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Cougars defeated Valencia, Calif. in girls basketball tournament consolation finals

COURTESY PHOTO - Canby's girls basketball team went 2-1 at the West Coast Jamboree on Dec. 27-30 in Brentwood, Calif.

Canby's strong start continued.

Playing in the West Coast Jamboree in Brentwood, Calif., the Cougars went 2-1 to win the gold division consolation bracket.

The West Coast Jamboree, which in its 20th year featured 136 teams across 17 brackets, claims to be the largest high school basketball tournament in the country.

"A lot of teams struggle when they've gone out of town," Canby coach Chuck Knight said. "There's a lot of good competition there, so to go 2-1 is nothing to sneeze at. It's pretty encouraging."

Playing the host school, Heritage, the Cougars opened the tournament Friday, Dec. 27 with a 53-36 loss.

An early flight on Friday morning took its toll on Canby, according to Knight.

"I think we were a little groggy for our first game and weren't quite sharp," he said. "We had trouble shooting the ball."

Heritage went on to win the gold division.

"We faced a very good team, for sure," Knight said. "I imagine the first team that we played would be a top five team in Oregon. I think that we could have played a lot better and certainly capable of competing and even beating that team, but we didn't play well. We didn't shoot particularly well."

Nicole Mickelson and Allie Mead each had eight points in the loss. Naarai Gomez and Ally Odell each add seven.

The Cougars regrouped to defeat San Joaquin Memorial, Calif. 62-44 on Dec. 28.

Zoe Thompson had 17 points on five 3-pointers. Mead had 16 and Gomezi added 13.

"It was great that we bounced back the next day," Knight said. "We talked right after that game about coming back from it and we came out and shot the ball a lot better."

Canby then topped Valencia, Calif. 49-39 on Dec. 30 in the consolation finals.

Mickelson, who was selected to the all-tournament team, had 21 points, and Odell added nine.

"It seems like every game it's two or three different players that play well," Knight said. "I'm still waiting for that game where everybody has that really good game. We're still looking for a complete 32-minute game where we all play well, so that's good that we're able to win some games and we've still really got a lot of growth left ahead."

The Cougars started the season 6-2, and with one non-league game remaining at Sheldon (7-2) on Tuesday, Jan. 7, were No. 3 in the OSAA rankings and No. 10 in the Class 6A coaches poll, released on Dec. 30.

"I think we're sitting in a good spot with our schedule being as tough as it has," Knight said. "It's given us confidence that on any given night we can play with any team out there. It's been a good start and hopefully we can keep it going."

Canby opens league play Tuesday, Jan. 14 at home against Tigard.

"Every game is going to be a dog fight," Knight said. "There are plenty of good teams. We have to be ready to play every night."

Derek Wiley
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