Jessica Gertz lights them up for OC in defeat

Wrapping up what Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf termed “our toughest winter holiday schedule in the last five years,” Oregon City’s girls basketball team went 1-2 at the Delaware Diamond State Classic Tournament, losing to Hoover, Ohio, 72-47 in the Dec. 30 third-place final of the tournament, after defeating Ursuline Academy of Delaware 62-48 and losing to McDonogh, Maryland 62-59 in earlier games.

“Ursuline is the No. 1-ranked team in Delaware,” Guelsdorf said. “They’ve got a Division I super star in Amanda Hahn, a 5-10 guard. She’s a junior and she’s already signed with Villanova.

“McDonogh is the No. 1 team in Maryland. They’ve got three or four really good players. We missed some free throws, or we would have beaten them.

“Hoover, Ohio is a super physical team that made life tough on our shooters. We were 5-of-26 from beyond the arc. They had a front line with kids 6-2, 6-3 and 6-2. Not making excuses, but we played them at noon and we were pretty drained after an emotional late night loss to McDonogh, the tournament champion, the night before.

“These teams were probably tougher than anyone we’ll see in Oregon, so we were glad we made the trip. We are very pleased with our progress, despite the two losses. We are doing some things well that will help us in our goals for March back in Oregon....

“I believe this has been the toughest winter schedule we’ve had in the last five years, playing two defending state champions and six teams ranked in the top three in their state or region was a huge challenge.”

Senior Jessica Gertz played a strong game for the Pioneers throughout the Delaware tournament, averaging 24 points for the Pioneers’ three games.

Gertz and sophomore Cierra Walker scored 25 and 20 points respectively to lead the way in the 62-48 win over top-ranked Ursuline. Walker also sparked the offense with five assists. Senior Toria Bradford also had five assists; sophomore post Taylor Shaw battled tough on the inside, claiming eight rebounds.

Hahn scored 21 points to lead Ursuline. The Pioneers led pretty much from wire-to-wire.

Gertz (24 points) and Walker (14 points) headed the offense again in the barnburner with McDonogh, a team sporting three Division I prospects that is favored to win state in Maryland. The Pioneers claimed a 35-23 advantage on the backboards over their taller opponents, but missed free throws down the stretch proved costly. St. Francis recruit Janelle Wynn scored 15 points to lead McDonogh in scoring.

Gertz (23 points) was the only Oregon City player who could get the ball to drop in the game with Hoover. Walker struggled, missing all of her 3-point attempts and going scoreless.

The Pioneers were back in action in Oregon last Friday, as they traveled to Glencoe and put on a clinic for the Crimson Tide, winning 58-42.

The Glencoe game was nowhere near as close as the final score, as the Pioneers were up 43-25 heading into the fourth quarter, when Guelsdorf cleared his bench.

Gertz (22 points) was the only Pioneer in double figures in scoring. Bradford sparked the Pioneer offense with 11 assists; Shaw had eight rebounds.

The Pioneers forced 35 turnovers. Bradford and Walker headed the defense with 11 steals between them.

“It was nice to get back to Oregon and play a game somewhat close to home,” Guelsdorf said.

Ranked ninth in the OSAA power rankings and second in last week’s Oregon coaches poll, the Pioneers (6-4) play Lincoln on the road this Friday and Westview on the road next Tuesday. They open Three Rivers League play a week from Friday, at Lakeridge.

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