Brink, Freeman lead All-Metro League girls hoops honors
In a way, it's almost fitting Southridge sophomore Cameron Brink and senior Maggie Freeman shared Metro League Player of the Year honors for girls' basketball.
Opponents couldn't find a way to stop either Brink's inside reign or Freeman's rain-making ability from the outside on offense nor quell their ability to rule a game on the defensive end. Their enduring impact on the Class 6A back-to-back state champions as an all-time tandem was unmistakable. Try to double team Brink in the post and Freeman would find all sorts of open looks for her endless perimeter range. Faceguard Freeman — as most of the Skyhawks' postseason foes did with a single defender — and Brink would feast not just on paint touches and post moves but offensive rebounds and putbacks. And on the other end of the floor, the two difference makers were part of an oppressive omnipresent 2-3 zone that was great throughout the season but got even better in the playoffs and was the driving force to Southridge's second straight 6A crown.
Ironically, both Brink and Freeman entered Southridge at the same time. Freeman transferred from North Medford after her sophomore season, hoping to improve her stock as a collegiate prospect and be exposed to scouts and coaches by playing for a more high profile program in the Portland area. Brink entered Southridge as one of the more ballyhooed freshmen to ever set foot on campus. Each clearly lived up to the hype and then some the past two seasons. Brink was just honored as the 2017-18 Oregon Gatorade State Player of the Year and she still has two extremely promising seasons ahead as Southridge's two-way anchor. Freeman finished her Skyhawk stint with a pair of state titles, two first-team all-Metro seasons and a full ride to Boise State University.
The co-Metro Players of the Year will go down with the Southridge greats as two of the best to ever put on a Skyhawk uniform. That honored designation goes for Southridge senior Natalie Hoff as well, who was also rewarded with first-team all-Metro honors after a great swan song as a Skyhawk. The balletic power forward was a star in her own right, Southridge's vocal leader who could school bigger posts with well-schooled footwork on either block, but also take her defender out on the perimeter and either blow by them or shoot over the top of the defense. Nevermore was her all-around game appreciated than against Canby in the second round of the 6A playoffs, when Brink hurt her ankle in the second quarter and didn't return and Freeman was smothered by the Cougar defense. Saddled with foul trouble, Hoff still starred, pouring a game-high 26 points, 18 of which came in the second half to send Southridge back to the state tournament. Hoff earned all-Metro honors in each of her four years at Southridge and is attending Seattle Pacific University next season.
The three Skyhawks were joined on the first-team all-Metro squad by Beaverton sophomores Mary Kay Naro and Sydney Erikstrup. Both underclassmen transferred over to Beaverton High after beginning their careers at Sunset and Lake Oswego and had vast influences on the Beaver program. Naro is a rising star at the point guard position, the spearhead to Beaverton's fast-paced, unselfish offense and the defensive menace atop the Beavers' fundamentally sound man-to-man scheme. Sydney Erikstrup was a two-way star, a 6-foot forward who could play in the post, but was at her best using her next level skills off the dribble to dice up foes and finish around the rim. She was too athletic for bigs, too skilled and smooth for wings. And on defense, she took on a number of assignments from Brink to Benson junior star Tayler Lyday.
Beaverton head coach Kathy Adelman Naro, in her first year coaching since her days at Jesuit, won Metro League Coach of the Year after helping take the Beavers back to the 6A state tournament. The Beavers went 25-3 overall and 14-2 in Metro, forming a cohesive, selfless squad that relied on team play and connected defense to power them to a 6A semifinal appearance against Benson.
Westview junior Kamryn Jones rounds out the first-team All-Metro squad. The southpaw power forward was a scoring/rebounding machine, leading the state in double-doubles. With fellow junior Nicole Flennaugh sidelined for most of the Metro season, Jones took on more scoring responsibility while still manning the boards and playing stiff interior defense for the Cats. With Jones, Flennaugh, Shanice Uwase and Josie Napoli slated to return to the starting lineup, Westview could very well be in the hunt for a state tournament bid next season.
Southridge sophomore point guard McKelle Meek kept making positive strides in her personal playing growth, experiencing great success in the state tournament. Meek, Beaverton sophomore Laura Erikstrup, Jesuit sophomore Taylor Freeman and Glencoe senior Izzy Womack made the All-Metro second team. Laura Erikstrup played some of her best basketball in the playoffs, averaging double figures in points and nearly nine boards a game in the state tourney. Savannah Corradini was one of the top three-point shooters in the league, a wing who came up clutch for Crusaders against Westview with a game-tying triple late in the fourth quarter. Corradini and Taylor Freeman will be back next year for a Crusader team that ran into Clackamas in the second round of the 6A playoffs.
Jesuit junior Bella Mori was injured earlier in the season but rebounded and reclaimed her starting role at power forward for the Crusaders. Southridge freshman Maya Hoff looks like the next superstar to come out the Skyhawk program, a silky, unruffled, clever ballhandler and passer who's just beginning to scratch the surface of her potential. Sunset senior Delaney Ragan helped the Apollos make it back to the 6A playoffs for the fourth straight season, playing both point guard and shooting guard. Ragan and fellow senior Kendsy Carmichael were at their best against Lakeridge in the 6A play-in game, playing poised, level-headed basketball in the backcourt as the youthful Apollos were able to pull away in the second half. Hoff, Mori, Ragan, Aloha senior Kylie Olmstead, Glencoe junior Morgan DeBord and Glencoe senior Ezinne Egbo all earned third-team all-Metro honors.