Posted On: 03/8/18 2:26 PM
Day 1 of the class 5A state tournament tipped off at Gill Coliseum on Wednesday and we take a look at an action packed first day and offer some predictions for Thursday’s semifinal match ups.
#8 Churchill 53 #1 Silverton 51
#4 Wilsonville 67 #5 Springfield 51
#3 Thurston 70 #6 Mt. View 58
#2 Crater 65 #7 South Albany 54
One of the complaints of coaches & fans at most state tournaments is that shooting in big arenas is very difficult and the statistics usually back that up. Yesterday proved to be an exception to the rule, as three teams tallied shooting percentages above 50% from the field. Leading the way was Wilsonville which went 23/39 (59%), Thurston who went 24/45 (56%), and finally Crater who used Kiefer Edwards 6/8 night to shoot 50% from the field.
Best Floor General:
On a talented Crater squad, sophomore point guard Jayden Vranes is often an over looked guy. He made a big statement about his importance to the team on Wednesday, tallying 13 points and 9 assists in helping to lead the Comets to the semifinals.
Making His Case For POY:
Arguably the most athletic player in all of 5A, Thurston’s junior Isaac Lange made a strong statement on Wednesday that he deserves serious consideration for state player of the year. The 6’2 guard was all over the place scoring 29 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 5 assists in the Colts victory over Mt. View.
Big Men Produce:
The 5A state tourney features an unusual crop of quality big men and for the most part, they all came to play on Day 1. Leading the way for Mt. View was senior post Matt Van Tassell, an OIT commit, who scored 23 points to go along with 5 boards. Springfield junior Zach Brown went 7/12 from the field on his way to 17 points in the Millers loss. Thurston junior, Mason Miller, a 6’6 forward was a stat sheet stuffer, scoring 8 points to go along with 6 rebounds and 7 assists. Undersized Silverton post Levi Nielsen gathered 11 rebounds and 6’9 super frosh Nate Bittle of Crater contributed 9 points and 7 rebounds to his team’s victorious effort.
Best Balancing Act:
Defending state champion came into the state tournament lacking the “star” power of previous Wildcat teams and showed that a balanced approach works just fine for them, as four players finished in double figures. Leading the way was Zac Rossetti with 15.
Best Clark Kent Imitation:
Crater has relied on four well known and established players to the top of the list of state title contenders. All four played well on Wednesday, but it was the 5th starter, 6’1 senior wing Cade Weaver that donned the Superman Cape for the Comets. Weaver went 6/11 from the field on his way to 15 big points far surpassing his season average.
#8 Churchill vs #4 Wilsonville
These two squared off in last year’s state title game where Wilsonville pulled away late for a 51-43 victory behind the play of future Oregon State Beaver Zach Reichle. Churchill pulled off the biggest upset of Day 1, holding top ranked Silverton to 29% shooting on their way to a 2 point victory. The Lancers were lead by the 15 points and 9 boards of Isaiah Wallace. The Wildcats lead from state to finish and put on a display of offensive efficiency on the way to a big win over Springfield. Wilsonville put four guys in double figures on the way to shooting 59% from the field.
These two have established themselves as the two premier programs in class 5A over the last 5-6 seasons and we expect another hard fought battle in the semifinals. Look for Wilsonville’s continuous motion offense to wear the Lancers down and create just enough easy scoring opportunities to squeak out a narrow victory and propel the Wildcats to the title game for the 3rd straight year.
#2 Crater vs #3 Thurston
These Midwestern League rivals have matched up twice this season, with Crater winning both games, 45-43 in Springfield & 63-56 on their home court, in battles that went down to the wire. The old adage of “it’s hard to beat a team three times” may apply to the semifinal match up, especially Thurston can get consistent scoring performances from someone beyond Isaac Lange.
This one is tough to call, both teams are familiar with each other, playing well, and loaded with talented players. However, we never shy away from a prediction, so we go with Crater to pull out a game that should go down to the final horn.