Week three of 6A Portland high school basketball league play is in the books. Here are five observations I had from last week’s action.
1.) Boys: No. 3 Central Catholic back on top of Mt. Hood Conference.
The madness that is the 2015 Mt. Hood Conference season continued again this week. The latest seven days of chaos ended with a familiar result: Central Catholic (13-3, 5-1) alone at the top.
The Rams, still without all-state point guard Deante Strickland, took care of business after dropping their first league game of the season to No. 8 Clackamas (12-4, 4-2). Central Catholic knocked off Barlow (12-4, 3-3) 52-38 and Gresham (5-11, 0-6) 45-25 to move to 5-1 in conference play.
Meanwhile, each of the teams that were tied with the Rams at the beginning of the week had a slip up. No. 5 David Douglas suffered a 72-64 road loss to Oregon City (9-7, 4-2) on Tuesday. The Pioneers dropped a 54-53 heart-breaker to Barlow on Friday after Parker Joncus hit a game-winning three-pointer as time expired. Clackamas saw their three-game winning streak come to an end with a 73-66 loss to Reynolds (10-6, 3-3) on Friday night.
The Scots, Pioneers and Cavaliers each sit at 4-2 in conference play, a game back of Central Catholic.
Reynolds and Barlow linger at 3-3 in league play, and have proven they can beat any team in the conference.
2.) Boys: PIL is No. 4 Jefferson’s to take again.
Jefferson (9-4, 6-1) was given two gifts this week from Cleveland. The surprising gift came when the Warriors (9-6, 3-4) beat Lincoln (10-5, 6-1) 66-48 on Tuesday night. The Cardinals were undefeated in the PIL coming into the game, including a 65-64 win over the Democrats. Cleveland’s win dropped Lincoln back into a first place tie with Jefferson. Both teams are now 6-1 in the PIL.
Jefferson’s second gift was a 69-42 win over the Warriors on Friday night. The Democrats have been on a roll since losing to the Cardinals in the PIL Showcase. Jefferson has outscored their opponents 84-49 during their four-game winning streak. The Democrats’ opponents, who combine for a 10-18 PIL record, haven’t been the toughest competition though.
The loss by Lincoln was huge to pull Jefferson back even at the top. With their guard play and 6-foot-10 center Isaiah Robinson making triple-doubles a weekly occurrence, it’s hard to imagine the Democrats being tested by any team besides the Cardinals. A rematch that could potentially decide the league’s champion looms Feb. 10. In my opinion, Jefferson has to be the favorite.
3.) Girls: Grant proves to be PIL favorite.
Speaking of PIL favorites, Grant (12-3, 8-0) showed they are the favorite on the girls side with a 54-35 win on Friday night over Lincoln (10-5, 6-1), who was previously unbeaten in league play. The Generals are averaging 81 points per game in league play. Only No. 3 South Medford is averaging more points per game this season.
While Grant’s scoring average is certainly eye-opening, their defense deserves just as much of the attention. The Generals are only giving up 39.7 points in league play. Their full-court defense, a page out of No. 2 Oregon City’s book, consistently wears teams down, like it did Lincoln on Friday night.
The Generals are athletic and young. Their top two scorers, guard Nina Radford and wing Khiarica Rasheed, are just sophomores. Reagan Mims, another weapon on the offensive end, is just a junior.
Head coach Michael Bontemps said his team is starting to believe in how good they can be. They’ve climbed to No. 15 in the OSAA rankings and appear to be the PIL’s best chance of picking up a win in the postseason. Their nine-game winning streak has them deservedly confident.
4.) Girls: Southridge a force in the Metro League.
When Southridge finished non-conference play with a 4-6 record, they were easily dismissed as a contender in the Metro League. No. 4 Beaverton (13-2, 5-0), No. 6 Jesuit (11-4, 4-1), and Glencoe (9-6, 1-4), who defeated No. 5 St. Mary’s (12-4, 8-0), were perceived to be the top dogs. The Skyhawks were an afterthought. They no longer are.
Southridge has ripped off five straight wins to open up conference play, including a 52-46 win over Jesuit. This week, the Skyhawks picked up two nail-biting wins. The first was a 46-45 victory over a young, but improving Sunset team (7-8, 2-3). Southridge needed extra time to hold off Glencoe 55-46 on Friday night.
The Skyhawks are 7-2 this season against teams from Oregon. One of their losses came to No. 9 Clackamas in the second game of the season. They have senior leadership with forward Margaret Brock, guard MaKenna Bell and wing Kaley Fieldhouse. The addition of freshman forward Natalie Hoff has been a boost as well.
Southridge will get an opportunity to take over sole possession of first place in the Metro League when they go on the road to face Beaverton on Tuesday.
5.) Boys: Good week for Sherwood, tough week for Lake Oswego.
Sherwood was in the middle of a rough season entering the week. The Bowmen were 5-8 and 1-2 in the Three Rivers League. Their lone league win was against Canby, who is winless in conference play.
Sherwood picked up their two best wins of the season this week over Tigard (10-5, 3-2) 65-51 on Tuesday, and over Lakeridge (9-6, 2-3) 48-46 on Friday.
Whether it’s getting used to playing at the 6A level, or just the team finally jelling, the Bowmen suddenly find themselves tied for second place in the Three Rivers League with a 3-2 record.
While Sherwood’s win over Lakeridge was part of their big week, Lake Oswego’s (8-7, 3-2) first loss in over a decade to the Pacers was part of their tough week.
The Lakers entered the week 3-0 in league play with an opportunity to possibly take over first place with an upset over No. 1 West Linn. However, Lake Oswego’s 68-63 loss to Lakeridge on Tuesday night prevented a battle between two undefeated league teams on Friday night. The Lakers struggled mightily against the Lions, as many teams have this season, and fell 73-57 to cap off the tough week.
It’s not all bad for the Lakers though. They’re still 3-2, which as mentioned earlier, is still good enough for a second place tie in the Three Rivers League. They face Newberg and Tigard next week, which will be crucial games in terms of breaking up the log-jam in the middle of the league’s standings (second place through seventh place is separated by just one game).