Sports Zone

HSSZ: Playoff Previews

Wrestling – the main event

All area schools, boys and girls, head to the Wrestling State Championships this weekend in Portland. Classes 1A-4A compete on Thursday and Friday; Classes 5A-6A compete Friday and Saturday. Boys leaders for area schools are: Cottage Grove’s Nathan Abrams (285) and Carter Bengtson (132), Creswell’s Lyosha Mitchell (113) and Kaleb Sanders (138), Pleasant Hill’s Eli Anderson (138) and Gavin Hoellrich (152), Springfield’s Diego Medina (285) and Michael Owens (152), and Thurston’s Vaun Halstead (195) and Kolton Malone (145). Girls leaders for area schools are: Cottage Grove’s Allison Palluck (115), Chantell Noffsinger (140), and Thurston’s Kaylee Annis (110), Kristal Zamora (140), and Izabella Castleberry (145).

Boys Basketball

Creswell: 19-4, ranked #7

In the bonus: The Bulldogs secured the No. 7 seed in the state playoffs, meaning they’ll host No. 10 Riverdale on Saturday. Riverdale (21-7, 9-3) took the second seed out of the Coastal Range League. Creswell will have 11 days between games, meaning the Bulldogs should be well-rested and ready to rumble. The winner of this game likely faces No. 2 De La Salle North Catholic in the quarterfinals. No matter the result, this will be the final home game for Creswell seniors Connor Hanson, AJ Hodge, Jack Nguyen, and Max Velarde.
Quotable: “The message to the team is to play the right way, and play hard. When we play well, we have enough talent to be able to hang with anybody.” – Jesse Thomas, CHS head coach.

Pleasant Hill: 20-5, ranked #8
In the bonus: The Billies caught a huge break last week, as Burns lost to Vale in a league playoff, meaning Pleasant Hill got the eight-seed and a second-round home playoff game. Pleasant Hill will host No. 9 Burns, with the winner likely facing No. 1 Westside Christian in the quarterfinals in Coos Bay next week. The Burns at Pleasant Hill matchup features two league-MVP’s, as sophomore Gavin Inglish leads the Billies and junior Zane Kozeni leads the Hilanders.
Quotable: “Going into the playoffs, teams in the top 10 play more physically and quickly, so we’ve got to be prepared to take care of the basketball because every possession counts …. I think the key to our team right now is our defense, and then being able to control the pace of the game.” – Darwin Terry, PHHS head coach.

Cottage Grove: 10-14, ranked #22
In the bonus: The Lions have their away play-in game this Saturday, although their opponent is TBD as of deadline. Whoever the opponent, it will likely be a top-12 team. Cottage Grove coach Seth Hutchison said the team can compete wherever they go, but they’ll need a big game from star Brennen Murphy to pull off an upset.

Springfield: 2-18, ranked #29
In the bonus: Springfield finishes its season this week with a senior night game against Eagle Point. While Olegario Arellano is the team’s only senior, the entire squad will want to end the season on a high note, a definite possibility against the other bottom team in the Midwestern League.

Thurston: 11-11, ranked #13
In the bonus: Thurston’s final regular-season game is its most important of the year, at No. 16 Crater on Friday. In the last game against Crater, Luke Newell hit a game-winner, and this time around the winner has a solid chance to earn one of the two non-automatic playoff spots. The loser isn’t fully out, but a win for Thurston might be just enough to clinch a playoff berth.

*Records and rankings as of noon Tuesday.

Girls Basketball

Creswell: 18-6, ranked #15
In the bonus: Creswell’s game this week is a big question mark, as the Bulldogs actually have a first-round playoff game on Tuesday night. That game will happen after deadline, meaning Creswell’s season could be over by the time of publishing. However, the No. 15 Bulldogs host No. 18 Jefferson in that game and should be the favorites. If Creswell wins, its second-round playoff game will be at No. 2 Sutherlin (25-2). Sutherlin will be a tough upset, but if Creswell stars Lauren Bailey, Dakota Carson, and Samairah Quinones play well, it could be possible.

Pleasant Hill: 21-1, ranked #7
In the bonus: The Billies secured the No. 7 seed in the playoffs, which earned them a home game on Friday against No. 10 Riverdale. Riverdale (19-8, 12-4) took the third slot out of the Coastal Range League. Riverdale is a battle-tested team and could prove a tough matchup for Pleasant Hill. Head coach Kim Beer will need his vaunted defense to step up big, and senior stars Shyanne Fenley and Kiley Campos will likely be the driving forces in their final home game.
Quotable: “A lot of our points come off a defensive play, and that just gets us rolling, and the kids get excited. So we’re going to continue to lean on that …. On offense we don’t just have one girl that scores a bunch of points. We have several who can score well, and I think that helps make us a little bit hard to scout.” – Kim Beer, PHHS head coach.

Springfield: 18-5, ranked #2
In the bonus: The Millers look to complete their undefeated Midwestern League season this Friday at home against No. 15 Eagle Point. Seniors Alexi Morgan and Kylie Rankins will be honored during their last regular-season home game, although Springfield is guaranteed a home playoff game, meaning senior night won’t be their last home game as Millers.

Thurston: 10-12, ranked #19
In the bonus: Thurston’s final regular season game is Friday at No. 7 Crater. As of now, it’s a long shot for the Colts to make the postseason. However, an upset at the No. 7 team in the state would do wonders for Thurston. If the Colts want to pull it off, they’ll need top-notch performances from Bailey Tovey, Stella Hall, and Addison Nelson.



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