Clackamas falls 61-39, makes early exit from 6A girls' basketball playoff
The Clackamas Cavaliers saw their season come to an end Thursday night with a 61-39 loss to Beaverton in the opening round of the OSAA Class 6A girls' basketball playoffs.
Beaverton's Jordyn Reverman scored 13 of her team-high 16 points in the first half and led five players in double figures for the No. 5-ranked Beavers (16-10), who will play host to South Salem in Saturday's second round.
Clackamas' Kalani Hayes led all scorers with 24 points and Olivia Morris added eight for the Cavaliers (12-13), who trailed 23-12 at the end of the first quarter and never cut the deficit below double digits after that.
"We knew this was not going to be easy," Hayes said. "We knew that Beaverton was really talented, but we really worked hard this week to prepare for this game and we came out here and tried our best.
"I would have loved to have won, but I'm happy with my season. I got to finish with my best friends and there is nothing more I could have asked for."
For Hayes, Morris, and the other five Clackamas seniors -- Payten Benedict, Lily Bui, Hallie Byzewski, Maddy Filler, and Payton Mongelli -- Thursday's game marked the end of a four-year run that saw the Cavaliers 78-29 win one league championship and make two appearances in the state quarterfinals.
"I can't believe it's over," Hayes said. "It's a lot sadder than I thought it was going to be, for sure. You just feel like it's never going to come to an end, and then it does."
Clearly, Beaverton was the better team Thursday, but the final result was still bittersweet for a Cavaliers' team that has had its share of deep playoff runs in recent years, including a trip to the 2011 final and quarterfinal appearances in 2013, 2014, 2017, and 2018.
"I don't think we were quite ready to be done," Cavaliers coach Korey Landolt said. "I don't think anybody who goes out in the first round is ever ready to be done.
"Our season has been a little bit of a roller-coaster and we lost a lot of games at the beginning of the season, but I've watched this group come together and it's a pretty special group, so it's sad that it's over."
Clackamas started the season 0-10 in non-conference play, which dealt a serious blow to the team's power ranking. Moving on to Mt. Hood Conference did little to push the Cavaliers up in the rankings, although they made the best of it, going 12-2 in league and splitting the two-game season series with league champion Central Catholic.
"We started off very, very shaky, and then I think we definitely proved over the course of the season that we're not that team that started 0-10 in preseason," Hayes said.
The Cavaliers won six straight and 10 of their last 11 to close out the regular season, hinting that they might be a team that was ready to make a Cinderella run in the playoffs.
But that didn't happen. The Beavers were just too good.
"Beaverton has got talent and size and strength and … I mean, they have everything," Landolt said. "They're poised, they have good shooters, and if you double down inside, you've got a shooter waiting on the outside. So, they're a really hard match-up and they're going to go far, I think."
Clackamas scored first and then Beaverton reeled off the next four baskets including a 3-pointer by Sydney Erikstrup to take a 9-2 lead.
The Cavaliers twice cut the lead to four points. First, when Morris scored on a lay-up with an assist from Mongelli to make it 11-7, and again when Hayes hit a short bank shot that made it 16-12.
The Beavers then closed the first quarter on a 7-0 run and opened the second quarter on a 7-1 burst to take a 30-13 lead.
"Beaverton really had a counter for much of what we were trying to do," Landolt said. "We put our best foot forward and our kids played their butts off, but when we just can't quite convert on the offensive end and we're working our teals off on the defensive end, it wears you down after some time."
With the loss of seven seniors, Clackamas obviously will have some retooling to do, but it's not as if the Cavaliers will be starting from square one.
"We were able to get some younger kids some decent time, especially in league play," Landolt said. "So, I'm excited about the future of the Cavaliers. It's going to be weird when the school splits in a couple of years, but that's not going to affect us next year.
"We're definitely not starting over. We have a lot of kids this year that gained a lot of experience. The question is whether some of those JV kids are going to be ready to step up and become varsity players.
"As a coach, that's exciting for me, because now all of a sudden kids that have been working really hard have an open door to really show what they can do and step up in ways that maybe they haven't been asked to step up before."
CLACKAMAS 12 14 6 7 -- 39
BEAVERTON 23 17 11 10 -- 61
Clackamas (39) -- Kalani Hayes 24, Morris 8, Mongelli 1, Filler 2, Byzewski 2, S. Benedict 2, Bui, Wetzell, Garcia, P. Benedict, Peterson, Vancil, Henderson, Tacheny.
Beaverton (61) -- Jordyn Reverman 16, Borter 13, M.K. Naro 11, L. Erikstrup 11, S. Erickstrup 10, Ma. Naro, Baker, K. Pfleiger, Torres, Potts.