Kennedy and St. Paul girls advance to the semifinals, Kennedy boys fall to consolation bracket

Kennedy girls basketball

For the fourth consecutive year, the Kennedy girls basketball team has advanced to the semifinals of the 2A State Championship after decimating the Heppner Mustangs 52-19 on Thursday.

The No. 1 Trojans (27-1, 12-0 Tri-River Conference) won their 22nd straight game behind their signature defence, forcing the No. 8 Mustangs (16-7, 5-3 Columbia Basin Conference) into 23 turnovers and 23 percent shooting from the field.

Heppner came looking to pull off a big upset after beating the Trojans' Tri-River rivals from Central Linn to get to the quarterfinals. The Mustangs took an early 3-0 and played Kennedy to a 5-5 draw through the first half of the opening quarter before the Trojans went on a 22-6 run over the next 12 minutes to take a 27-11 lead going into halftime.

Kennedy was able to build much of its lead through its edge in offensive rebounding, often getting two or three chances per possession before ultimately scoring against the Mustangs.

Coming out of the break, the Trojans scored on a quick jumper from Kalyssa Kleinschmit, followed by a block from Molly Jaeger on the other end of the court to set up a possession in which the team had three offensive rebounds before Kleinschmit ultimately scored on an assist from Hannah Arritola.

The rest of the third quarter went even worse for the Mustangs, who were 0-for-7 from the field and 0-for-2 from the free throw line while turning the ball over six times to put up a scoreless frame, as the Trojans exapanded their lead to 39-11 at the end of the period.

Kennedy held Heppner scoreless for more than 12 straight minutes from the end of the second quarter until the Mustangs' Sydney Wilson connected on a jumper with 5:34 left in the game.

The Trojans were led on offense by Kleinschmit and Sophia Carley, who each scored 12 points. Arritola added six points, three assists three steals and a team-high eight rebounds in the victory.

Kennedy moves on to the semifinal round to face the No. 5 Faith Bible Falcons (26-2, 14-0 Northwest League), who beat the No. 4 Grant Union Prospectors (21-4, 8-0 Wapiti League) for their 17th straight victory.

Tip off is set for 1:30 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center.

St. Paul girls basketball

The No. 6 St. Paul Buckaroos recovered from a slow start to open the 2A State Quarterfinals and knock off the No. 3 Oakland Oakers 39-36, advancing to Friday's semifinal round.

St. Paul (23-5, 10-2 Tri-River Conference) turned the ball over four times and missed their first four shots against the Oakers (26-3, 12-2 Mountain View Conference) before scoring their first basket on Thursday.

But once the Bucks got going, it was difficult for them to be stopped. St. Paul fell behind 10-3 after the first four minutes of play before ripping off 14 straight points over the remaining quarter and into the second to take a 17-10 lead.

The Oakers stopped the run on a 3-pointer, sparking a 8-0 stretch of their own to finish the first half with an 18-17 edge.

Oakland scored the opening basket of the second half to go up 20-17, but it would be their last lead of the game. St. Paul responded with eight straight points behind Emma Connor, Logan Robinson and Erin Counts and held a 29-23 lead going into the final quarter.

Oakland tied the game at 29-29, but the Bucks retook their lead on a layup from Isabelle Wyss, who was fouled on the play and scored the follow up free throw to put her team up 32-29 with under four minutes remaining.

St. Paul built their advantage to 35-29 with two minutes left and held a five-point advantage with under 40 seconds remaining before the Oakers went on their final run.

Oakland's Hadley Brooksby connected on a layup with 30 seconds left to cut St. Paul's lead to 36-33. After Counts split a pair of free throws on the other end, Brooksby scored again and was fouled by Connor, making the free throw to make it 37-36 with 19 seconds remaining.

The Oakers put Counts back on the line, and the St. Paul sophomore sank both free throws to give the Bucks a three-point lead.

With one possession left to send the game to overtime, Brooksby's 3-pointer with six seconds left missed the mark, sending St. Paul to the semifinals.

The Bucks were led by Connor, who had a double double with 13 points and 13 rebounds.

Robinson added 10 points and five boards, while Wyss scored went for 9 points and seven rebounds, going 5-for-5 from the free throw line.

Brooksby led all scorers with 20 points.

St. Paul moves on to face the Oakers' league rivals, the No. 2 Monroe Dragons (25-3, 14-0 Mountain View), who beat the No. 7 Gold Beach Panthers (18-7, 9-1 Sunset Conference) to make their second straight semifinal.

Tip off between St. Paul and Monroe is set for 3:15 p.m. at the Pendleton Convention Center.

Kennedy boys basketball

Facing No. 2 Columbia Christian for the second time this season, the No. 10 Kennedy boys basketball team was unable to pull off an upset, falling 58-45 to the Knights in the quarterfinals of the 2A State Championship tournament on Thursday.

The Trojans (16-14, 7-5 Tri-River Conference) couldn't summon the same magic when they fell by just two points to the Knights (27-1, 17-1 Northwest League) in December.

After scoring the opening basket of Thursday's game on a jumper by junior Rocco Carley, Columbia Christian went on a 12-0 run to take a double digit lead and went into the second quarter up 17-7.

The Trojans were able to hold the Knights to just six points in the second quarter, going into halftime down 23-16. But Columbia Christian blew the game open in the third quarter, going on a 17-2 run to take a 40-18 lead that the Trojans were unable to recover from.

Sophomore Emorej Lynk stopped the bleeding on a layup with two minutes left in the third, but the Knights responded with five more points and held a 45-23 edge heading into the final period.

Kennedy poured in 22 points in the final quarter, but didn't have enough time to make up the difference.

Lynk led the Trojans with 17 points, 12 rebounds, three assists and two block. Bruce Beyer was the only other scorer in double figures for Kennedy, coming off the bench with 18 points. Carley added nine points while Luke Hall had seven.

The Trojans move to the consolation side of the bracket where they will face the No. 3 Knappa Loggers (23-5, 17-1 Northwest League), who were upset by the No. 11 Vernonia Loggers (20-8, 14-4 Northwest League) 52-50 on Thursday.

Tip off between Kennedy and Knappa is set for 10:45 a.m. on Friday at Pendleton High School.

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