Also: Oregon City guys meet their match

by: DAVID BLAIR - Oregon City sophomore wing Cierra Walker (10) takes the ball to the basket in the Pioneers season opener with Jesuit. Walker has been impressive in the Pioneers first three games, averaging 13 points and half a dozen assists in wins over the Crusaders, McMinnville and Tigard.Last week’s Class 6A high school girls basketball poll had Oregon City ranked fourth in the state and Tigard ranked sixth.

But either the Pioneers deserve to be ranked higher, or the Tigers are ranked too high.

The two teams met last Friday at Tigard and the Pioneers breezed to a 68-47 victory, taking control in the second quarter, when when they went on an 11-2 run.

The Pioneers led 20-15 at the end of the first quarter and 43-29 at halftime. The 21-point victory margin would have been even bigger had not Oregon City coach Kurt Guelsdorf elected to take off the full-court press.

The Pioneers had a balanced offense, led by senior point guard Toria Bradford, who had one of the best games of her high school career, scoring a career-high 18 points, dishing out seven assists, and stealing the sphere five times.

Sophomore wing Cierra Walker scored 14 points, hitting four 3-pointers. Senior wing Jessica Gertz (13 points) and sophomore post Taylor Shaw (13 points) also scored in double figures.

Lexi Carter, a 5-8 guard who has committed to Clemson, tallied 17 points to lead the Tigers, doing most of the damage in the first period.

With the win and an 86-29 rout of the overmatched McMinnville Grizzlies on Dec. 10, the state-title-hungry Pioneers improved to 3-0 on the season.

Shaw burned the nets for a career-high 22 points and nine rebounds against McMinnville.

Gertz scored 17 points, Alyssa Durr scored 12 points, and Walker had seven assists to go with eight points.

Sophomore wing Jordan Kelly headed the defense with four steals.

Thirteen Oregon City players played and 11 contributed points to the winning tally.

Next up for the Pioneers is the NIKE Tournament of Champions, scheduled Dec. 19-21 in Phoenix, Ariz.

Three Rivers League girls basketball teams have been impressive in early preseason, winning 16 of their first 20 games. Seventh-ranked Clackamas made some waves on Friday, defeating fifth-ranked South Salem 51-49, avenging an earlier loss.

Eighth-ranked West Linn on Friday improved to 3-0 with a 42-41 win over St. Mary’s. The Lions had upset South Salem 37-29 earlier in the week.

Lake Oswego on Friday improved to 3-0, routing Franklin 79-23; Canby improved to 2-0, handling Roseburg 67-46.

Oregon City

guys stumble

Oregon City boys on Friday tasted their first defeat of the season, yielding 73-60 to eighth-ranked Tigard.

After a sluggish start, the Pioneers made a game of it. Tigard came out fast and went up 11-0 before the Pioneers could catch their breath.

The Pioneers battled and closed to within 34-32 two minutes into the third quarter.

But then the Tigers went on a 9-0 run when the Pioneers missed six straight shots. Oregon City had to come out of its zone defense, and the Tigers took command.

“Tigard’s a great team and we came out really slow, just like we did in the Tualatin and The Dalles games,” said Oregon City senior leader Brad Martin. “We need to work on starting games strong, and coming out strong in the second half.”

Martin (20 points), Hunter Knighton (13 points) and Briggs Young (13 points, 5 assists) headed Oregon City’s offense. The Pioneers hit nine 3-pointers, led by Martin and Knighton, who had three apiece.

Oregon City guys (2-1) took care of business at The Dalles earlier in the week, outscoring the Indians 32-20 in the second half en route to a 49-36 victory.

Trevon Bradford, who sat out Friday’s game for disciplinary reasons, and Knighton headed the scoring at The Dalles, with 15 points apiece. Knighton hit three 3-pointers and he led the Pioneers on the backboards, with six rebounds. Bradford had three assists and three steals.

Oregon City squares off with Centennial at 7 p.m. this Friday on the first day of a two-day tournament at Oregon City. The Pioneers head for a tournament in Ketchikan, Alaska, after Christmas.

Three Rivers League boys basketball teams have been as competitive as the girls’ teams in early preseason, winning 14 of their first 17 games.

Fifth-ranked Lake Oswego improved to 3-0 on Friday, winning 63-41 at 13th-ranked McMinnville.

Seventh-ranked Clackamas also improved to 3-0, winning 65-46 at Cleveland and 74-53 over Sprague.

Unheralded Canby (2-0) opened its season with convincing wins over Roseburg (57-44) and Thurston (62-53).

Lakeridge improved to 3-1 with a 62-53 win at Centennial on Friday.

Top-ranked West Linn (1-1) met its match in a match-up with Class 5A power Jefferson, losing 75-66.

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