Oregon City coeds force 19 first-half turnovers en route to a 41-10 first-half advantage

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Oregon City senior post Johanna Paine (32) turns point guard, as she pushes the ball up the floor in last Fridays 80-33 rout of West Linn.If the top-ranked Oregon City Pioneers bring it at this year’s state tournament the way they did in Friday night’s girls basketball game with cross-river rival West Linn, then the Pioneers will be very tough to beat at this year’s Class 6A State Championship Tournament.

Oregon City upended the 10th-ranked Lions 80-33 on Friday, dominating the play at both ends of the floor through nearly the entire game.

Playing super-aggressive full-court defense with an attack-dog mentality, the Pioneers forced 19 turnovers in the first half, as they rolled to a 41-10 first-half advantage. In a game of possession, the Pioneers were 17-of-29 (.586) from the field in the first half, while the Lions made only 3 field goals out of 15 attempts (.200).

West Linn turned the ball over on seven of its first eight possessions, and the Pioneers scored on their first eight shots from the floor.

When Oregon City junior wing Jessica Gertz scored an inside bucket off an inbounds pass from senior point guard Montana Walters four minutes into the game, Oregon City’s lead was 17-2, and there was no question which team was going to come out on top.

Oregon City senior post Johanna Paine was like a player possessed in the first four minutes of the game, scoring 11 points on five baskets, including three baskets from near the top of the key.

“We want Jo to shoot inside, but she’s got the green light to shoot from anywhere,” Walters said. “She’s been practicing that shot [near the top of the key] and she was open, so she took it.”

“[Beating West Linn] was a big deal for us, especially after what they did to us last year,” Paine said. “We came out with a lot of energy. Last year left a bad taste, and we felt like we had something to prove.”

“We came out with a little extra emotion,” Walters said. “We wanted to make a bit of a statement. What happened last year should not have happened....”

A year ago West Linn dashed Oregon City’s hopes of winning a state championship, rallying back from a 33-24 early fourth quarter deficit to beat the Pioneers 49-43 in the quarterfinals of the 2012 Class 6A State Tournament.”

“That first half [of last Friday’s game] was one of our best halfs this season,” Walters said. “We were playing together and hitting our shots....”

The Pioneers ended up shooting .555 (30-for-54) from the field on the night — with eight 3-pointers.

The 80 points was the most points the Lions had given up this season.

Oregon City had 10 players contribute points to the winning tally, led by Johanna Paine (21 points on 9-of-14 shooting, 7 rebounds, 3 steals), Walters (15 points, 8 assists, 3 steals) and freshman guard Cierra Walker (13 points on 5-for-5 shooting). Walters and Walker both hit three 3-pointers.

Walters said of Walker, “She’s got a lot of potential. That girl’s good. She could start right now and she’s going to get a lot better. She could become one of the best to come out of Oregon City, if she keeps working hard.”

No one from West Linn scored in double figures. Junior guard Ashley Johnson hit two treys and scored seven points to lead the Lions in scoring.

With the win, Oregon City (17-1, 5-0) finished the first half of the Three Rivers League season all alone in first place in the Three Rivers League girls basketball standings. Clackamas (15-4, 4-1) and West Linn (9-10, 3-2) were second and third respectively.

Oregon City entertains Canby (8-8, 2-3) this Friday, and the Pioneers host fifth-ranked Clackamas next Tuesday. The Pioneers escaped Clackamas with a narrow 58-57 win in a Jan. 18 game played at Clackamas.

“I’m hoping we’re going to get our shots to drop and that it won’t be close like last time,” Paine said. “But even if it is close, it’s going to be a fun game. It’s going to be at our gym and this place is going to be packed....”

“We’ve got to come out more focussed and ready to play [in the upcoming game with Clackamas],” Walters said. “And I think we will. It will be a home game and we’ll have our fans behind us.”

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Oregon City defenders Nolan Muckenthaler (left) and Brad Martin double team Ryan Shearmire in last Fridays game with West Linn.

OC guys test Lions

for three quarters

Oregon City’s unheralded boys team held their own with fifth-ranked West Linn for three quarters in a 64-49 loss to the Lions last Friday.

It was still a 4-point game, with Oregon City trailing 41-37, a minute into the fourth quarter. But that’s where West Linn took over, outscoring Oregon City 23-12 down the stretch.

West Linn sophomore Anthony Mathis led the fourth quarter surge, scoring 13 of his game-high 28 points in the period. Mathis, who hit five 3-pointers in the game, connected on back-to-back 3-pointers and on a fast-break bucket near the middle of the fourth quarter to gain the Lions breathing room. He then teamed up with Hayden Coppedge and Payton Pritchard to hit 9-of-10 free throws in the final 2:34 to put the Pioneers away.

Coppedge (9 points) was also tough on the backboards, corralling 10 rebounds.

“We started out slow,” Mathis said. “It’s been happening all year. But give it to them. They shot the lights out early on. They came to play and we didn’t.”

The way the game started, it looked as if the Pioneers might pull off an upset. Oregon City began the game like a house afire, connecting on 7-of-10 shots from the floor, with five of the seven baskets 3-pointers.

Oregon City senior guard Nolan Muckenthaler scored 13 points in the first period, cashing in three times from downtown. Oregon City sophomore guard Hunter Knighton added a pair of treys, and the Pioneers found themselves up 19-12 with the first quarter winding down.

The Pioneers continued to battle in the second quarter, and found themselves owning a 29-27 lead at halftime.

Things changed in the third period, as the Lions upped their intensity on defense. Five different West Linn players had steals in the period, as the Pioneers turned the ball over seven times and made only 2-of-7 shots from the floor.

West Linn went up for good, at 31-29, 1-1/2 minutes into the second half. But the Pioneers stayed close, keeping the pace of play slow, and making the Lions work for their baskets.

Pritchard (13 points) and Ryan Shearmire (10 points) joined Mathis in double figures in scoring.

Knighton (17 points) and Muckenthaler (16 points) were the top point-getters for the Pioneers.

“I wasn’t surprised [that we gave them a game],” Muckenthaler said. “We came in expecting to win the game. We just couldn’t get our shots to drop [in the second half].”

With the win, West Linn finished the first half of the league season with a 4-1 record (14-5 overall). Oregon City slipped to 0-5 in league (10-8 overall).

“It’s disappointing [that we haven’t won in league],” Muckenthaler said. “We know we have a good team. We just have to execute better, and we’ve got to play with a little more heart....”

Oregon City boys had balanced scoring in a 65-43 nonleague boys basketball win at Hood River on Jan. 29.

Muckenthaler, Valentino Polk and Brad Martin scored 10 points apiece to lead a Pioneer attack that saw ten players score.

Leading 27-22, the Pioneers put the game away in the third quarter, when they outscored their hosts 20-6.

Oregon City hosts Canby (6-12, 1-4) this Friday, while West Linn plays host to Lakeridge (12-6, 3-2).

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