Sports Zone

HSSZ: Week of Feb. 1 Capsules

THE MAIN EVENT: GIRLS BASKETBALL

CRATER AT SPRINGFIELD
Game facts: No. 1 Crater Comets (15-1) at No. 7 Springfield Millers (12-6), Friday, Feb. 2 at 5:30 p.m.
Tipping off: The Millers host No. 1 Crater with a share of the Midwestern League title potentially on the line. Springfield beat Crater three times last season, including a 70-55 win in the state semifinals, but Crater got revenge with a 59-49 win earlier this season – handing the Millers their first loss to a 5A opponent since March 2022. The game also features two state player of the year candidates in Springfield’s Danaeja Romero-Ah Sam (2x defending POTY) and Crater’s Sage Winslow (2023 1st team all-state).

WEEKLY PREVIEWS

BOYS BASKETBALL

Cottage Grove: 8-8, ranked #17
Tipping off: The Lions, with Cole Kishen – 2nd-team all-league a season ago – dive into the meat of their league season with games against No. 10 Marshfield and at No. 7 Marist this week. Only two league teams get automatic playoff bids, so two wins this week would be big for Cottage Grove’s playoff chances.

Creswell: 10-8, ranked #16
Tipping off: With a four-game week due to rescheduled games, Creswell’s hopes for repeating as Mountain Valley Conference champs rests on how the team does this week. The Bulldogs face No. 3 Pleasant Hill and No. 8 Harrisburg – the two teams ahead of them in the standings – and will need a big week from Tyler Whitson and Riley Smith.

Pleasant Hill: 14-3, ranked #3
Tipping off: After a three-game schedule last week, the Billies are back to two games this week as they host Creswell on Tuesday before traveling to Elmira on Thursday. After a dominant win over co-first place Harrisburg last week, senior captain Matt Nguyen and the Billies’ biggest remaining test is the Creswell game Tuesday.

Springfield: 4-13, ranked #26
Tipping off: The Millers still have an outside shot of reaching first-year coach TC Combs’ goal of making the postseason, but have two important games coming up against No. 9 Crater and No. 2 North Eugene. Sophomore Jayden Robinson will be key offensively if the Millers hope to pull off two upsets.

Thurston: 11-6, ranked #14
Tipping off: After a three-game week last week, the Colts have only one game this week – at Ashland (5-12) on Friday. Junior duo Nate Stiffler and Noah Blair continue leading Thurston offensively as the Colts enter the final few weeks of the regular season.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Cottage Grove: 12-5, ranked #13
Tipping off: Cottage Grove is sandwiched between its two opponents this week in the Sky-Em standings as the second-place Lions host first-place Marshfield on Friday before traveling to Marist on Tuesday. Second-year coach Pete LeMay already has the Lions tied for the most wins in a season since 2021.

Creswell: 12-6, ranked #9
Tipping off: Creswell has a hectic week with multiple make-up games from the storm. The Bulldogs travel No. 4 Pleasant Hill on Tuesday and La Pine on Wednesday before hosting Harrisburg on Friday and Sisters on Saturday. Three wins on the week would clinch a third straight playoff berth for Creswell.

Pleasant Hill: 11-4, ranked #4
Tipping off: Pleasant Hill – all but guaranteed a playoff spot – faces two teams still fighting for the postseason in No. 9 Creswell and No. 23 Elmira. A win over Creswell on Tuesday would also give the Billies a near-insurmountable lead in the Mountain Valley Conference title race in coach Paxton Miller’s first season. 

Thurston: 5-12, ranked #25
Tipping off: Thurston attempts to stop a five-game skid this week at Ashland – a team Thurston handled 60-18 earlier this season. Addison Nelson and Bailey Tovey have been the keys offensively when Thurston has won this season.

WEEKLY RECAPS

BOYS BASKETBALL

Cottage Grove had a 1-1 week to start Sky-Em League play, losing to No. 1 Junction City 57-39 before beating North Bend 44-36. In the JC loss, Gannon Leach had a solid game, finishing with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals. 

Creswell had a big week, going 2-0 in conference play to move into sole possession of third place – and the final automatic playoff bid in the Mountain Valley Conference. In a 56-48 win over Siuslaw, Riley Smith had his best scoring game of the season with 20 points. Tyler Whitson then carried the load in a 57-44 win over Elmira, finishing with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 assists.

Thurston went 2-1 in the most important week of the season to date. The Colts opened the week handling Springfield 60-35 behind 23 points and 7 rebounds from junior Nate Stiffler. Thurston then traveled to No. 2 North Eugene and fell 58-56 despite 17 points from Stiffler and 14 points and 7 rebounds from Luke Newell. The Colts bounced back on Friday, though, at No. 9 Crater, winning 61-57 in OT thanks to Stiffler’s 22 points.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Cottage Grove finally began Sky-Em League play last week, losing to No.19 Junction City 51-35 in its opener before beating North Bend 63-41. Mariah Bailey had a team-high 15 in the loss, while three Lions scored in double figures in the win: Payton Anlauf with 17 points, Bailey with 13, and Makya Alsup with 13.

Creswell went 2-0 in emphatic fashion after eight days of no basketball due to the ice storm. The Bulldogs beat Siuslaw 71-19 last Tuesday behind 26 points and 5 steals from Dakota Carson, as well as 9 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 steals from Elliette Kinney. Then on Friday, Creswell handled Elmira 66-47 thanks to Brooke Moehlmann’s 23 points.

Pleasant Hill extended its win streak to seven games with a 3-0 week in Mountain Valley Conference competition. The Billies first beat La Pine 53-17 last Tuesday as Claire Crawford had 21 points and 11 rebounds, Karsyn Stapleton scored 15, and Raigan Obie chipped in 11 points and 7 steals. Pleasant Hill then beat Sisters 36-20 behind Crawford’s 15 points and 11 rebounds, and the Billies finished the week with a 57-37 win over Harrisburg thanks to Crawford’s 16 points and 7 rebounds.

Springfield had a 3-0 week, winning its games by a combined margin of +167 – an average of 55.6 per game. The Millers opened the week by beating Thurston 84-16 as Danaeja Romero-Ah Sam had 23 points, 7 assists, and 6 steals. The next night Springfield beat Churchill 68-30 as Diamond Wright scored 19 points. The Millers finished off the week with an 89-28 win at Eagle Point. 

Thurston had a tough week, losing 84-16 at No. 7 Springfield, 58-47 against North Eugene, and 84-20 at No. 1 Crater. Bridgette Nault and Gracie Nissen each had 5 points against Springfield. 

WRESTLING RECAPS

Cottage Grove and Creswell competed at the Cottage Grove Invitational last weekend. The Creswell girls finished first, led by Jennalyn Kruger (135 pounds) and Chantell Noffsinger (145) each winning their brackets. On the Cottage Grove side, the boys came in fifth and the girls finished sixth. Jeffery Conklin (120) and Carter Bengtson (138) both won on the boys side, while Alexsis Woody (125) earned second to lead the girls.

Pleasant Hill wrestled at the Golden Yam (Yamhill-Carlton HS), coming in fifth out of 15 teams. Vedder Anderson (144) was the sole winner for the Billies on the boys side, and Peyton Buckley (190) grabbed second on the girls side.

Thurston boys competed at the Reser’s Tournament of Champions, one of the more prestigious regular-season tournaments in Oregon. The Colts came in 10th out of 25 teams. Colton Annis (144) came in third and Sean Regas (132) finished fourth to lead the way for Thurston.

CONFERENCE CALL

Notes from around our area teams’ conferences:

Line takes over at Willamette
■ Class 5A Midwestern League will have a new football coach next season as former Sheldon coach Josh Line was hired at Willamette. Line stepped down as Sheldon’s coach in December, citing the fact that he wanted to spend next fall watching his daughter, Bailee, play her senior volleyball season with the Irish. Line led the Irish to 6A runner-up finishes in 2018 and ’22 and went 55-19 overall in seven seasons at Sheldon. Line takes over a struggling Willamette program that went 0-9 last season and is 5-22 over the past three seasons.

Marist boys leading league with strong defense
■ The Marist Catholic boys basketball team (10-5), members of Class 4A Sky-Em League, moved to 2-0 in league play with a 53-31 win over No. 10 Marshfield last week. The 7th-ranked Spartans led 22-20 heading into halftime. Marist dominated the second half though, outscoring Marshfield 31-11 in part thanks to junior Taylor Iverson’s 16 points.

RESULTS/SCHEDULES

RESULTS

BOYS BASKETBALL
Tuesday, Jan. 23
■ Junction City 57, Cottage Grove 39
■ Creswell 56, Siuslaw 48
■ Pleasant Hill 85, La Pine 72
■ Thurston 60, Springfield 35
Wednesday, Jan. 24
■ Churchill 61, Springfield 57
■ North Eugene 58, Thurston 56
Thursday, Jan. 25
■ Pleasant Hill 69, Sisters 49
Friday, Jan. 26
■ Cottage Grove 44, North Bend 36
■ Eagle Point 50, Springfield 49
■ Thurston 61, Crater 57 (OT)
Saturday, Jan. 27
■ Creswell 57, Elmira 44
■ Pleasant Hill 67, Harrisburg 35

GIRLS BASKETBALL
Tuesday, Jan. 23
■ Junction City 51, Cottage Grove 35
■ Creswell 71, Siuslaw 19
■ Pleasant Hill 53, La Pine 17
■ Springfield 84, Thurston 16
Wednesday, Jan. 24
■ Springfield 68, Churchill 30
■ North Eugene 58, Thurston 47
Thursday, Jan. 25
■ Pleasant Hill 36, Sisters 20
Friday, Jan. 26
■ Cottage Grove 63, North Bend 41
■ Springfield 89, Eagle Point 28
■ Crater 84, Thurston 20
Saturday, Jan. 27
■ Creswell 66, Elmira 47
■ Pleasant Hill 57, Harrisburg 37

SCHEDULES

BOYS BASKETBALL
Thursday, Feb. 1
■ Pleasant Hill at Elmira, 6 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 2
■ Crater at Springfield, 7 p.m.
■ Thurston at Ashland, 7 p.m.
■ Marshfield at Cottage Grove, 7:15 p.m.
■ Harrisburg at Creswell, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3
■ Sisters at Creswell, 4:30 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
■ Springfield at North Eugene, 6:45 p.m.
■ Cottage Grove at Marist, 7:15 p.m.
■ Creswell at Sisters, 7:30 p.m.
■ Siuslaw at Pleasant Hill, 7:30 p.m.
■ Thurston at Churchill, 7:30 p.m.

GIRLS BASKETBALL
Thursday, Feb. 1
■ Pleasant Hill at Elmira, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, Feb. 2
■ Crater at Springfield, 5:30 p.m.
■ Thurston at Ashland, 5:30 p.m.
■ Marshfield at Cottage Grove, 5:45 p.m.
■ Harrisburg at Creswell, 6 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3
■ Sisters at Creswell, 6 p.m.
■ Pleasant Hill at Marshfield, 6 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 6
■ Cottage Grove at Marist, 5:45 p.m.
■ Creswell at Sisters, 6 p.m.
■ Siuslaw at Pleasant Hill, 6 p.m.
■ North Eugene at Springfield, 6:45 p.m.
■ Churchill at Thurston, 6:45 p.m.

WRESTLING
Friday, Feb. 2
■ Creswell at Special District 2 Duals (Santiam Christian), 3 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 3
■ Cottage Grove at Frostbite Open (La Pine), 10 a.m.
■ Creswell at Special District 2 Duals (Santiam Christian), TBD
Wednesday, Feb. 7
■ Dallas at Thurston Dual Meet, TBD

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