Week 4 league preview: Top five games

Week 4 league preview: Top five games

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Week 4 league preview: Top five games

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Cierra Walker will look to lead No. 2 Oregon City to a win over No. 8 Central Catholic.

Cierra Walker will look to lead No. 2 Oregon City to a win over No. 8 Central Catholic.

Another week of 6A Portland high school basketball has passed us by. We’ve already taken a look at the week that was.

Now, let’s look forward to the exciting week ahead. Here are the top five 6A boys and girls basketball games in the week to come.

1.) Girls: No. 8 Central Catholic (10-6, 6-0) vs. No. 2 Oregon City (14-2, 6-0), Friday 6:00 p.m.

This is the first league battle between two teams that will be fighting for the Mt. Hood Conference title the rest of the season.

The Rams started the season 4-6 but have won each of their six league games by at least seven points, including a win over No. 9 Clackamas. They are led by senior, 6-foot post Jerusha Paine, who is averaging 17 points and eight rebounds per game this season, which should be an advantage against a smaller Oregon City team.

The Pioneers are led by junior 5-foot-9 guard Cierra Walker, who is making a case for 6A Player of the Year. However, the Pioneers are a work-in-progress inside. Taylor Shaw is their top post player and may draw the assignment of guarding Paine. Oregon City has struggled to score at times this season, including just 41 points and 38 points in their two losses, because of their reliance on perimeter shooting.

These two teams already played in a non-league contest at the Nike Interstate Shootout, with Oregon City winning 43-36. The Rams will need the game to be low scoring again to pull off the minor upset.

2a.) Girls: No. 4 Beaverton (13-2, 5-0) vs. No. 6 Jesuit (11-4, 4-1), Friday 7:15 p.m.

This is listed as “2a” because Beaverton plays their two toughest opponents in the Metro League this week. Each game is equally as important in terms of conference standings. Friday night’s game might get more attention because of the No. 6 state ranking the Crusaders hold, despite their 52-46 loss to Southridge earlier in league play.

Jesuit will rely junior forward Kory Oleson to pace the offense. She is coming off a career-high 30 points in Jesuit’s win over Century on Friday. This game will be crucial for the Crusaders in order to stay in the hunt for the Metro League, especially if Beaverton wins on Tuesday. A two-game deficit to the Beavers could be too much to make up.

2b.) Girls: Southridge (9-6, 5-0) vs. No. 4 Beaverton, Tuesday 7:15 p.m.

While Beaverton’s showdown with Jesuit will be highly anticipated, they must first take care of business against the team they are currently tied with at the top of the Metro League.

The Beavers have been consistent this season. They’ve won all of their league games by double figures, and their only two losses were blowouts to the top two ranked teams in the states. They have stellar senior experience from 6-foot-2 forward Dagny McConnell, guard Gigi Stool and guard Allie Mueller.

That senior leadership will be matched by Southridge’s trio of seniors: forward Margaret Brock, guard MaKenna Bell and wing Kaley Fieldhouse. Possible intriguing matchups include McConnell vs. Brock and Stoll vs. Bell.

A win for Beaverton would finally put them in complete control of their league destiny. A Skyhawks win would be an announcement to the entire state that they will be a serious contender come March.

3.) Boys: No. 3 Central Catholic (13-3, 5-1) vs. Oregon City (9-7, 4-2), Friday 7:30 p.m.

If anything is certain in the Mt. Hood Conference this year, it’s that anything can happen.

Central Catholic is still without all-state point guard Deante Strickland. The fact that the Rams are 3-1 without Strickland speaks to the talent and depth of their team. But, it still leaves them a little more vulnerable to an upset.

The Pioneers would be tied with Central Catholic at 5-1 in league if it wasn’t for a game-winning shot by Barlow’s Parker Joncus as time-expired on Friday night. Oregon City has proven they can beat the top teams in the state. They have already defeated No. 8 Clackamas, with a game-winning shot of their own, and beat No. 5 David Douglas 72-64 last week.

A win for the Pioneers keeps them in the hunt for a conference title. A loss might drop them too far back to make up ground. A Central Catholic win keeps the Rams in first place and clears out a little bit of the log-jam in second place (David Douglas, Clackamas and Oregon City are tied at 4-2).

4.) Boys: No. 5 David Douglas (14-2, 4-2) vs. No. 8 Clackamas (12-4, 4-2), Friday 7:30 p.m.

Speaking of clearing out second place log-jams, this game will assist in that task as well. Both teams suffered tough road losses last week and need a win to keep pace with Central Catholic going into the second half of the league season.

The Scots fell to Oregon City before bouncing back with a win over Centennial last week. The Cavaliers had their three-game winning streak, which included a win over Central Catholic, snapped by Reynolds Friday night after allowing Oregon State commit Drew Eubanks to score 30 points.

In order to get back on the winning side, Clackamas will have to do a better job preventing defending junior guard Charles Jones, one of the top scorers in the conference. Look for senior 6-foot-4 forward Markus Golder to take the offensive lead for the Cavaliers.

5.) Boys: No. 1 West Linn (12-3, 5-0) vs. Tigard (10-5, 3-2), Tuesday 7:15 p.m.

The Lions continue to roll through Oregon competition. They have won 32 straight games against Oregon teams. Their closest win in league play this season was a 15-point victory. They have been the most impressive team this season and are favorites to win the state championship for the third consecutive year.

If West Linn is going to lose again in the regular season though, this might be the most likely game for it to happen. Tuesday night’s matchup will be West Linn’s second of a stretch in which they play six of seven games on the road.

The biggest key for Tigard will be slowing the tempo. Tigard has size and length. All but three of their players stand at 6-feet or taller. If Tigard can force West Linn to score in the half-court, their length might be able to disrupt enough shots and passing lanes to slow down the Lions’ potent offense.

It’s going to take a nearly perfect performance. If the Tigers aren’t perfect, West Linn will continue to eliminate what little drama might remain at the top of the Three Rivers League standings.

Other games of note:

Boys

Beaverton vs. Southridge, Tuesday 7:15 p.m.

Lake Oswego vs. Newberg, Tuesday 7:15 p.m.

Barlow vs. Reynolds, Friday 6:00 p.m.

Jesuit vs. Beaverton, Friday 7:15 p.m.

Tigard vs. Lake Oswego, Friday 7:15 p.m.

Girls

Tualatin vs. Canby, Tuesday 6:45 p.m.

Wilson vs. Roosevelt, Friday 6:30 p.m.

Tigard vs. St. Mary’s, Friday 7:00 p.m.

Gresham vs. Centennial, Friday 6:00 p.m.

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