After a non-traditional season in 2021, the 2021-22 campaign is highly anticipated as it will be back to “normal” for just about everyone across the state. The Three Rivers League is year after year arguably top to bottom the most competitive conference in all of 6A and this year is no different. Here’s how we see it turning out.
1. West Linn
3. Lake Oswego
5. Oregon City
Player of the Year:, West Linn
All-League Predictions:, West Linn; , Tigard; , Tigard; , Lake Oswego; , Tualatin; , West Linn; , Tualatin
Top Sleeper/Newcomer:, Oregon City
State Tournament Threats: West Linn, Tualatin, Lake Oswego
Other Post-Season Teams: Tigard, Oregon City
Since the day the 2021-22 season ended, the chatter already started that West Linn would be the pre-season #1 team the following season – and this was even before a head coaching change and a couple of transfers came into the program. The reason –(26.9 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 4.8 apg, 3.7 spg, .598 fg%, .494 3pt%). Saying his name would be enough but let’s quickly name off some of the awards and accomplishments: Gatorade and Oregonian 6A Player of the Year, First Team All-State, TRL POY and First Team, 6A leading scorer, Oregon signee… that should be enough. When a player of that caliber is back that can sometimes all that is needed, but there’s more. Last year’s PIL Player of the Year (18.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.9 apg at Grant) has come on board, as has 6A’s leader in three-point field goals made per game in (17.0 ppg, 1.8 apg, 105 3s at Wells). The Lions already had a solid nucleus of players the likes of senior starters (8.7 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 3.4 apg, .411 3pt%) and (4.7 ppg, 2.5 rpg) back and junior (3.7 ppg, 1.6 rpg, .400 3pt%) was set to play a bigger role. Now all head coach Robert Key has to do is utilize his championship experience to put it all together and West Linn seems to boast everything they need to not only win the league title but the state championship.
As they say, the games still need to be played so until the buzzer sounds on the 2023 state title game, Tualatin remains the defending champions. At first glance, it would seem that the Timberwolves would be in rebuilding mode as the majority of the title team was lost to graduation and coach Todd Jukkula moved on as well. But brand new head coach Brandon “Bubba” Lemon has plenty of talent back to keep the motor humming and humming loudly.(10.1 ppg, 5.4 rpg, 2.3 apg, 1.9 spg) broke out at the 6A state tournament and his transition from supporting cast to leading man continued throughout the summer. Also back is (8.4 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 1.4 apg) and don’t you dare call the 6-foot-7 swingman a post as his versatile skills combined with his size make him one of the toughest players to match up with in the state. Also returning at point guard is (4.0 ppg, 1.0 apg) who brings a ton of toughness to the table, as do a handful of guys from the football team in Jack Wagner (2.3 ppg), Richie Anderson (1.2 ppg), (0.4 ppg), and – all of whom are athletic and strong as Division I FBS football recruits. Very few teams will be able to match up with Tualatin’s blend of size, strength, and speed.
Lake Oswego head coach Marshall Cho has had some talented teams during his run at the helm of the Lakers and he believes he’s got a group this season that’s right up there with the rest of them. It takes a lot to impress him but swingman(16.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) seems to have done that since he stepped foot on campus. After First Team All-League honors last year, the 6-foot-7 sophomore has continued to hone his body and his game to the extent that he’s becoming an unstoppable offensive force at all three levels. Also back is senior (9.4 ppg, 4.4 rpg) who gives the Lakers another athletic operator on the wing. Transfer (5.6 ppg, 2.8 apg, .394 3pt at Sunset) will settle into running the point and watch out for a couple of younger players with immense potential in junior forward (1.5 ppg, 1.3 rpg) and 6-foot-5 freshman . The Lakers may not appear to have as much offensive firepower as West Linn or Tualatin but defensively they have the potential to be ahead.
Tigard head coach Shawn Alderman is the dean of the league and has teams that have either slowed it down or gotten physical or gotten loose offensively. This year’s squad is definitely more of the latter and the Tigers will score plenty of points. It’s crazy to think it will be the fourth and final year for guards(15.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 4.5 apg, 2.5 spg) and (19.5 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 1.9 apg, 2.4 spg) and the twins are ready to go out with a bang. Both will score and pass aplenty, with the dishes going to fellow seniors (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg, .392 3pt%) and (12.2 ppg, 3.2 rpg, .381 3pt%). When Tigard gets hot from three, watch out! The big question marks for Tigard will be how well they rebound and defend and the dropoff from the aforementioned seniors to the rest of the squad in terms of overall production is pretty vast.
Talk to Oregon City head coach Aaron Newkirk and he’s excited about his team. While he admits the Pioneers may be a year away from really being good he’s of the belief they can effectively compete already. The strength of Oregon City lies in their junior class and starters(10.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 3.4 apg) and (9.0 ppg, 2.2 rpg, 1.8 apg) return. Best is as bulldog of a defender as you’ll find in the league and Westermeyer is a wing with size that possesses a smooth lefty stroke from three. There’s lots of size up front with 6-foot-6 junior (2.9 ppg, 2.1 rpg) and 6-foot-5 senior Noah Neal (6.9 ppg, 4.0 rpg) as well. A younger player that will make a name for himself this season is 6-foot-2 who is simply a bucket getter.
While Lakeridge might round out the standings, as one coach from another league states – they’re still a tough team. It’s just hard being placed in a conference as tough as the TRL but head coach David Duong – now in his third year in charge – continues to stay positive and motivated. One thing in the Pacers’ favor – many of the top guys are back. The top two leading scorers –(8.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 2.4 apg) and Jace Swygard (7.9 ppg, 5.8 rpg) – return and they both also represent the top rebounding (Swygard) and assist (Ghetie) leaders. 6-foot-7 (4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg) will help out inside and a potentially big boost may come from the football team in transfer and Arizona commit (10.4 ppg, 5.3 rpg at Wilsonville).