The No. 2 Oregon City Pioneers (10-2, 2-0) girls basketball team held No. 6 Clackamas (8-4, 1-1) to two points in the fourth quarter of a 51-36 road win Friday night.
“I love our half-court defense and I love that they’re winners,” Oregon City head coach Kurt Guelsdorf said of his team. “They’re winners and kids that know how to get things done in the fourth quarter.”
The final score made the game look lopsided, but that wasn’t the case. Clackamas trailed just 40-36 with five minutes remaining. The Pioneers, who led for most of the game, stayed poised and got a huge contribution from an unlikely hero off the bench.
“Lindsi Peters came in and made a couple big plays,” Guesldorf said.
The 5-foot-4 guard didn’t have any points when she re-entered the game in the fourth quarter. With 4:40 remaining and her team desperate for a basket, Peters banked in a three-pointer to give the Pioneers their first points of the fourth quarter.
Peters followed the bank-in-three with a determined drive to the basket. She converted a right-handed layup and was fouled on the play. Peters missed the free throw, but in the span of 50 seconds she completely changed the outlook of the final four minutes of the game.
“She came in and it was a four-point game,” Guelsdorf said “We got lucky with a bank shot, and then we got a great drive from her with the and-one. It really made a huge difference.”
“A potential four-point game becomes a nine-point game,” Clackamas head coach Todd Lane said. “Against a team like Oregon City, if you score 36 points in three and a half quarters, you’re not going to be able to score 12 in a minute and a half.”
Those were the only five points for Peters, but they forced Clackamas out of their deliberate half-court offense. The Cavaliers fired up three-pointers and failed to score a basket the rest of the game. Missed free throws also cost Clackamas. On the other end, the Pioneers put the finishing touches on the win at the charity stripe.
Before the tide completely turned in favor of Oregon City, it was a game of runs that swung momentum back and forth.
Clackamas led 19-17 early in the second quarter and had a big advantage on the offensive boards. Then, Oregon City limited the Cavaliers to one shot and went on a 11-0 run to go up 28-19. Clackamas responded in the second half with a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 33-31 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Made field goals were hard to come by the rest of the game.
“There were just stretches both teams hit where they couldn’t score,” Guesldorf said. “We had a couple more stretches where we got a couple buckets.”
Junior guard Cierra Walker led the Pioneers with 17 points. She also added six rebounds and six assists.
The Pioneers never backed down from 6-foot-3 forward Peyton Carroll. Oregon City 5-foot-11 forward Taylor Shaw consistently battled Clackamas’ top player in the paint. Shaw finished with 15 points and six rebounds. She also helped hold Carroll to just nine points.
“Sometimes those 6’3″ kids are facing a little more athletic 5’9″ kids,” Guesldorf said. “We tried to take advantage of that a little bit in some of the schemes.”
Shaw held up her end of the bargain on the scoreboard and on the glass. She and 5-foot-10 forward Taylor Knighton each had six boards to tie Walker as the team leaders. The undersized Pioneers actually out-rebounded the Cavaliers 29-28 by game’s end.
“You got to get rebounds and you got to take care of the ball to close out games,” Guelsdorf said. “For the most part, we did that.”
Marissa Kelly led Clackamas with 11 points. Erin McDonald added 10 for the Cavaliers.
The win is truly Oregon City’s first in league play. The Pioneers won by forfeit earlier this week in a game scheduled against Reynolds. Next up for Oregon City is a home matchup against Gresham on Tuesday.
The loss snaps a three-game winning streak for Clackamas. The Cavaliers will host Barlow Tuesday night.