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Posted On: 02/23/18 3:00 PM
As the regular season is finalized this week, the OSAA rankings are nearly set and the seeding seems to be fairly accurate without any massive errors. Even still, there are always upsets. Here are a few teams who may go farther in the postseason than expected:
The Titans went to the Chiles Center last year and were expected to have a shot this year, so they aren’t exactly an underdog. However, West Salem has not been quite as good as anticipated and finds themselves the third place team in the Greater Valley Conference. Projected as a No. 10 seed by the OSAA, the Titans should win their first game and could then land themselves back in the Chiles Center. Led by 6A’s leading scorer Kyle Greeley (27 points per game), the Titans always have a shot.
The Cardinals, currently No. 12 in the OSAA, have a bunch of losses (they’re 15-9), but they’ve played a bunch of good teams. Their starting five play very well together and twice this year, they have closely competed with Jefferson. If they survive the first round, they’ll have a solid chance to knock off a good team and make a cameo at the Chiles Center. They’ll be led, as always, by Bryce Sloan, who is averaging 21 points, 7.3 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.
This is a long shot. The Bowmen, 13-11 and 6-8 in Three Rivers League play, should narrowly sneak into the playoffs and play a top team. They’re ranked No. 28 by the OSAA. And they’ve lost 4 of their last 5. But, they’ve played a tough TRL schedule and own wins over teams seeded ahead of them like Tualatin, Tigard, and Roosevelt. Plus, some of their losses have come narrowly—like in double overtime to No. 11 Tualatin on Thursday night. Led by their core of Jamison Guerra, Owen Grubbe, Jace Sucher and Braden Thorn, dark horse Sherwood has an outside chance to dethrone one of the state’s best.
The Saxons are a talented team, but they’re just so dang small: their tallest starter is 6-foot-1. Ranked No. 13, they do have an electric player in junior Jaden Nielsen-Skinner, who is committed to Portland State, plus a crafty guard in senior Tyler Wadleigh. A few weeks ago, they beat West Salem and also pushed OSAA’s No. 5 team, McNary, to double overtime in mid-January.
In recent years, they’ve given the Celtics some tough games. If they’re matched up with them once again, in the second round, an upset could be brewing. Then again, if they play a big team in the first round (which they might in No. 20 Sheldon), they could be bounced themselves.
This is almost a joke. Seeded No. 2, no one is truly sleeping on Grant. That is, unless you think the 6A title is wrapped up. Jefferson is, obviously, the top team in the state. And they’ve beaten the Generals three times. But, might the fourth time be the charm for Grant? They’ve proven they can play with the Democrats. And, now that the two teams are rightfully seeded 1 and 2, it’s incredibly likely the PIL foes will meet again for the state title. Led by Aaron Deloney, and the rest of their starting lineup, the Generals have a shot at knocking off almighty Jeff.
The Mt. Hood Conference
Okay, so this isn’t a team. But it’s pretty rare than an entire league has no highly-seeded teams. Barlow (No. 17 in the OSAA rankings), Central Catholic (No. 21), Oregon City (No. 22) and Clackamas (No. 23) will all make the playoffs and all have a legitimate shot to knock off whoever they play. The Cavaliers might be especially dangerous, as they’ve shown improvement throughout the season and bring back senior Dane Agost, who missed much of the year. Central Catholic, young and talented, has the ability to knock off a good team when they’re playing well.
(For more prep hoops coverage, follow @HayesGardner on Twitter.)