Posted On: 02/23/18 3:24 PM
The longest standing state tournament location is in Pendleton, which has been the final location for the class 2A event for over 30 years. This weekend, 16 teams try to punch their tickets to that wild west event on the east side of the state. We’ve got you covered with match ups, predictions, and players to watch over the next couple of days.
#16 Stanfield @ #1 Western Mennonite
The Tigers are the only team in the final 16 with a losing record (12-15) and benefit from an OSAA rule that awards two spots to every league in the state. After graduating a big senior class off of last years state runner up team, the Columbia Basin #2 seed is happy to be playing at this point. Waiting for them is a loaded Western Mennonite squad which finished 23-3 on the year, including an impressive 12-0 league record in arguably the toughest 2A league in the state. Leading the way for the Pioneers is 6’3 sophomore wing Payton Richardson, one of the highest ranked players in the 2020 class.
Prep Hoops Prediction: Western Mennonite in a blow out.
#9 Santiam @ #8 Grant Union
The defending champs head out on the road to the eastern part of the state to play the Wapiti League Champs. The Wolverines, 17-9 and the 2nd place team out of the Tri River League lean heavy on talented junior point guard Jonah Downey. They have played a challenging schedule that should have them prepared to go on the road and battle the Prospectors. Grant Union which finished 17-6 on its way to winning the Waptiti Conference is a bit of an unknown to teams on the west side of the state.
Prep Hoops Prediction: The travel & home court advantage are huge for Grant Union, but in the end, Santiam’s experience in big games has them battle tested and ready to advance to Pendleton.
#12 Regis @ #5 Oakland
1st year head coach Geoff Oliver has his Rams playing quality basketball as they emerged as the 4th team from the Tri River Conference to make the final 16 teams. Regis, 16-10 on the season heads down I-5 to take on Oakland who has won games this year by playing lock down defense. The Oakers are lead by long time head coach Jeff Clark (3 state title rings) and went 23-3 on their way to sharing a league title with Monroe.
Prep Hoops Prediction: Both teams feature a rugged defensive oriented style, so expect a low scoring game. Our nod goes to the home team as Oakland grinds out a hard fought victory over the Rams.
#13 Lost River @ #4 Toledo
Lost River which went 15-9 on the year travels to the central Oregon coast to take on a young but talented Boomer squad that won their 4th straight Sunset Conference crown this season. It’s hard to know what to make of the Pirates who went 0-5 against teams that are still alive in the 2A playoffs. Waiting for them is an opponent that features a roster full of talented freshmen and sophomores including 2019 wing Conner Marchant who was the league MVP and 6’6 frosh Jaxon Rozewski who has emerged as a high level rim defender in the middle of Toledo’s zone defense.
Prep Hoops Prediction: Toledo’s skill level and shooting ability will be too much for Lost River to handle as the Boomers cruise on their way to Pendleton.
#14 Reedsport @ #3 Knappa
The Warriors bring an athletic squad and their 16-6 season record to one of the best home court advantages in the state when they make the 5 hour drive to Knappa to take on the 22-4 Loggers. Knappa is lead by senior wing Dale Takalo and senior guard Colton Weirup and possess impressive wins over Columbia Christian & Western Mennonite.
Prep Hoops Prediction: The home court atmosphere and a talented Knappa team prove too much as they cruise to a double digit win over visiting Reedsport.
#11 Vernonia @ #6 Monroe
The Loggers, the 2016 state champions are looking for their 4th straight trip to the Final 8 as a send off for talented senior wing Clay Sullivan who was recently named player of the year in Northwest League. Sullivan a likely 1st team all state selection has the ability to carry his team and Vernonia will lean on him heavily in this one. Monroe enters this Sweet 16 match up with a roster loaded with talented underclassmen including 6’4 combo guard Brian Goracke, one of the best players in the 2020 class regardless of level. The Dragons racked up 20 wins as they finished as co-champs of the Mt. View Conference.
Prep Hoops Prediction: Monroe won an earlier match up of these two teams by an 80-73 margin and feature one of the best athletes in 2A in Goracke. However, we believe that Sullivan and Vernonia’s tournament experience will be enough to help the Loggers squeak out a close road victory.
#10 Kennedy @ #7 Pilot Rock
The Trojans who ended the season with a 15-13 record played arguably the toughest schedule of any team at the 2A level, playing a number of 2A & 3A teams that lead to them being battle tested an playoff ready. Pilot Rock ran the table in the Columbia Basin League, but went o-3 against Irrigon & Umatilla, the best teams on their schedule. Kennedy is one of the bigger teams at the 2A level and features multi sport star Emorej Lynk, an athletic 6’4 wing.
Prep Hoops Prediction: Kennedy has been in a ton of close games against a variety of quality opponents throughout the season. That preparation will benefit them as they pull out a tough road victory over the Rockets.
#15 Elgin @ #2 Columbia Christian
The Huskies, the runner up in the Wapiti League enter the round of 16 with a 14-11 record and no player on their roster over 6’0 tall. The undersized group heads to southeast Portland to take on the biggest team in the state in Columbia Christian. Uber talented 6’7 freshman forward Ben Gregg leads the Knights who are 26-1 on the season.
Prep Hoops Prediction: On paper, this is the biggest mismatch of the opening round and expect Columbia Christian to roll to an easy victory as they head back to Pendleton and look to improve on their final 4 appearance of 2017.