High School

One for the ages: Clackamas knocks off West Linn to advance to finals

One for the ages: Clackamas knocks off West Linn to advance to finals

Wow… just, wow. This was, by far, the most entertaining, competitive, and nail-biting game of the playoffs. 

Behind the hot hand of star point guard Elijah Gonzales, the Clackamas Cavaliers upset the four-time defending champion West Linn Lions to advance to the state championship game.

Clackamas came out firing right out of the gate to the take the 14-4 lead, but West Linn quickly answered with a 12-2 run of it’s own to tie the ballgame at 16. When the first quarter ended, West Linn held the 21-19 lead.

Clackamas, however, never wavered. Gonzalez and company kept attacking West Linn. Everytime West Linn threw a haymaker, Clackamas threw one right back.

Threes answered threes. Dunks answered dunks. Play after play these two teams kept us on the edge of our seat.

Then, in the most befitting end imaginable, it came down to the final plays. 

With just over a minute to go the Cavaliers led 70-68. After a few trips to the line, Clackamas held a 73-68 lead with just 45 seconds remaining. West Linn would drill a three pointer to cut the lead to just two points, but it was the last time the Lions would add points to the scoreboard. Clackamas locked down on defense, and hit key free throws to extend the lead, and pick up the win.

For the first time since 2012, when Jesuit beat Lake Oswego to win it all, West Linn will not play in the championship game. The Clackamas win also brings an end to West Linn’s quest to be the first team to ever win five straight state titles.

FINAL SCORE: Clackamas 78 – West Linn 71

Clackamas now moves on to face Jefferson in the state title game.



Points: Nolan Bertain, 17

Rebounds: Nolan Bertain and Keishon Dawkins, 8 each

Assists: Braden Olsen, 5


Points: Elijah Gonzales, 35

Rebounds: Matt O’Brien, 11

Assists: Matt O'Brien, 3

RIP Don Matthews -- just about the best football coach I ever saw

RIP Don Matthews -- just about the best football coach I ever saw

I have always believed he was the greatest high school football coach in Oregon's history, even though his career in the state was short. And as I look back and consider his resume, he may have been the greatest football coach -- including college -- to ever work in Oregon.

Don Matthews, retired and living in Beaverton, passed away Wednesday at 77, after a five-year battle with cancer.

He showed up as the head football caoch at Sunset High School in 1974, taking over a team that was winless the prior season. He won three games in his first year, then captured a state championship the next. The following season he went undefeated and won the state title again. His teams played ferocious defense and used a veer-option offense that seemed at times unstoppable.

He was confident and had more swagger than any prep coach I've ever seen. He'd tell you he'd play any team in the state at any place they wanted. Once, betore taking the Apollos to Roseburg, he told me, "We'll play them in their parking lot, if they want." He could be irascible, profane and distant. But man, could he coach. I always thought he was one of those rare coaches who could beat you with HIS players or walk to the other side of the field and beat you with YOUR players.

You probably haven't heard of him unless you've been around for a while -- or were a fan of the Canadian Football League.

Matthews owned the CFL. That league posted a tribute to him that details his record in that league. He got his start in the CFL when then-Edmonton coach Hugh Campbell brough him up to coach linebackers after the second state title at Sunset. The rest was history.

Matthews retired as the league's all-time winningest coach. He won the Grey Cup five times (and appered in it nine times) and was five times named the league's coach of the year. And he could win anywhere. His Cup wins were in British Columbia, Baltimore (yes, briefly in the CFL), Toronto and Montreal. During his tenure he may have coached the two greatest American players ever to play above the border -- Warren Moon and Doug Flutie.

His halftime adjustments at Sunset were legendary, as were his motivational tactics. I can't say enough for his ability to coach both sides of the ball and figure out ways to win. He was charismatic and unique.

RIP, Coach. A whole lot of people will remember you forever.

Southridge wastes no time, claims first title since 2010


Southridge wastes no time, claims first title since 2010

It had been seven years since the Southridge Skyhawks had an opportunity to play for the state title. On Saturday, with that in tow, they wasted little time in taking it back. 

With their 42-27 win over the Oregon City Pioneers, the Skyhawks are once again OSAA 6A champions. 

Led by Maggie Freeman, and her 15 first half points, Southridge jumped out to a 31-12 halftime lead, held on tight during a demonstrative third quarter rally by the Pioneers, then pulled away late. 

Southridge, who has been ranked #1 all season long, survived a rugged performance from Grant on Friday night before putting it together on Saturday, looking just like the team everyone expected to roll through the tournament. 

Alongside Freeman's 15, Kaelin Immel (10 points) and Cameron Brink (6 points and 5 rebounds) helped anchor the Skyhawks' attack. It was their defense, however, that stole the show. Southridge did not allow the Pioneers to score in double figures during any quarter, utilizing their full-court press to maximum effect. 

The Skyhawks started the season as the best team in the state. They finished, emphatically, in the same spot. 


Furious rally gives South Salem the win


Furious rally gives South Salem the win

For nearly three quarters on Saturday night, the South Salem Saxons looked like they were still stuck in the mud After an inauspicious start to the day. 

After that, Evina Westbrook decided enough was enough.

The senior did a bit of everything in the second half: steals, assists, taking charges. Above all else, she took the ball to the basket and Grant had absolutely no way to stop her. South Salem would go on to win 58-53.

Westbrook would finish with 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists. Her overall impact on the game, however, is not quantifiable. 

Grant jumped out to a 10-0 lead, then 16-4, before settling into a 10 point halftime lead. After that, Westbrook and her teammates slowly began to chip away. Dana Hartley would finish with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 3 assists for the Saxons as well, capping off a wild and turbulent day with the best possible outcome.

South Salem Girls' bus broken into; gear stolen, player grazed by car


South Salem Girls' bus broken into; gear stolen, player grazed by car

It was a near comical situation turned serious Saturday for the South Salem girls basketball team as they prepared for their 3rd-place game against Grant.

Earlier in the day, while the team was dining in downtown Portland, the bus transporting them - and housing their gear - was broken into. The suspect got away with a few pieces of gear, but the scene turned dangerous when the getaway car grazed the leg of one girl, while a dog that was in the car bit the forearm of another player.

Names of the girls involved were not released.

"He sped off, and his car grazed one of our girls. And then the dog bit another's forearm. At this point, two girls are still missing their gear, as well," said South Salem head coach Nick Mcwilliams.

Neither of the girls' injuries is believed to be serious. As of 20 minutes before tipoff, the two girls whose had their gear stolen remained seated on the bench, in street clothes, while their teammates warmed up.  

South Salem takes on Grant from the Chiles Center with third-place in state on the line.

Jefferson hangs on late, wins 6A Boys state title


Jefferson hangs on late, wins 6A Boys state title

It was all we asked for, and so much more.

On a cold and rainy Saturday, Jefferson and Clackamas engaged in an instant classic, with the Democrats of Jefferson eventually claiming the 6A OSAA Boys state championship, 70-67, in front of a raucous and bewildered sellout crowd. 

Geno West carried the Democrats in the second half, helping to fend off the feisty Cavaliers, who took out West Linn on Friday and looked poised to do it again. 

After a tie game at 34 entering the half, Jefferson jumped out quick in the third quarter, eventually grabbing an 8-point lead before the Cavaliers stormed back. They would lead by as many as four, but in the end, West and his teammates made too many plays down the stretch. 

West would finish with 28 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists. Thomas Miles finished with 20 points, and Kamaka Hepa had 20 rebounds for the Democrats. Elijah Gonzales had 22 for the Cavaliers, who finished off an impressive tournament run just short of their ultimate goal.

Pat Strickland, Jefferson's head coach, claims his fifth title.

West Linn sheds disappointment, finishes 3rd in State


West Linn sheds disappointment, finishes 3rd in State

It has been quite a while since West Linn has found themselves outside of the state title game. For the first two quarters on Saturday, it wasn't clear how much they enjoyed this new position.

Three minutes of second half play changed all of that.

Behind the dominant inside play of Keishon Dawkins and Khalid Thomas, the Lions took control of the Beaverton Beavers, growing the lead to as much as 19 before coasting to their 3rd-place finish in the state with a 71-58 win. 

Thomas and Dawkins took care of business on the inside, Braden Olsen controlled the tempo outside, and the Lions survived a spirited effort from Jake Estep and the Beaver.

Clackamas and Jefferson will do battle next for the 6A title.

Upset City: No. 6 Oregon City defeats No. 2 South Salem in semifinals


Upset City: No. 6 Oregon City defeats No. 2 South Salem in semifinals

No. 6 Oregon City was looking to get its second upset of the 6A Girls State Championships at Chiles Center on Friday night when OC took on No. 2 South Salem.  The South Salem Saxons were looking to advance and try to earn their third straight state title.

Midway through the first quarter, South Salem took a quick 9-4 lead.  Evina Westbrook led the charge for South Salem as she has done all season.  Westbrook finished with 11 points in the first half.

To end the first quarter, South Salem held a 12-7 lead. 

But Oregon City outscored South Salem, 18-6, in the second quarter.  The Saxons shot 21.7% from the field in the first half, while Oregon City shot 40% as a team to end the second quarter.

At halftime, Oregon City was up 25-18. 

It was Westbrook though, who led all scorers at the break with her 11 points on 4-of-15 shooting to help South Salem stay in the game.

Brooke Bullock energized Oregon City in the first half with nine points and two rebounds.

Oregon City continued to play with confidence in the third quarter taking a 44-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

For the game, Oregon City ended up shooting 43.9% and was able to hold South Salem to 30.8% from the field.  

The Oregon City Pioneers advance to Saturday's State Championship game with a 54-46 semifinals upset victory over South Salem.  OC will face No. 1 Southridge in the title game. 


Top performers:

South Salem

  Evina Westbrook, 25 

Rebounds:  Hannah Hersh, 9

Assist:  Evina Westbrook, 2



Oregon City

Points:  N’Dea Flye, 14

Rebounds:  Brooke Bullock, 8

Assist:   N’Dea Flye, 3

Southridge avoids the upset, advances to the state championship game


Southridge avoids the upset, advances to the state championship game

It was closer than we expected, but Southridge held on to advance to the 6A Girls state title game, beating the Grant Generals.

Grant kept it close most of the game, trailing by just one after the first quarter. However, in the second quarter the Skyhawks came out and created the cushion they needed. Southridge opened up the quarter on a 6-0 run, and held Grant to just four points.

Southridge held the 18-13 halftime lead, and despite it being a close score, those five points were just enough to win the game.  In face, if not for a last second desperation three from Grant the final score would have been a five-point win for Southridge.

It was a scare that not many saw coming, and Grant deserves a ton of credit for holding tough against the number one seed, unfortunately the Generals just didn’t have the power to take down the No.1 seed.

Final Score: Southridge: 36 – Grant 34



Points: Khiarica Rasheed, 11

Rebounds: Nina Radford, 9

Assists: Nina Radford, 3


Points: Maggie Freeman, 12

Rebounds: Cameron Brink, 11

Assists: Sofia Riverman, 4


No. 1 Jefferson, No. 4 Beaverton battle it out in semifinal showdown

No. 1 Jefferson, No. 4 Beaverton battle it out in semifinal showdown

The Beaverton Beavers looking for the upset on Friday afternoon as the Beavers matched up against the No. 1 Jefferson Democrats in the semifinals of the 6A State boys championships.  It was set to be a clash of Jefferson’s up-tempo offense vs. Beaverton’s gritty defense.

Midway through the first quarter, it was all tied up at seven apiece.  To end the first, the Beavers shot 45.5% as a team, while the Democrats ended the quarter shooting 77.8%.

After shooting lights out in the first quarter, Jefferson held a 19-14.

The Democrats cooled off in the second quarter.  Jefferson finished the second quarter shooting 50%, while Beaverton ended that half shooting 39.1% as a team.

At halftime, Jefferson went up 28-24 over Beaverton behind Marcus Tsohonis’ 11 points.  Tsohonis went 4-of-5 from the field in the first half.

Jake Estep of Beaverton led the charge for the Beavers with 11 points in the first half.  Estep was 4-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free throw line.

The Beavers kept it close in the third quarter, while holding Jefferson to 14 points in the third.  Beaverton was down 42-37 with one quarter left to play.

Jefferson's largets lead of the game was 12 points.  The Democrats outscored the Beavers, 21-17 in the final frame.

The number one seeded team avoids the upset with Jefferson beating Beaverton 63-54.  The Democrats now await the winner of No. 3 Clackamas vs. No. 2 West Linn.


Top performers:


  Geno West, 18

Rebounds:  Kamaka Hepa, 9

Assist:  Kamaka Hepa, 5



Points:  Jake Estep, 15

Rebounds:  Hunter Sweet, 9

Assist:  Cole Johanson, 3