Oregon City overwhelms Clackamas in girls' basketball opener, 66-25
Oregon City High School's girls' basketball team hit the floor running against Clackamas on Friday night.
And the Pioneers never broke stride, not even for a minute.
Oregon City's Brooke Bullock and Emily Fortin scored 14 points each and helped anchor a high-pressure defense that forced 27 turnovers, pacing the Pioneers to a 66-25 home win over the Cavaliers in the season-opener for both teams.
Katie Kathan added 11 points and Emmaly Welch finished with eight as Oregon City led wire-to-wire in former assistant Tiffani Traver's debut as the Pioneers' head coach.
"A good start," Traver said. "To be 1-0 is a great feeling and our girls worked so hard for it. I knew that they were coming ready to play and that we were going to be aggressive defensively and put Clackamas in tough spots. And that's what we were able to do."
Kiah Wetzell finished with a team-high nine points and Kalani Hayes had five for the Cavaliers, who trailed 11-2 at the end of the first quarter and 29-10 at halftime.
"We knew Oregon City was going to come out and play well," Cavaliers coach Korey Landolt said. "You can't ever walk into a gym with Oregon City and just expect something good is going to happen for us. We just hoped that we would have played a little better. That was frustrating."
Oregon City set the tone for the game at the defensive end in the first quarter as the Pioneers held Clackamas to 1-for-7 shooting from the field and forced 10 turnovers.
Six more turnovers on Clackamas' first six possessions of the second quarter helped fuel a 9-0 Oregon City run that pushed the Pioneers' lead to 20-2 with 5:30 to play in the first half.
"Our defense is what got us going," said Bullock, the junior guard who scored nine of her 14 points in the first half. "Getting defensive stops and then not missing lay-ins, those are things that drain the energy out of teams, and I think that was the key."
After Wetzell scored for Clackamas on a lay-in that cut the deficit to 29-13 with 6:35 to play in the third quarter, Oregon City went on a 25-3 run that turned the game into a blowout.
"We did expect it to be a little bit closer, but that was all based on how hard our girls worked, so complete credit to them," Tarver said. "At practice Thursday, we narrowed our objectives down to five focuses for the season and they really took that to heart and transferred that over to the game.
"We still have some things to improve on, but they're doing what we need to them do and they're working hard. It's exciting to see that they're learning and they're coachable and they're willing to give their all."
All 10 players who got on the floor for Oregon City scored at least one point.
"For our first game of the season, I think we really came together as a team," said Bullock, who also had a team-high 11 rebounds, four assists, and six steals. "I think that was an amazing performance. Unbelievable, actually. I'm really proud of the team."
Everyone associated with the Oregon City program should be proud, not only because the Pioneers passed their first test of the 2018-19 season, but also because they did not miss a beat with Traver taking over one of the most decorated girls' basketball programs in Oregon prep sports history.
"I think this game gives our girls confidence, it gives our fans confidence, and it gives us coaches confidence in what we're capable of," said Traver, a 2010 Oregon City graduate who played on the Pioneers 2009 state championship team and spent two seasons as an OC assistant before she was named in April to replace Kurt Guelsdorf.
"Sometimes that's hard with the transition to a new coach," she said. "You know, we changed a few things and just having the girls believe in that and see that it works is huge. We just need to keep moving from here."
For Clackamas, there wasn't much for the Cavaliers to say or do after Friday's opener other than chalk it up as a learning experience -- and get ready for another road game Saturday against Tigard at Southridge High School in Beaverton.
"These early games are going to show us a lot of where we need to focus," Landolt said. "Obviously, we should have taken care of the ball a lot better than we did. We were careless with our passes at times, we didn't get our head up early … all these things that we got to be better at quickly.
"I think our big takeaway is there's a lot that we didn't even get to, that we didn't allow ourselves to get to with our carelessness. Like, I think our offense is pretty darn good when we get there, but we didn't get there very often this evening."
CLACKAMAS 2 8 6 9 -- 25
OREGON CITY 11 18 18 19 -- 66
Clackamas (25) -- Kiah Wetzell 9, Filler 3, Byzewski 2, Hayes 5, Garcia 3, S. Benedict 2, P. Benedict 1, Mongellis, Morris, Tacheny.
Oregon City (66) -- Emily Fortin 14, Bullock 14, Lugo 2, Bradford 5, Eckert 2, Kathan 11, Martineau 7, Pedersen 1, Welch 8, Hood 2.