Putnam coeds give 6A Century and 5A power Hermiston a run for their money

Putnam coeds gave both Class 6A girls basketball power Century and Class 5A girls basketball powerhouse Hermiston a run for their money last week, as the Kingsmen closed out the preseason in impressive fashion.

The Kingsmen last Saturday gave the Hermiston Bulldogs, the second-ranked team in Class 5A, all they could handle in a 41-39 loss. And they took the 11th-ranked Jaguars down to the wire in a 65-61 loss in a game played at Putnam on Jan. 7.

“It was by far our best defensive performance in the last 1-1/2 years that coach [Otis] Oliver and I have had the team,” said assistant coach Kris Leatherman. “Last year we were getting blown out by good teams. This year we're right there with good teams.

“We're turning the corner. We have a strong inside game, we have a strong outside game and we play good defense. We hung with the No. 2 5A team in the state and it's going to be a springboard to bigger things in league....”

The Kingsmen were to begin Northwest Oregon Conference league play on Tuesday (Jan. 14), playing Sherwood on the road. They have an away game with cross-town rival Milwaukie on Friday.

Leatherman heaped praise on his posts, 6-1 freshman Haley Brandel and 5-11 sophomore Angela Arrington, for their efforts at Hermiston:

“Hermiston's best players are their posts, 6-2 senior Shelby Sanders and 5-11 senior McKenzie Byrd. Shelby Sanders is a Division I post. She's their leading scorer and she's signed with Portland State. Angela guarded her and held her to just four points and fouled her out of the game.... Our freshman post isn't a freshman any more. She's grown up. She's a stud basketball player. She had 11 rebounds and five blocked shots [in the Hermiston game].”

Brandel tied for team-high scoring honors with Mariah Oliver, who also scored 11 points.

The Bulldogs trailed Putnam by three points at halftime and by two points heading into the fourth quarter.

“We were ahead with three minutes to play when Angela fouled out,” said Leatherman. “After that they pretty much dominated the offensive boards, and got extra shots. But we still had a chance to win. They didn't go up for good until they made a free throw with 20 seconds left.”

Byrd scored just eight points in Saturday's win. Sophomore guard Jansen Edmiston (12 points) was the only Hermiston player able to reach double figures in scoring. The Bulldogs scored just eight field goals in the entire game and three of them were 3-pointers.

The Jan. 7 game with Century was much like the contest with Hermiston.

“We were ahead 54-53 with three minutes left, but then we made three straight turnovers, and that was the game,” Leatherman said.

The game was filled with fouls. Century made 23 of 37 free throws, including 15 in the fourth quarter; Putnam was 19-of-26 from the line.

Putnam lost two players — senior wing Kelsea Baton and Arrington — to fouls.

“Angela fouled out early in the fourth quarter and it hurt us because they have two big posts [6-3 senior Courtney Sirois and 6-2 senior Chandler Montgomery],” Leatherman said.

Montgomery and sophomore wing Chantal Castaneda led the Jaguars in scoring, each with 16 points. Castaneda was huge in the first quarter, when she hit three 3-pointers, forcing the Kingsmen to play catch-up much of the way. Putnam trailed 25-9 at the end of the first quarter, 34-23 at halftime and 46-40 heading into the final period.

Brandel (16 points) and senior guards Ali Schooley (14 points), Mariah Oliver (11 points) and Kelsea Baton (10 points) led a balanced Kingsmen attack.

Oliver was coming off a holiday tournament game with McNary in which she had scored a season-high 29 points, hitting a tournament record six 3-pointers [out of seven attempts] at the Lake Oswego Interstate Shootout.

Brandel held her own on the backboards, claiming 10 rebounds; Schooley came up with four steals.

“We're competing,” said Putnam head coach Otis Oliver. “We're 2-7 but most of our losses have been in close games. The only team that took it to us was Tigard [a 62-40 Putnam loss].”

Century's win over Putnam at Putnam was the ninth win in 10 games this season for the Jaguars.

Hermiston sports a 9-4 record, with losses to Lewiston, Idaho; Kmiakin, Washington; Class 6A West Linn and Class 6A Canby.

Putnam guys


Putnam's boys basketball team last week continued to struggle against big-school opponents, yielding to David Douglas 68-44 on Friday, after getting blown out by Lakeridge 81-55 earlier in the week.

Lakeridge entered play this week ranked 11th in the state in the Class 6A OSAA power rankings, while David Douglas was ranked seventh in the rankings heading into the game with the Kingsmen.

Friday's loss to David Douglas was the Kingsmen's eighth loss in a row, after a 65-62 win over Woodburn in their season opener.

Putnam fell behind in the first quarter of both of last week's games, and the Kingsmen were playing catch-up the rest of the way.

Drew O'Dell (16 points) hit three 3-pointers and was the only Kingsman in double figures in scoring in Friday's game with the Scots.

Jake Hamilton (15 points), Austin Klein (12 points) and David Vasquez (10 points) all scored in double figures at Lakeridge.

Charles Jones, a 6-0 sophomore guard, led a balanced attack for David Douglas with 19 points.

Reggie Oliver, a 6-0 senior guard, paced the Pacers with 26 points.

The Kingsmen were hopeful of getting back on the win track this week, as they began Northwest Oregon Conference play, hosting seventh-ranked Sherwood (7-2) on Tuesday (Jan. 14) and cross-town rival Milwaukie (1-8) on Friday.

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