The top-ranked Pioneers win a 58-57 slugfest with their TRL rivals

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Clackamas junior wing Sydney Azorr (15) is hammered by Oregon City defenders Johanna Paine (right) and Catelyn Preston as she attempts to score a lay-up in Fridays game at Clackamas.Players on both teams left it all on the floor, as two of the state’s top Class 6A high school girls basketball teams battled tooth and nail Friday night before a boisterous crowd at Clackamas High School.

The top-ranked Oregon City Pioneers prevailed 58-57 over the fifth-ranked Cavaliers in a game that few expected to be close. Oregon City had upended Clackamas 61-36 in the Dec. 30 third-place final of the Nike Interstate Shootout.

“We didn’t expect it to be this close,” said Oregon City senior co-captain Montana Walters. “But it’s always hard to come over here and play, because of the crowd and atmosphere.”

“It wasn’t the best game for us,” said Oregon City senior co-captain Johanna Paine. “But a win’s a win, so we’re happy....

“You have to give it to Clackamas, they played a hell of a game.”

“I wasn’t at all surprised [we gave them a game],” said Clackamas junior playmaking guard Kaitlyn Reiner. “It takes a few days to prepare to play Oregon City and the coaches prepared us well....

“We wanted it way more than they did, and we almost got them. We just came up one point short.”

“[Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf] always says that when you play a good team away it’s a 10-point advantage for them,” said Oregon City senor Catelyn Preston. “This is a tough place to play. But I love competition and it was a great atmosphere. I loved it. It was a really good win for us.”

“I’m not big with moral victories, but I’m really proud of my girls,” said Clackamas coach Todd Lane. “They played as hard as they possibly could and gave it a great effort. They do that every time we play from here on out and we’re going to be okay.”

“This was a huge confidence-builder for us,” Reiner said. “It shows what we can do when we play hard and work together as a team. Being close the whole game, and being ahead much of the game gives us motivation to keep working hard. I believe that next time, when we come to their house, we’ll come out with a win.”

Reiner was a big reason that the Cavaliers were able to keep pace with the Pioneers on Friday. The 5-5 point guard scored a career- and game-high 24 points, and she stole the ball five times. Reiner connected on 6-of-11 shots from the floor — with three 3-point baskets, and she was 9-of-10 from the free-throw line.

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Clackamas junior Kaitlyn Reiner (3) takes the ball up the floor in Fridays game with top-ranked Oregon City. The 5-5 junior point guard scored a career- and game-high 24 points as the Cavaliers took the Pioneers down to the wire in a 58-57 losing effort.“It was a great performance,” Lane said. “It was something I was watching for, for Kaitlyn to have a breakout game. Hopefully it’ll give her the confidence that she knows she can play at a high level and she’ll continue to have more games like this.”

“I’ve been playing against Oregon City my whole life,” Reiner said. “I’m not intimidated by them at all, and I know my team isn’t intimidated by them either.”

The Pioneers had a number of heroines that helped them earn the win. But three unsung players who came off the bench were probably the biggest heroines.

Oregon City 5-9 senior reserve Tiani Bradford made a huge defensive play at crunch time. With Oregon City up 56-54 and under four seconds to play, Reiner drove to the basket for what appeared a certain lay-up. Bradford hit the deck as she and Reiner collided, and an offensive charging foul was charged on Reiner.

Oregon City inbounded the ball and the Cavaliers were quick to foul Oregon City junior Jessica Gertz. Gertz, who had gone scoreless until that point, calmly cashed in on two free throws, upping Oregon City’s advantage to 58-54.

Clackamas sophomore Erin McDonald followed with a 3-point half-court prayer as time ran out, and the Pioneers escaped with the 58-57 victory.

The Pioneers had another heroine in reserve point guard Toria Bradford. The 5-6 junior saw plenty of playing time, as starting point guard Montana Walters injured her ankle at practice the day before the game and spent big minutes on the bench, resting her ankle. Toria Bradford only scored one point, but she played superbly when she was on the floor, spelling Walters and running the offense.

“Toria Bradford stepped it up big-time,” Walters said. “I don’t think we’d even been in the game, if it hadn’t been for Toria.”

Walters, who struggled to get her shots to fall most of the night, came through big-time herself at crunch time.

With the score tied at 50-50 and just 2:09 left to play, Walters followed up a steal by Johanna Paine with a 3-point basket, her first points of the game. And a short time later, she drove the lane for a lay-up that upped Oregon City’s lead to 55-50.

The game was close all the way. Clackamas held the biggest lead of the game, at 16-10, six minutes into the contest. Oregon City’s biggest lead was five points, at 55-50, with 2:09 remaining.

The score was 18-18 at the end of the first period and 29-29 at halftime. Clackamas was up 40-38 heading into the fourth quarter. The lead changed hands eight times in the third and fourth periods.

Johanna Paine (21 points) and Preston (15 points) headed up Oregon City’s offense.

Johanna Paine was a warrior close to the basket, hauling down 15 rebounds, and leading the Pioneers to a 37-30 advantage on the backboards.

Walters, with her painful ankle sprain, was far from the top of her game. The veteran playmaker had only three assists and she turned the ball over nine times.

Reiner, Sydney Azorr (10 points) and Deeshyra Thomas (9 points, 6 steals, 6 rebounds) were the top point-getters for Clackamas. Thomas spent big minutes on the bench after drawing her fourth foul five minutes into the second half. She fouled out with 44 seconds remaining in the game.

The Pioneers were 19-of-50 (.380) from the field; the Cavaliers made 16-of-41 (.390) shots from the floor.

Clackamas had 23 turnovers, to 22 turnovers by Oregon City.

The win left the Pioneers (14-1, 3-0) all alone atop the Three Rivers League standings. Clackamas slipped to 2-1 in the TRL (13-4 overall) with the loss.

The Pioneers entertain Lake Oswego (5-11, 0-3) this Friday, while Clackamas plays host to Lakeridge (7-10, 0-3).

It took the Oregon City Pioneers a quarter to fire up, but once they did, the Canby Cougars couldn’t keep pace, and the Pioneers upended the Cougars 76-42 in a Jan. 15 girls basketball game in Canby.

The score was tied at 8-8 at the end of the first period, but the Pioneers outscored their guests 29-10 in the second quarter to build a 37-18 lead by the intermission.

The Pioneers outmanned the Cougars, with 10 players adding points to the winning tally, five of them scoring in double digits — Montana Walters (12 points), Jessica Gertz (11 points), Jenae Paine (11 points), Johanna Paine (10 points) and Chelsi Brewer (10 points).

Jenae Paine headed the second-quarter surge with eight points in the period.

Johanna Paine (12 rebounds) and Jaime Goff (10 rebounds) were tough on the backboards, and Walters sparked the offense with seven assists.

Led by Gertz (4 steals), the Pioneers forced 27 turnovers.

Junior post Rachel Erbe and junior wing Taylor Lee scored 12 points apiece to lead the Cougars.

Clackamas coeds on Jan. 15 put Lake Oswego away with defense, holding the host Lakers to single digits in each of the first three periods en route to a 58-24 victory.

Clackamas led 11-3 at the end of the first period, 31-8 at halftime and 51-13 heading into the fourth stanza.

Deeshyra Thomas (10 points, 5 steals), Erica Pagano (10 points, 5 rebounds) and Erin McDonald (5 assists) headed a balanced attack that saw 11 Clackamas players put points on the scoreboard.

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