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Sydney Benedit knocked down four 3-pointers and finished with a game-high 25 points to lead the Cavaliers to a home win Friday

PMG PHOTO: JIM BESEDA - Sandy's Grace Lucky (with ball) looks to make a pass under pressure from Clackamas' Anna Henderson and Kalli So during the first half of Friday's Mt. Hood Conference girls basketball game.Clackamas' Sydney Benedict scored 17 of her game-high 25 points in the first half, leading the Cavaliers to a 70-22 blowout win Friday over the Sandy Pioneers in their Mt. Hood Conference opener at Clackamas High School.

Sophie Schweitzer scored 10 points off the Clackamas bench and Kiah Wetzell added nine points to help the Cavaliers (4-7, 1-0 Mt. Hood) snap a two-game skid.

"This win meant a lot to us because we did a lot of things better than we had been struggling with," Cavaliers coach Korey Landolt said. "One of the positives for me was that they didn't give up on anything and their effort stayed high and their intensity stayed high from start to finish."

Sydney Brewster led Sandy with seven points and Brooklyn Adams added six for the Pioneers (3-8, 1-0), who lost their fourth in a row.

"We played a team that's better than us," Pioneers coach Dave Brown said. "Clackamas is just a little deeper, and we forgot some things and we didn't execute very well, and that probably had a lot more to do with them than us, maybe."

Clackamas set the tone with some high-pressure defense that forced six Sandy turnovers in the first four minutes, fueling a 15-0 run to open the game.

"One of the things we'd talked about was playing with energy," Landolt said. "We wanted to full-court press, but we forced a lot of turnovers with our half-court defense too, which showed a continuation of effort.

"It was nice to see them fly around for a whole possession, and even if we didn't get a turnover right away, they kept with it and they kept rotating and doing the things we've been working on."

Clackamas' first-quarter scoring was highlighted by four 3-pointers — Benedict with two, Ava Peterson with one, and Paige Vancil with another — as the Cavaliers raced to a 25-2 lead.

Clackamas piled on after that, extending the lead to 44-12 at halftime and 56-20 at the end of the third quarter.

Kiah Wetzell finished with nine points and Bella Garcia added seven for the Cavaliers.

"I told them in post-game, 'Doesn't it feel nice to put some points on the board?'" Landolt said. "We scored 39 on Tuesday against Jesuit, which is way below the grade that I think the kids can play at. These kids can put the ball in the hole, but sometimes we just have such a mental block.

"I wasn't really paying attention to the score because I just wanted us, play by play, to execute and do better at the things that we haven't been super-good at."

Sandy had one two-minute stretch at the end of the third quarter when Jaclyn McCrea forced a turnover and scored and Trinity Hill knocked down a jumper to key a 6-2 run, but there weren't too many other highlights for the Pioneers.

"I think one thing that bugged me was we gave up way too many offensive rebounds," Brown said. "That's not necessarily about skill. That's more about work, so I don't think we worked hard enough on boxing out.

"I can accept the fact that Clackamas can do some things better than we can and sometimes teams are just better, but we can still play hard and we can work hard and we can stop some things."

Sandy returns home next week for league games Tuesday against David Douglas and Friday against Reynolds.

Clackamas is scheduled to hit the road Tuesday to face Centennial and then returns home Friday to take on Central Catholic.

By Jim Beseda
Sports editor
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