Clackamas' Jazzy Davidson, among the nation's top juniors, is averaging 26.4 points this season. (Photo by Fanta Mithmeuangneua)
Clackamas' Jazzy Davidson, among the nation's top juniors, is averaging 26.4 points this season. (Photo by Fanta Mithmeuangneua)

Before Clackamas played its first game this girls basketball season, coach Korey Landolt had an important message for her players.

Sure, the Cavaliers returned several key players from their first state championship team, including one of the top junior recruits in the nation in guard Jazzy Davidson. But they couldn't afford to fixate on the past.

“We sat in a circle and I made them look at each other and just be like, 'This looks familiar, but it's not the same,'” Landolt said. “'Many of us were a part of something last year, but this year it's got to be a different story.' I think they're motivated by that.

“The big message was, 'Don't lean on last year, let's figure out who we are this year, knowing that we're going to be hunted the whole season.'”

As they prepare to defend their title this week in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 6A tournament at the Chiles Center, the second-seeded Cavaliers (22-3) believe they have established their own identity. They have been ranked No. 1 in the 6A coaches poll all season.

“It's been an ongoing process the whole season of really kind of developing who we are,” Landolt said.

The junior-dominated Cavaliers, who meet No. 10 Jesuit (20-6) in a quarterfinal Thursday, are unbeaten against Oregon teams since falling to Beaverton in the 2022 semifinals. Their only defeats this season came against two California teams in the POA Holiday Classic in late December and Washington power Camas in late January.

They have shown what they can do against some of the state's top teams. They opened the season by beating top-seeded South Medford 67-48 at home in a rematch of last year's final. They also defeated No. 6 Benson 69-64 and No. 5 Willamette 69-51.

Perhaps the biggest challenge for the Cavaliers was staying focused in the Mt. Hood Conference, where they won all of their games by at least 24 points.

“I feel like complacency has happened, but I don't necessarily think it's because we accomplished something last year,” Landolt said. “There's just been an unfortunate lack of challenges. We've tried to compete in practice, but we lost out on some practice time, which was a place where we could compete really hard.”

Davidson, a 6-foot-1 lefty and the reigning 6A player of the year, is the team's driving force. She is averaging 26.4 points (up from 22.5 last season), 7.7 rebounds, 2.6 assists and 3.8 steals while shooting 63.0 percent from the field, including 34.6 percent on three-pointers (28 for 81).

Davidson has become more of a leader this season after the graduation of two starters in guard Rhyan Mogel and center Eliza Buerk, who now play in college at Portland and Davidson, respectively.

“Having a bigger voice this year was something that we needed her to do, and she's stepped into that well,” Landolt said. “I feel like she puts a lot of pressure on herself, but then she just goes out there and plays. One thing Jazzy has is just that ability to get in the flow of a game and just go.”

Davidson, junior guard Sara Barhoum and junior point guard Avery Peterson are third-year starters. Junior guards Dylan Mogel and Allie Roden have moved into the starting lineup to replace Rhyan Mogel and Buerk.

The 5-11 Barhoum is the team's most dangerous perimeter threat. She is averaging 14.8 points and shooting 34.8 percent from three-point range (62 of 178) and 89.7 percent from the free-throw line. She had a team-high 28 points in a 75-50 second-round win over West Salem, scoring from the outside and on drives to the hoop.

Roden is averaging 12.9 points and 5.9 rebounds, impacting games with her relentless energy.

“She's just a scrapper,” Landolt said. “She gets in there and makes things happen.”

As good as the Cavaliers have been this season, they know they are not invincible. They got a reminder of that in the 61-45 loss at Camas, a team they defeated 72-53 at home in December.

“We didn't stay composed like I feel we know how to,” Landolt said. “We struggled to make shots, and instead of letting things go, it kind of wore us down.”

A look at the state tournament pairings:

Girls quarterfinals, Thursday, Chiles Center

No. 8 Southridge (22-4) vs. No. 1 South Medford (23-3), 1:30 p.m.: South Medford, runner-up last year, has earned the No. 1 seed despite graduating star guard Donovyn Hunter, now at Oregon State. The Panthers, who lost nonleague games to Clackamas and Benson, have won 19 in a row. Sophomore guard Taylor Young (16.0 points, 3.4 steals) and junior guard Sara Schmerbach (13.0 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.3 steals) were Southwest Conference first-team picks. South Medford won an unofficial state title in 2021 but hasn't won an official championship since 2012. Counting 2021, it is the Panthers' 12th quarterfinal in 13 seasons. Southridge has won seven state titles, more than any team in the field, the last two led by Cameron Brink in 2017 and 2018. The Skyhawks are led by 5-7 sophomore guard Sara Mangan (17.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 2.8 steals), who shoots 34.6 percent on three-pointers (82 for 237) and 84.0 percent on free throws. In Metro League play, they beat Jesuit twice but lost to Beaverton twice, sharing the league title with both teams.

No. 5 Willamette (20-7) vs. No. 4 Jefferson (24-2), 3:15 p.m.: Junior-led Willamette is back in the quarterfinals, where last year it put a scare into top-seeded Jesuit before falling 58-55. The Wolverines feature two first-team Southwest Conference picks in 6-0 junior guard Brynn Smith (18.6 points) and 6-0 junior forward Isabella Harms (16.4 points), who is shooting 39.2 percent from three-point range (58 for 148). They beat Benson 54-43 in the POA Holidey Classic. Their Oregon losses were to Clackamas (69-51) and South Medford (45-32 and 60-48). Willamette won four 5A titles between 2007 and 2014, the first one led by current coach Danielle McBride (formerly Bellando). Jefferson is in the quarterfinals for the first time since 2010, when the Democrats won their second 5A title in three seasons. Junior guards Chauncey Andersen (19.0 points) and Abrianna Lawrence (12.0 points, 6.0 assists, 7.0 rebounds) and junior forward Leila Nunez (7.0 rebounds) made the Portland Interscholastic League first team. Jefferson split two PIL games with Benson, winning 65-60 and losing 63-56.

No. 14 Grants Pass (18-9) vs. No. 6 Benson (21-4), 6:30 p.m.: Grants Pass, the lowest seed in the tournament, has its most wins since 2006, the year of its last quarterfinal appearance. The Cavemen's nine losses – including two each to South Medford and Willamette in Southwest Conference play – have come by an average of 6.1 points. They won at No. 3 McMinnville 54-45 in the round of 16. Senior guard Brooke Anderson (17.0 points) and 5-10 senior forward Brooklyn Wakefield (16.0 points, 10.0 rebounds, 21 charges taken) were selected to the SWC first team. Coach Scott Wakefield said that Anderson, the conference player of the year, is the best player he has coached. Benson features the three-time PIL player of the year in 6-2 senior Mahogany Chandler-Roberts (15.4 points). The Central Florida-bound Chandler-Roberts also was the league's defensive player of the year this season. Senior guard Eboni Clay (14.5 points) made the PIL first team. Clay combines with senior Mauriana Hashemian-Orr (14.3 points) for a dynamic backcourt. The Techsters smother opponents with their quickness and physicality. Benson won its only title in 2019.

No. 10 Jesuit (20-6) vs. No. 2 Clackamas (22-3), 8:15 p.m.: The teams met in the semifinals last year, with Clackamas pulling out a 39-34 win after Jesuit pulled to within two points with one minute left. In that game, the Crusaders held Clackamas standout Jazzy Davidson to 10 points on 3-for-10 shooting. Jesuit lost four starters from that team, but returned Nevada-bound senior post Kendra Hicks (6-1), who is averaging 14.5 points and 16.1 rebounds, including 7.8 offensive boards. Hicks was the Metro League player of the year and junior guard Audrey Bayless (10.6 points, 41 three-pointers) was the league defensive player of the year. Since winning their only title in 2011, the Crusaders have not made it back to the final. They won at No. 7 Tualatin 39-31 in the round of 16. Clackamas has not to an Oregon team since falling to Beaverton in the 2022 semifinals. Davidson (26.4 points) and junior guards Sara Barhoum (14.8 points), Allie Roden (12.9 points) and Dylan Mogel (6.2 points) made the Mt. Hood Conference first team. The Cavaliers are averaging a 6A-high 73.4 points, making 7.2 three-pointers per game.

Boys quarterfinals, Wednesday, Chiles Center

No. 8 Jesuit (18-8) vs. No. 1 Central Catholic (24-3), 1:30 p.m.: The teams met in a nonleague game Dec. 8, with Central Catholic winning at Jesuit 55-51. The Rams, unbeaten against Oregon teams, enter the tournament on an 18-game winning streak. They have the Mt. Hood Conference player of the year in Pepperdine-bound 6-5 senior guard Marley Zeller (15.2 points, 4.0 rebounds). Junior guard Isaac Carr (16.3 points, 4.0 rebounds), an Oregon commit, missed nine games with a sprained ankle before returning to play limited minutes in a second-round win over Mountainside, scoring six points. The 6-4 Carr and 6-0 sophomore point guard Zamir “Bam” Paschal (13.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists) also made the MHC first team. Central Catholic won its only title in 1994. Jesuit, which has won seven championships under coach Gene Potter, is in its first quarterfinal since winning its last title in 2019. The Crusaders made the tournament in 2020 before it was canceled. Jesuit has a sharpshooting point guard in 6-0 junior lefty Pat Kilfoil (16.4 points, 66 three-pointers on 38.8 percent) and one of the state's top freshmen in 6-2 wing Isaac Bongen (13.3 points, 59 three-pointers on 37.6 percent). Nico Rafalovich (14.7 points, 7.6 rebounds), a 6-6 senior wing, was the Metro League co-defensive player of the year.

No. 5 Tualatin (20-6) vs. No. 4 Barlow (19-7), 3:15 p.m.: Two-time reigning champion Tualatin seemed like the favorite heading into the season, but injuries have plagued the Timberwolves. Senior forward Jayden Fortier (ACL) has been out all season and junior forward Nolan Keeney (broken collarbone) and senior guard AJ Noland (knee soreness) also have missed time. Keeney returned in late January and Noland, questionable for the tournament, has been out for more than a month. But the Timberwolves are back in the tournament thanks to the play of 6-8 senior forward Jaden Steppe (21.9 points, 11.0 rebounds, 5.2 assists), a Colorado State signee, and sophomore point guard Jemai Lake (16.2 points), both Three Rivers League first-team picks. Tualatin beat Barlow 68-55 in the semifinals last year but the Bruins got payback Dec. 9, winning 69-59 at home. Three of Barlow's losses were to MHC rival Central Catholic. The Bruins have three first-team all-league players in 6-3 junior guard Jalen Atkins (18.5 points, 5.2 assists) and 6-6 junior forwards Mason Bierbrauer (15.5 points, 5.6 rebounds) and Brayden Barron (14.6 points, 7.4 rebounds). Senior point guard Cole Patrick (5.1 assists) set a school record with 16 assists against Nelson. Barlow has not won a title, appearing in one final (1996). Coach Tom Johnson is 642-312 in 38 seasons with the Bruins.

No. 11 Grant (19-7) vs. No. 3 Roosevelt (24-2), 6:30 p.m.: The Portland Interscholastic League rivals meet for the fourth time this season. Roosevelt beat Grant 77-66 in a tournament in early December and 81-65 in early January, but the Generals won the last meeting at home 67-65 in late January. Grant, the champion in 2018, has not played in the tournament since 2019. The Generals have come together under first-year coach Sean Brownhill, hired shortly before the season. They did not have a PIL first-team pick, but 6-5 senior forward Charlie Kapranos (14.0 points, 8.0 rebounds) made the second team. Junior guard Mekhi Muhammad and senior guard Vashon Hardges (7.0 rebounds) are averaging 11.0 points each and junior wing Quincy Scott and junior guard Zhalei Van (4.5 assists) are putting up 10.0 points apiece. Roosevelt, which won its only title in 1949, features the PIL player of the year in Utah State-bound 6-3 senior guard Terrence Hill Jr. (23.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.8 assists), who had a 47-point game this season. Hill played for Roosevelt's quarterfinal team in 2022 before spending his junior season in Arizona. The Roughriders lead 6A in scoring at 78.0 points per game. Roosevelt's potent backcourt also has 6-1 senior guard Chance White (16.7 points), 5-9 senior guard Utrillo Morris and 6-2 junior guard Owen Nathan. The Roughriders' only other loss this season was a season-opening 58-55 defeat to Tualatin.

No. 7 Beaverton (17-9) vs. No. 2 Southridge (24-3), 8:15 p.m.: Metro League champion Southridge takes on Beaverton, a team it defeated 85-67 at the Les Schwab Invitational and 82-81 and 76-68 in league play. The Skyhawks set a school record for wins and are bidding to make the semifinals for the first time in school history. They are averaging 74.8 points (third in 6A), making eight three-pointers per game on 35-percent accuracy. The backcourt includes seniors Carter Fortune (14.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists) and Kaden Groenig (13.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists) and junior Keenan Reckamp (12.5 points). Alonzo Hoff (11.0 points), a 6-6 junior wing, is the son of former Oregon State standout Mustapha Hoff. In their three losses – 77-43 to Harvard-Westlake (Calif, 68-55 to Mountainside and 57-48 to Jesuit – the Skyhawks scored their fewest points of the season. Beaverton has returned to the Chiles Center after losing to Tualatin in the quarterfinals the last two years. The Beavers have veteran guards in seniors Aidan Rice (20.7 points) and Max Elmgren (17.1 points), Metro first-team selections, and an athletic shot-blocker in 6-11 senior Chance Winter (9.9 points). Beaverton has beaten Tualatin, Barlow and Jesuit.