OREGON CITY – Oregon City has had more than its share of missed opportunities this girls basketball season, with its four Three Rivers League losses coming by a combined 16 points.
Fortunately for the Pioneers, they will get another chance to make up for it.
By beating visiting Mountain View 57-35 in a 6A first-round playoff game Wednesday night, they advance to Saturday's round of 16 to face Three Rivers champion Lakeridge, a team that beat them by seven and two points in league games.
As the clock ticked down on the win Wednesday, the Oregon City student section broke into a “We want Lakeridge” chant.
“I'm really just hoping third time's a charm,” Pioneers senior guard Kaydyn Guelsdorf said. “Every game we've played with them, we've been neck-and-neck. We know them through and through, and I think we have to bring our 'A' game. We have to play and shoot even better than we did today.”
That will be a tall order considering No. 13 seed Oregon City (17-8) shot lights-out against No. 20 Mountain View (15-9). The Pioneers made eight three-pointers in the first half to take a 34-12 lead and added four more triples in the first four minutes of the third quarter before reeling in their offense the rest of the way.
Senior guard Madison Norton and Guelsdorf each made three three-pointers and finished with 13 and 11 points, respectively. Oregon City also got two three-pointers each from senior Anya Remsburg (10 points) and sophomore Megan Craig (eight points) and single triples from senior Grace Leasure (nine points) and senior Emily Billings.
“I just think we played as a team today,” Guelsdorf said. “It wasn't just five players, it was one team. I thought we brought the energy we knew we had to bring to win this game.”
Oregon City shot 12 for 31 from three-point range.
“We were ready to go. We haven't shot like that all season,” Oregon City coach Tiffani Traver said. “We had spurts where it's been like that, but not where it's been three or four or five or six of us hitting threes.
“I think part of that is with five seniors, they know what these games mean. They know we have to show up and be ready to go because it's one-and-done at this point.”
The Pioneers had the Cougars' heads spinning as they whipped the ball around to open shooters. Oregon City outscored Mountain View 16-0 in the second quarter.
“I've watched probably 10 games on film and have not seen them shoot like that all year,” Mountain View coach Jon Corbett said. “I thought we did a really good job early of shutting down their drive game, and then they started hitting those outside shots, and it was like pick your poison at that point.”
Mountain View was making its first playoff appearance since 2011, when it made the 5A quarterfinals. But the young Cougars – who start three sophomores, one junior and one senior -- committed 21 turnovers, 17 in the first half. Sophomore point guard Kasey Booster scored a team-high 10 points, well off her 18 average.
“We're young, and we kind of played young offensively,” Corbett said. “It was great experience for us in that regard. Going forward, it's something that we need to see and experience. But we put the ball on the floor too often, played a little too much one-on-five.”
Oregon City, which has won a state-record 12 state championships, hasn't won a title since 2014. The Pioneers haven't made the state tournament since finishing as runners-up in 2017, coming one game short of the Chiles Center in 2018 and 2020.
They are confident they can hang with No. 4 Lakeridge. In the teams' first meeting this season, they led the Pacers by 11 points in the first half before falling 63-56. They lost at home to Lakeridge 51-49.
“It's hard playing a team three times, both sides,” Traver said. “At this point, it's just on us to be ready to go and play all 32 minutes. The last two games, we haven't played a 32-minute game yet.”
Norton said that when the Pioneers execute, they can play with the state's elite teams.
“I think if we play like we did tonight, it should be a really good game,” Norton said. “We definitely can compete when we're on that level.”