TRL boys basketball teams excel in preseason

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Teammates (from left) Keaton Bankofier, Mitchell Fink and Garrett Dahmen celebrated with Beau Gunderson after Gunderson drained the winning shot in a mid-December win over South Salem. The Cavaliers have had a lot to celebrate in preseason, winning 12 of their first 14 games.Clackamas boys basketball coach Ryan King says he is excited about and eager to begin league play. And King has good reason to be excited. His Cavaliers have gone 12-2 in preseason and they are ranked No. 4 in the state in the OSAA power rankings heading into this Friday’s Three Rivers League opener at West Linn.

“I think our kids have done a good job of sticking together and fighting through adversity and playing hard,” King said.

Still King has no illusions about it being a cakewalk in the Three Rivers League. Three Rivers League teams, through play last week, had won 73 percent of their games against nonleague opponents. All six league teams had winning records and all six were ranked in the top 19 in the state in the RPI rankings — No. 1 West Linn (9-4), No. 4 Clackamas (12-2), No. 8 Canby (7-4), No. 11 Lakeridge (11-2), No. 16 Oregon City (9-4) and No. 19 Lake Oswego (8-4).

“It’s like I thought it was going to be before the season started,” King said on Sunday. “The Three Rivers League is the toughest league in the state. It’s going to fun; it’s going to be wild. Every night’s a ball game. If you don’t come ready to play, it’s a loss....

“Right now I’m trying to figure out what to do on Friday. We open league with West Linn at their place and I think they just might be the best team in the state. It’ll be a fun challenge for us.”

With their only loss to an in-state opponent a 64-63 barnburner with Barlow on Dec. 20, the Cavaliers last week demonstrated the fight that has made them competitive against Oregon opponents all season, winning at 10th-ranked Southridge 59-54 in overtime on Friday, after dispatching with Gresham 73-65 earlier in the week.

“Their kid [Hudson VanAllen] made a 26-footer to put the game into overtime, and their place went wild,” said King. “Our kids did a great job of remaining mentally tough and maintaining their composure in a very hostile environment. We scored the first six points in the overtime, and they couldn’t catch us.”

Mitchell Fink got the early overtime run started, scoring an inside bucket off a screen.

“It was a defensive battle,” King said. “We played really good defense in the first half. We relaxed a little in the second half, and you can’t relax against a team that has a kid as good as [A.J.] Monterossi.”

Monterossi, a 5-10 do-everything point guard, scored a team-high 21 points, after the Cavaliers had held him to 4 points in the first half.

The game was tight all the way, with Southridge up 20-18 at halftime and the Cavaliers leading 36-35 heading into the fourth quarter.

The Cavaliers were led offensively by 6-3 junior Markus Golder, who tallied a game-high 22 points.

Mitchell Fink (12 points) and Keaton Bankofier (11 points) also reached double figures in scoring.

King praised 6-8 post David Reese for his strong play on the backboards.

Last week’s win over Gresham was a game of wide momentum swings. Clackamas went up 22-8 in the first quarter, but the Gophers closed the gap to 33-29 by halftime. The Cavaliers got back on track after the halftime break and were up 61-49 heading into the final period.

Golder starred on offense, burning the nets for 27 points. Bankofier (14 points) and Raekwon Mingledoff (10 points) also had double digit games.

OC Guys are

back on track

Oregon City had a good week last week, defeating Pendleton 57-52 in overtime on Friday, after dropping Newberg 56-45 earlier in the week.

The Pioneers rallied around the play of Trevon Bradford and Briggs Young to beat the Tigers.

Bradford tallied 17 points on 8-for-10 shooting; Young also scored 17 points, going 6-for-8 from the field, with five 3-point baskets. Bradford also sparked the offense with six assists.

The Pioneers were a hot-handed 23-for-44 from the field as a team, and they only turned the ball over eight times.

“Our kids played well, led by our sophomore back court,” said Oregon City coach Aaron Newkirk.

The Pioneers jumped out to a 19-12 lead in the first quarter and continued in the driver’s seat the rest of the way.

“Newberg presented some challenge for us, because of their size,” Newkirk said. They start three kids 6-5. The key for us was playing physical and doing our best to control the paint. The kids did a good job of that.”

Brad Martin played a strong game, scoring nine points on 4-for-8 shooting and claiming a team-high seven rebounds. Austin DeWitz score nine points on 4-for-6 shooting.

Newberg 6-7 junior post Jacoby Wolfe (11 points) was the only player on his team in double figures in scoring.

Bradford (16 points, 5 assists, 6 steals), DeWitz (15 points) and Young (12 points) led the way in last Friday’s overtime win. DeWitz was 7-of-12 from the field and Briggs was 8-of-9 at the free throw line.

The Pioneers prevailed, despite ice-cold shooting. They made only a third of their shots from the floor and they made just one of 12 attempts from beyond the arc.

Joel Boozer scored 15 points to lead the Buckaroos.

Oregon City (8-4) begins TRL play this Friday at Lakeridge (11-2). Gametime is 7:30 p.m., after the Lakeridge versus Oregon City girls game.

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