Sports Zone

HSSZ: The week ahead

Cottage Grove: 3-11, ranked #31
■ In the bonus: Cottage Grove, on a seven-game losing streak, has a much-needed 10-day break after its loss to Hidden Valley. Head coach Pete LeMay can use this time to continue the growth of a young and inexperienced team. The Lions return from the break on Tuesday at Elmira in their final non-league game of the season.
Creswell: 8-3, ranked #18


■ In the bonus: Creswell has two games it should win this week, first on Monday against Dayton (1-8) at the Harrisburg MLK Invitational and then at home against Mountain Valley Conference opponent Siuslaw (2-10). Senior Samairah Quinones and juniors Lauren Bailey and Dakota Carson continue to be the consistent scorers, and currently have Creswell primed for a shot at the league title.
Pleasant Hill: 10-1, ranked #8
■ In the bonus: Pleasant Hill, along with rival Creswel and Elmira, remains primed to contend for the Mountain Valley Conference championship. Regardless, the MVC sends three automatic qualifiers to the playoffs. The Billies host Elmira on Friday and will need their great defense, which is giving up only 21.3 PPG this season, if they hope to win.
Springfield: 8-4, ranked #3
■ In the bonus: Springfield continues Midwestern League play this week, facing Ashland at home on Friday before traveling to Churchill on Tuesday. Both games should be wins for the Millers, who remain the No. 1 team in the Class 5A coaches poll. Springfield got some good news as senior Kylie Rankins returned from an injury to make her season debut against Crater last week. Rankins adds some veteran play to the Millers, whose only other senior is starter Alexi Morgan.

Thurston: 6-6, ranked #18
■ In the bonus: Thurston heads to Class 4A No. 8 Marist Catholic tonight before resuming league play at No. 13 North Eugene on Tuesday. The Colts have had a strange schedule up to this point as only 3 of its 12 games have been played at home. Despite that, Thurston still has a great shot to make the playoffs, and a pair of wins this week would do wonders for the team’s ranking and morale.

Cottage Grove: 7-7, ranked #18
■ In the bonus: After a 1-1 record last week the Lions get 10 days off before their next game on Tuesday at Elmira. Cottage Grove should handle Elmira in its last game before Sky-Em league play begins. Head coach Seth Hutchison will want some momentum going into league play as the Lions currently sit on the playoff bubble. Brennen Murphy and Cole Kishen continue to be the driving forces for Cottage Grove.
Creswell: 9-2, ranked #8
■ In the bonus: After losing star AJ Hodge to an injury the Bulldogs will need a little more from everyone. Head coach Jesse Thomas said he’ll know more about Hodge’s timeline next week, but in the meantime Creswell rolls into the meat of its season with Mountain Valley Conference play and a huge game on Monday against No. 1 Dayton at the Harrisburg MLK Invitational. Senior Connor Hanson has struggled at times this season but has the potential to lead the Bulldogs in scoring on any given night, and he may need to do that with Hodge out.
Springfield: 2-7, ranked #27
■ In the bonus: Despite another 0-2 week, the Millers seem to be improving. Junior Isaiah Navarrete had a stellar offensive performance in the loss against Crater, and should be the driving force if Springfield wants to upset No. 14 Ashland or No. 4 Churchill this week. Luckily for the Millers both games are at home, so a good start and a home crowd could be a good recipe, especially against a beatable Ashland team.
Thurston: 6-6, ranked #10
■ In the bonus: Thurston has two solid tests this week, tonight at Class 4A No. 19 Marist and Tuesday against No. 17 North Eugene. The Colts continue to be led on offense by a big three of Walker Bonar, Hunter James and Nate Stiffler. All three have had great performances at one point or another, and if they can all three play great together consistently the Colts have a great shot at grabbing the third automatic playoff qualifier from the Midwestern League.



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