Playoff wrapup: Good year ends on sour note for the Jags
No one said it would be easy, but the Century girls' basketball team may have bitten off a little more than they could chew when they faced the No. 3-ranked Benson Techsters in the second round of the OSAA state playoffs last Saturday, March 2, at Benson High School in Portland.
"They're good on film, but when you see them in person it's like, 'Wow,'" said Century head coach Dave Gainey.
The Techsters (23-4), who boast four players 6 feet or taller, jumped all over the Jags, taking a 34-9 first-quarter lead. Benson's size and athleticism was lethal in the half-court and even more so in its full-court press. The Techsters suffocated an overwhelmed Century team early, then cruised to an easy 88-46 home win.
"They're very tall and athletic, and you can't simulate that stuff in practice," Gainey said. "I couldn't believe how well their big kids ran. They turned up the pressure and we turned it over quite a bit before we got comfortable ... then it was too late."
The coach said his girls were disappointed with the margin by which they lost, but he also stated he thought they might think more highly of their effort after they see what the Techsters do to their competition down the road.
"I'll be shocked if they don't make it to the state championship game," said the coach. "They're by far the best team I've seen all season. They were disciplined, and when they get a steal, they just fly to the rim."
Century advanced to last Saturday's game on the heels of an inspired first-round win over St. Mary's Academy, beating the Blues 68-44 on Thursday, Feb. 28, at home.
"It was fantastic," said Gainey. "We were a little nervous regarding the size of the crowd we'd get, but the kids did a really nice job of getting their friends to come, and we had a really nice crowd."
The Jaguars were led past St. Mary's by Angie Baltazar's 15 points, but they got contributions from a number of different girls, including Janelle Maligaya and Amy Walkenhorst, who scored 13 apiece; Barakat Rahmon, who tallied 14 points; and Sarah Gruber, who grabbed eight rebounds.
Gainey said there was some trepidation entering the contest regarding how his girls would respond to the added pressure of the postseason, but after building an early lead, the coach said you could see the confidence grow by the minute.
"When we were up at halftime, you could see in the girls faces that they really believed," said the coach. "They knew they belonged, and they played like it."
Century loses a couple key contributors heading into the 2019-20 season, including All-League first-teamer Maligaya, but the Jaguars are expected to return three of their four leading scorers. Gainey is excited for what could be another successful season next winter.
"The league should be pretty good, but I think our kids believe now, which is what I was hoping would happen," Gainey said.
First-round games, Feb. 28:
Liberty 73, Westview 66
The Falcons won a hard-fought, see-saw battle with the Metro League's Wildcats, pulling away late in a first-round win at Liberty High School.
Liberty was led by sophomore guard Taylin Smith, who scored 26 points, including 15 in a first half that saw 11 lead changes.
"I thought we did really well," Smith said. "We fed off each other's energy. You know, one person would make a big play and the other person would just feed off of it, and that just worked."
Clara Robbins also contributed mightily to the Falcons' effort, combining with fellow post Breeze Bartle for 28 points and 16 rebounds. The 6-foot junior attributed much of her and the team's success to the home crowd, which, by her account, brought an unprecedented level of energy.
"I definitely felt a different level of intensity tonight," said Robbins. "We usually don't have that big of a student section. I was really surprised. ... It was cool to have a great environment to play in, and it definitely helped lead to our success."
Westview was led by Nicole Flennaugh, who scored 26 points in defeat.
South Medford 72, Forest Grove 39
The Vikings' (13-12) season came to an end with a lopsided defeat at the hands of the No. 8-ranked Panthers.
South Medford (23-4) took a four-point lead after a quarter, then blew open the game in the second and third quarters, combining to outscore visiting Forest Grove 46-22 to build a 58-30 lead after three quarters.
The loss was the 10th in the Vikings' last 12 games and a rather disappointing way to end an up-and-down 2019 season. Forest Grove was young and is set to return all but three of its varsity roster, including four of five starters.
The Viks were led by sophomore Amanda Rebsom, who tallied nine points; fellow sophomore Kendal Thrush, who added eight; and junior post Olivia Grosse, who also scored eight.
The Panthers were led by sophomore guard Toni Coleman, who scored 14 points, including nine in the second quarter, all from behind the arc.
Grant 63, Glencoe 39
Grant's Monka Hickok was just too much for Glencoe, scoring 31 points, including 11 in the first quarter, en route to a 63-39 win at Marshall High School.
The Generals (17-9) led by 12 after a quarter, 17 at the half and 22 headed to the fourth, proving just too much for a third-place Crimson Tide team from the Pacific Conference.
Glencoe (13-12) was led by Morgan DeBord, who scored 11 points; Breauna Van Dyke, who scored seven; and Brianna Ball, who added six.
Springfield 67, Hillsboro 39
The Spartan girls' season came to an abrupt end Saturday, March 2, at No. 3-ranked Springfield.
The Millers (24-4) had four players score in double figures, including Emma McKenney, who led all scorers with 21, including four three-pointers. In all, Springfield shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from the three-point line, making 7 of 14 shots from behind the arc. The Spartans were led by junior Rian Porter, who scored 14 points while grabbing eight rebounds.
Springfield outscored the Spartans 17-10 in the first quarter, but the home team led just 25-21 at the half. The lead grew to 44-34 after three quarters before the Millers ran away from Hillsboro in the fourth quarter.
Hillsboro (13-11) was outscored 30-16 in the paint and 21-2 in points off of turnovers.