Posted On: 02/28/18 1:36 AM
As the class 3A state tournament gets underway Thursday on the southern Oregon coast city of Coos Bay, we take a look at the quarterfinal match ups, the best players, coaches who have been here before, and some interesting tidbits about this year’s tourney. Records listed reflect season win totals & record versus teams in the final 8.
The Match Ups:
#8 Irrigon (21-4; 0-1) vs #1 Delasalle (24-1; 5-1)
Irrigon advanced on the back of a last second three to beat Catlin Gabel at home. Meanwhile Delasalle was rolling past an over matched Colton team. Irrigon has limited experience against Coos Bay bound teams this season, with only a narrow defeat to Cascade Christian on MLK Day to show, while Delasalle has pressured their way to a 5-1 record with their only blemish an early season loss to Horizon. Irrigon will count on the post presence of 6’5 Johnny Phillips and a support cast of scrappy guards who never quit playing. Their opponent is almost a mirror image, relying on the rim protection of Emmanuel Reilly to back up a group of athletic guards featuring 6’3 junior wing Kadeem Nelson.
Prep Hoops Prediction: Both teams like to pressure & play up & down and we have too much respect for Irrigon to expect them to go quietly. Over the course of the game, Delasalle’s depth (they regularly rotate 1o players) & big game experience will prove to much as they pull away for a double digit victory.
#5 Horizon Christian (19-8; 5-5) vs #4 Blanchet (23-3; 0-2)
Horizon relies heavily on the 1-2 punch of 6’7 post Anthony Sprauer and guard Kyle Free, both players who earned all league recognition in the ultra competitive West Valley League. The Hawks are as hot as any team in the final 8, having beaten Umatilla to qualify after late season wins over Dayton & Santiam Christian. Blanchet relies on the court savvy of junior point guard RJ Veliz, one of the leading candidates for state player of the year. It’s hard to know exactly what to make of the Cavs as their league didn’t prove to be much of a test this season. However, they have a knack for making plays when needed, case in point their round of 16 win over Amity.
Prep Hoops Prediction: On paper, this game almost appears to be a toss up and in those types of match ups, we look to who is the more battle tested group & who has the more experienced coach on the sideline. Horizon ran a heck of a gauntlet to get to this point and their long time coach Ron Brown has hoisted a few blue trophies during his time. First year Blanchet coach Max Goodman has done a nice job of getting his group to this point, but we expect the Hawks to make just enough plays to move on to the semifinals.
#6 Cascade Christian (18-9; 1-4) vs #3 Santiam Christian (21-5; 3-3)
The Eagles got the best of their opponent from Medford earlier in the season in a 52-48 December victory and advanced as the 3rd seed out of the tough West Valley. Cascade meanwhile struggled in the preseason against a quality schedule before regrouping to run the table in conference play. The Challengers will call on the physical strength and toughness of guards Tyler Cochran and Joel McLemore. Santiam Christian is considerably more imposing on paper, lead by the Baugher brothers, 6’6 junior forward Zach Baugher and 6’4 frosh Josh Baugher. Despite their height, both brothers can fill it up from deep for the Eagles.
Prep Hoops Prediction: We anticipate a repeat of these two team’s earlier match up. Zach Baugher should prove to be too tough down the stretch and make just enough plays for a Santiam Christian victory.
#10 OES (18-9; 2-3) vs #2 Dayton (24-3; 5-3)
The Aardvarks return to Coos Bay after a convincing road win at Creswell, while Dayton destroyed St. Mary’s on their quest for a repeat state title. OES is lead by the senior guard duo of Ian Holtzman, a 6’2 sharp shooter and 5’11 Colby Bullard, a combo guard who has improved as much as any player in the state this year. Dayton is lead by West Valley League POY Tanner Lewis and relies on steady back court play from 5’7 junior point guard Braden Nowlin.
Prep Hoops Prediction: OES will look to slow the tempo down to a pace of their liking, running 30-45 seconds a possession if possible. Dayton will be forced to extend and pressure a little bit to get the game to an up and down pace that favors their skill level and depth. In the end, the Pirates depth and experience proves to be the difference as they pull away late for a relatively easy victory.
The Best of the Tournament:
Best Floor Leader:
Best Energy Guy:
Biggest Experience Factor: