p.m. in the semifinals. The Cavaliers topped the South Salem Saxons in a squeaker, 51-49, in a game in mid-December. They have not played South Medford this season.
It means everything to get back to the Rose Garden, said Clackamas senior Kaitlyn Reiner. This is my third time and I feel were just as good as the two other teams I went with. Im excited to see how we can do.
Reiner was a reserve on a Cavalier team that lost to Jesuit 42-39 in the state title game her freshman year, and she was a starter on last years team that fell to Westview 76-58 in the fourth-place final.
Last Fridays second-round state playoff win over the Tigers was closer than the final score might indicate, and Reiner played a major role in breaking the game open.
Playing the point, she drew much of the pressure from the Tigers full-court defense, and she responded with 9-for-11 free throw shooting. And she was a calming influence on offense, as she played with poise throughout and helped up the tempo in the third period, when the Cavaliers began to take charge.
Reiner tallied a game-high 21 points on the night.
At halftime we talked about composure and playing the game at our speed, said Reiner. We played really well in the second half.... I think our depth was also a factor. We dont lose anything when our bench plays.
The Cavaliers were nursing a 25-21 lead at halftime, with the difference coming at the free throw line. Both teams were 8-of-18 from the field before the intermission, and each team had 11 turnovers, due mostly to one anthers intense half-court defensive play.
The Cavaliers, in the third quarter, used their own full-court press to up the tempo of play. As a result Clackamas outscored Tualatin 14-3 in the third stanza, and Clackamas took control of the game.
Tualatin was only one-of-9 from the field in the third stanza, while the Cavaliers made 6-of-13 shots from the floor, including two 3-pointers.
The Cavaliers did most of the damage during the last 3-1/2 minutes of the third stanza, when they went on a 12-0 run.
With her club leading 27-24, Reiner banked in a fast-beak jumper with 3:14 remaining in the third quarter.
Following a Tualatin miss, Sydney Azorr followed up her own missed layup with a rebound basket, upping the Cavalier lead to 31-24.
Erin McDonald answered another Timberwolf miss with a fast-break bucket; Erica Pagano answered yet another miss with a 3-pointer from the corner; and Reiner connected from downtown as time wound down, to make it 39-24 Clackamas heading into the final period.
Reiner teamed up with McDonald with a nifty pass for a Cavalier layup near the midpoint of the fourth quarter, and the Cavaliers had their biggest lead of the night, at 46-27.
Clackamas top scorers after Reiner were Azorr (11 points), McDonald (9 points) and Pagano (8 points).
Savannah Heugly, a 5-10 senior post, had a big game for the senior-dominated Timberwolves, scoring a team-high 15 points and stealing the sphere eight times.
It was the second lowest scoring game of the season for the Timberwolves, who entered the contest averaging 51 points an outing
Tualatin, the third-place team from the Pacific Conference behind seventh-ranked Tigard (21-5) and 17th-ranked Glencoe (15-10), finished the season with an overall record of 14-10.
Clackamas had it in cruise control on March 4, as the Cavaliers breezed by Grants Pass 55-35 in a first-round game of the Class 6A girls basketball playoffs.
The Cavaliers had the game in hand, leading 22-4 at the end of the first quarter.
Clackamas coach Todd Lane gave his starters less than two quarters of playing time.
It was a good first round-game, Lane said. We got a lot of kids playoff experience.
Lane said that aggressive half-court defense and a domination of the backboards led to the Cavaliers domination of the play.
The Cavegirls put up 45 shots from the floor, but made only 12 of them, for a 27 percent shooting percentage.
Meanwhile the Cavaliers executed their offense in the half-court, getting a lot of close-in shots through pinpoint passes to players in the paint.
We contested their shots with our aggressive man defense and, on offense, we got a lot of layups, Lane said.
Clackamas shot better than .500 from the field (22-for-42), and four different Clackamas players combined to make five 3-pointers.
Sydney Azorr (11 points) and Kaitlyn Reiner (8 points, 4 assists) headed up a balanced Cavalier offensive that saw 10 players score.
Erica Pagano (7 rebounds) and Marissa Kelly (5 rebounds) led Clackamas to a 35-21 domination of the backboards.
Grants Pass finished 7-17 on the season with the loss.