In the midst of the holiday basketball tournament season, Sherwood's girls team is having to make do without junior post Ava Heiden, the reigning player of the year in the 6A Pacific Conference.
The 6-foot-5 Heiden, who committed to Iowa in October, suffered a severely sprained ankle during a scramble for a loose ball in the second quarter of the team's opening game in the Lakeridge Tournament Dec. 16.
The Bowmen were leading Tigard 14-0 at the time of Heiden's injury, and without her, they lost 40-38. Sherwood (6-2) rebounded to defeat Hillsboro 41-24 and Glencoe 45-32 in its next two games at the tournament.
“Losing her, it was such an impact,” coach Jeff Anderson said. “We were rolling and hitting on all cylinders.”
Anderson said that Heiden, who is wearing a walking boot, is likely to miss the team's appearance in the POA Holiday Classic on Dec. 28-30. The Bowmen open the tournament Dec. 28 against No. 3 Beaverton, the reigning 6A champion.
“We're going to learn to play without her, and when she comes back in January, we're going to be stronger for it,” Anderson said.
Heiden, ranked by ESPN as the No. 42 junior prospect in the nation, is averaging 12 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocks per game. Anderson estimates that she also averages about 10 deflections on defense.
“She really dominates the game on that end,” he said. “She's just so long, and she's quick and athletic. She's not that big, plodding post. She's athletic enough to defend on the perimeter.
“She just impacts the game and the team in so many different ways, just with her presence. She's a phenomenal teammate. I've tried to develop the girls around her so she doesn't feel the pressure to carry the team.”
Heiden also has a soft shooting touch with range out to the three-point line.
“She'll trail on the break, and we'll kick it back, and she'll pull up and knock down a three,” Anderson said. “She's got an all-around inside-outside game. I think at the next level she might be a pick-and-pop. Her mid-range pull-up game, that's the next thing I want to develop.”
Anderson, who coached professional basketball in Japan, took over as coach this season for Lauren Howard, now the director of women's basketball operations at the University of Portland.
Anderson inherited the development of Heiden, who plays club ball with Northwest Select.
“I've given her some of the stuff I picked up in Japan,” Anderson said. “She's fully engaged. She is a sponge to new moves. She's got a great basketball IQ.”
Last season, Heiden helped Sherwood go 15-10 overall and 12-0 in the Pacific. The Bowmen lost at Jesuit 54-41 in the 6A playoff round of 16.
Sherwood, which also features junior wings Paige Bittner and Sabrina Flowers and junior guard Jaclyn Barritt, was eager for the test against Beaverton in the POA Holiday Classic. The Bowmen were hopeful to make up for their disappointing outing in a 73-32 home loss to No. 2 Jesuit on Dec. 6.
“We were really looking to make another test and see where we were sitting with them and Jesuit, because we didn't perform well against Jesuit,” Anderson said. “We were kind of shell-shocked.”
Sutherlin knocks off No. 1 Corbett
Senior Micah Wicks scored 22 points as co-No. 5 Sutherlin dropped No. 1 Corbett 53-42 in the final of the 3A Showcase on Wednesday at Marshfield High School.
The Bulldogs, 3A semifinalists last season, led 30-10 at half behind 17 points from Wicks. The Cardinals rallied to within six points in the fourth quarter but couldn't overtake Sutherlin (6-1), which also got 12 points from sophomore post Madison Huntley and 10 points from junior forward Madison Wagner.
"We played a really good first half, but came out flat in the third quarter and Corbett took it to us," Sutherlin coach Josh Grotting told the News-Review "We were turnover-heavy, but held on in the fourth quarter. That's a good team we beat."
Sutherlin defeated No. 7 Santiam Christian 60-45 in a first-round game Tuesday behind 25 points from Wicks, who surpassed T.J. Hall as the school's all-time leading scorer. Wicks has 1,275 points in four seasons.
'Brutally tough' schedule
Wednesday's loss to Sutherlin was the first defeat of the season for Corbett (9-1), which moved down to 3A after finishing as the 4A runner-up last season.
The Cardinals won the Seaside Holiday Classic last week, defeating 4A co-No. 4 Madras 56-51 in the final. They trailed Madras by double digits for much of the game but came back behind junior guard Ally Schimel, who scored 31 points and was named the tournament MVP.
It was the second win over Madras for Corbett, which opened the season by beating 3A No. 3 Amity, Madras and 4A No. 2 Astoria in consecutive games.
Cardinals sophomore guard Taylor Donahue is averaging a team-high 20 points, five steals and four rebounds per game. Schimel is putting up 18 points, seven rebounds, five steals and four blocks per game.
Sophomore guard Lily Schimel (13 points, seven rebounds, four steals) and junior guard Ella Holwege (10 points, eight rebounds) also are key contributors.
“Any one of them could go off for 30 points in a night,” Corbett coach Bill Schimel said. “They are starting to groove in their new roles together as we have scheduled a brutally tough preseason. … Although we don't have much size, we use our advantage of size having to guard us.”