Willamina girls basketball finally breaks through first round
The Bulldogs (23-3, 14-0), the No.4-ranked seed in the bracket, made easy work of No. 5-seeded Corbett, beating the Cardinals 40-25 to move on to the quarterfinals. Willamina plays at 8:15 p.m. Thursday at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay vs. last season’s 3A state champion, Vale.
“I thought we played well,” Willamina coach Tom Anderson said. “I was happy with our execution. (Corbett) was a good team and they played well. We did well on both sides of the ball.”
Junior Kyra Toney led Willamina with 16 points and nine rebounds.
Corbett (17-9, 12-4), which finished third in the Lewis & Clark League, struggled against Willamina’s zone. Last season, the Bulldogs were unable to make it out of the first round and lost 37-28 to Santiam Christian.
“This team is much closer than last year,” Anderson said. “They play together really well, and everyone’s dedicated.”
The Willamina program is slowing climbing to prominence. The climb began in 2005 when the Bulldogs took their first trip to the state quarterfinals where they lost 41-25 to Portland Christian.
Under coach Jerry Grant, Willamina went 30-1 in 2006 and made it to the state championship. They faced Myrtle Point and lost 59-55.
From 2007 to 2012, Willamina was up and down. Despite regular season success, the Bulldogs couldn’t quite past the first round of the playoffs.
“This program has had quite a bit of talent come through,” Anderson said. “We take basketball very seriously, and we love the game. It is important for us and the community to play state basketball.”
The Bulldogs are back in the state tournament and are out of the first round. Senior Brook Wilson is the team’s leading scorer, but Willamina is also built for the future.
Freshman Kasey Anderson is quickly becoming a veteran of the Bulldog’s team. She finished her first playoff game against Corbett with eight points, two rebounds, and three assists.
The execution and dedication to winning is what has the Bulldogs playing their best basketball since 2006.
“This is just a group of hard workers,” Anderson said. “The teams that enjoy working hard are the ones that go far.”
If the Bulldogs don’t beat Vale, they move on to the consolation round and play either St. Mary’s or Scio at 10:45 a.m. Friday.
The differences between this season and last season are like night and day for the Pioneers girls basketball program.
The Pioneers (23-4, 11-3) continued their remarkable season with a 61-29 win over Portland Christian (15-12, 12-4) in the first round of the 2A state playoffs Saturday.
The win was Western Mennonite’s ninth win in 10 games.
The Pioneers were not a factor in the Tri-River Conference last season and finished 12-15. This season, Western Mennonite finished second in the conference behind Regis.
Western Mennonite moves on to the quarterfinals and plays at 8:15 p.m. Thursday vs. the No. 5-seeded Enterprise at the Pendleton Convention Center.
The Western Mennonite boys basketball team is also headed to Eastern Oregon. The Pioneers beat Riverdale 41-32 Friday at home to qualify for the state quarterfinals.
The Pioneers (19-9) play at 3:15 p.m. Wednesday vs. league opponent Central Linn. The Pioneers split the season series with the Cobras, going 1-1.
The Warriors, behind coach Reg McShane, have turned the program completely around in one season.
Amity (20-6, 12-2) finished 11-12 a year ago and didn’t make the state playoffs. This season, behind a revamped offense and tighter man-to-man defense, the Warriors made it to the state playoffs.
Amity went in to the state tournament as a No. 6-ranked seed and played the No. 3-seeded Scio on the road Saturday. The Loggers (20-9, 11-2) beat the Warriors 53-44, bringing Amity’s turnaround season to an end. Scio won the PacWest Conference and made it back to the state playoffs after missing the tournament last year.
The Perrydale girls basketball program has reached the state playoffs for the third consecutive season. The Pirates (23-5, 13-1), blew out their first-round opponent Lowell 71-36 Wednesday and moved on to the second round. Perrydale was given the No. 5 seed and went up against No. 4-ranked Imbler. The Pirates made easy work of the Panthers and won 53-36 on the road Saturday.
For the second time in three seasons, Perrydale moves on to the quarterfinals. Perrydale plays at 8:15 p.m. Thursday at Baker High School vs. No. 1-seed Condon.
The Perrydale boys basketball team lost in overtime Saturday vs. Imbler and was eliminated from the playoffs.