Prep Basketball

Matchup of Season: No. 2 Lancers vs No. 8 Irish

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Two teams have been dominating Eugene prep basketball this season. On Friday night, these two powerhouses will collide in the game of the season regionally.

The (16-4, 9-0) Churchill Lancers sit in the No. 2 ranking in the entire state of Oregon, behind only Jefferson (Portland), and have four remaining games before the start of the 5A OSAA state playoffs. The (17-5, 6-1) Sheldon Irish will come into the game ranked No. 8 in the 6A standings. These two will face off Friday in a battle for revenge and bragging rights.

Sheldon pulled out a narrow 56-51 over Churchill on January 15th at home, but now the game is headed over to the Lancers’ Dome. Churchill has one of the most intimidating student sections in the region, and you can be they’ll be out for vengeance.

So, here is how the teams breakdown and why each team could win:

 

chs_logoWhy Churchill Wins:

 

The Lancers opened the season an impressive 7-0, but dropped two of their next three games in the Mesa Challenge (Mesa, AZ tournament) to teams with a combined record of 41-10. Yeah, those were really good teams. But Churchill as a team has continued to grow since the losses, going 8-2 with both of their loses coming by three and five points to South Eugene and Sheldon respectively.

Since the back-to-back loses, the team has won by an average of 24.2 PPG. Only one of their last six wins has been by fewer than 14 points.

Churchill is at their hottest point, which is exactly where they want to be heading into postseason competition. The Lancers will want to continue the stride with a payback win over the rival Irish. With the home crowd behind them, they’ll role.

 

14250_fullWhy Sheldon Wins:

 

The Irish are the most athletically gifted team in the Eugene/Springfield area. Like the Lancers, Sheldon is on its hottest streak of the season and winners of their last 13 games. Excluding a 4-game losing streak early on in the season (three of them to out-of-league teams in the Les Schwab Invitational) the team has an astound 17-1 record.

Head coach Ron Lampe typically has to deal with slow starts to the season, as half of his players make the transition from football season to basketball.

The Irish have proven that they know how to take down the Lancers, not something many can say, and are primed to do it again on an even bigger stage. With the poise and senior leadership behind multi-sport star Connor Strahm, the home-court advantage won’t be a factor. Sheldon has the experience.

 

Game Prediction:

 
Churchill 57
Sheldon 53
 

I swear this has nothing to do with the fact that I’m a Churchill alumni! This team is on a mission and seems ready to win its first state championship since 2001. Brothers Malik and Emanuel Morgan make for one of the strongest tandem of guards in the state. Along with 6’6″ Keidren Johnson, Churchill has a lethal inside-outside game. I see the Lancers getting payback for the January showdown exactly a month before.

Comment below on who you see winning this Friday showdown. Make sure to like our Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @EDN_Sports for more breaking news.

Sports Desk: Attention on Oregon Football Ready to Shift

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The 2012 Oregon football season was an amazing journey ending in the program’s fourth consecutive BCS bowl. While it might not have been the national championship – and there was a sense of disappointment – there’s no reason for fans, players, or coaches to hang their heads. They have a streak no other team has matched. Only Oregon has played in four consecutive BCS bowl games.

And in 3… 2… 1… It’s time to move on and turn your attention to basketball!

 
Oregon fans during civil war basketball(AP Photo/Don Ryan)
Oregon fans during civil war basketball
(AP Photo/Don Ryan)

Ducks Basketball

 

There’s something big brewing in Eugene, and it’s the University of Oregon men’s basketball program. Coach Dana Altman has his Ducks (11-2) entering conference play. And who better to kick start Pac-12 play than with the rival Beavers (10-3).

The Ducks, led by Rice transfer Arsalan Kazemi (8.5 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 1.6 APG), are a legitimate threat to Arizona and UCLA in the conference. The Ducks have an incredibly young, but talented team, with freshmen Damyean Dotson (11.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.2 APG) and Dominic Artis (10.1 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 3.7 APG) leading the team in points per game and assists per game respectively.

Oregon will bring in 2013 with huge goals and expectations. Oregon has not made it to the NCAA Tournament since the 2007 season, but has not had a team as talented as this one since. After winning the CBI two seasons ago and a deep run in the NIT last season. It’s a natural progression to assume the NCAA Tournament is the next tournament for the Ducks to make a run in.

Fans will get a good idea after this weekend’s game against OSU what this team is truly made of. EDN’s Chris Brooklier and Conor Armor will be there for the coverage.

 

Prep Basketball

 

Churchill Lancers Boys Basketball (10-2, 4-0) 

If you haven’t started following the Lancers, it’s about time. The two brothers, Malik (7.0 PPG) and Emanuel Morgan (12.5 PPG) are the second and fourth leading scorers on the team and create a well-tuned duo on the court.

DeShone Brooks (11.0 PPG), Keidren Johnson (12.9 PPG) and David Schedrick round out the rest of the team’s top-5 scorers. This team has game at Sheldon on the 15th that will be a huge display of just how good these Lancers are.

 

Springfield's Mercedes Russell(USA Basketball)
Springfield’s Mercedes Russell
(USA Basketball)

Springfield Millers Girls Basketball (8-3, 0-0)

Now I realize that Millers don’t have the best record of the local prep girls basketball team, but they have easily the most dominant female athletes in the last decade for Eugene athletics.

Star Mercedes Russell led Springfield to a 5A state title last season. ESPN ranks her as the No. 1 player in her respective recruiting class… in the country!  It will be just a matter of time before Russell and this team are back in their run for a second consecutive state title.

 

Eugene Daily News will be here for all the coverage! Make sure to like us on Facebook and send us a follow or a tweet on Twitter!

Prep Hoops Roundup 2-09-2012

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— Alex Shoemaker, EDN Sports
Irish Come Up With A Big Victory Over SpartansSheldon guard Dillon Miller came up with a huge performance last Thursday. That was more than enough for the Irish, as they easily blew out the Marist Spartans 75-42 on the road. 

Miller finished the game with 23 points, and contributed in all facets of the game.At his vital point guard position, essentially deciding the tempo of the entire offense, Miller has been instrumental in the huge surge of the Irish this season.Head coach Ron Lampe is very happy with the play of his senior captain.“Miller has been great,” said Lampe after the game. “He does everything I ask and more. He’s a great team player and we’re lucky to have him.”

The game was close through a quarter and a half when senior guard Sean Bellotti came up with a big block that completely changed the momentum of the game. Bellotti, son of former Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti, has been a great contributor coming off of the bench.

Marist went into the second quarter with a 19-16 lead, but a one-sided second and early third quarter gave the Irish a 54-33 lead. After that, Sheldon never looked back.“We went on a good run there,” said Lampe. “We started hitting our jumpers as well as making smart passes and moving the ball. We didn’t want to have a shootout, but just play our style of basketball.”The Irish did just that, playing an up-tempo offense, and have been effective with that approach lately.After starting the season 2-4, Sheldon has gone on a 14-1 run (currently an eight game win streak) and have won most of those in convincing fashion. The Irish took care of business in their other two games this past week, blowing out North Eugene on the road 80-60 on Saturday and a 73-38 victory over Springfield.

The 16-5 Irish have secured a spot in the 6A playoffs. They can now either choose to rest up or try and improve their seeding. Sheldon plays Grant on Friday and South Eugene on Tuesday.

For the Spartans, their 12-8 record has them in the 5A tournament, but not at a very high seed. With two games this week against Marshfield (Friday) and Willamette (Tuesday), Marist could make a serious push with two likely victories.

Around the Rest of the League:

Churchill Lancers:


Churchill bounced back from a disappointing loss to Marshfield and swept their next three games in blowout fashion (margin of 30 points per game).  They cruised to winsover Willamette, Thurston, and Marist. The 17-4 Lancers are playoff bound and can rest for the next two weeks before the playoffs.  Churchill ranks No. 3 in 5A, and will play North Eugene and Springfield this week.North Eugene Highlanders:

At 8-12, North Eugene is close to taking its last breath. The Highlanders went 1-2 this week with a 15-point loss at Springfield, a 20-point loss against Sheldon,  followed by an 8-point win over South Eugene.North plays at Churchill on Friday, and then will be at home against Marshfield on Tuesday. North needs a sweep this week to have any shot at keeping their slim playoff hopes alive.South Eugene Axemen:

This was another bad week for South as they lost all three of their games.  Their 3-18 record and weak strength of schedule has them ranked 38th out of 43 teams in the 6A league.The Axemen will face Springfield and Sheldon this week, and they would do well to win one more game this season for momentum going into the 2012-13 campaign.Willamette Wolverines:

The 8-13 Wolverines are in a similar position as North Eugene. Willamette ranks a disappointing 26th in the 5A rankings, due to their poor OWP (opponent winning percentage).After an 86-41 blowout loss to Churchill on Thursday, the Wolverines bounced back with a much needed win over Marshfield.  The Wolverines play at Thurston on Friday and at Marist on Tuesday. They need to win both for playoff hopes and overall pride.Prep Game Of The Week:EDN will be live-blogging again.  This time, we’ll be at Sheldon on Friday night, when the Irish face the visting Grant Generals.  The game is a potential playoff preview of sorts, so stop by the website around 7pm to catch all the action.

Prep Hoops Roundup 2-2-2012

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— Alex Shoemaker, EDN

Game Of The Week: Sheldon Vs. Willamette

Sheldon has been on an absolute tear for the past two months, dominating their competition. The 13-5 Irish now have  nine wins in their past ten games and a five game streak.They took a 29-23 into halftime on Friday night against the 7-12 Willamette Wolverines, and it looked like it might be a game for once. But Sheldon pulled away in the second half on forced turnovers for a 59-38 victory.

Irish point guard Connor Strahm was highly instrumental in the win, forcing numerous steals and pushing the ball in fast break situations.

“I was feeling it tonight,” said Strahm. “It was a great team effort. We’re playing really good basketball right now and I like the way we’re playing. This team is well rounded and we work off of each other.”Senior captain Dillon Miller also had a big game, leading the Irish in assists.

“Both Connor and Dillon had good efforts tonight,” said head coach Ron Lampe. “This was just another team victory and everyone played a significant role. We’re on a hot streak right now and let’s hope we keep rolling.”
photo by Eugene Wesley, EDN

Sheldon uses an effective fast-pace offense that has the ability to wear down teams late in contests, as was the case against Willamette. With four of the five Irish starters also playing significant roles on the football team, conditioning is part of their identity.

“We’re fast down the court,” said Strahm. “We can outrun teams and play that way all game long. We don’t tire out. Coach Lampe has us ready to play each game.”

Willamette looked depleted in the second half, losing costly possessions on turnovers or miscommunication. The Wolverines held onto the ball too long on consecutive series in the third quarter, leading to forced shots at the buzzer“Our defense won us the game,” said Lampe. “We weren’t shooting well in the first half, but stepped it up in the second.”

photos by Eugene Wesley

Sheldon also took care of business on Tuesday night, defeating the Thurston Colts 50-37 at home. The Irish are in fantastic shape to close out the season in the next six games. A deep playoff run seems to be in the works. Their next game is this Thursday at Marist.


As for Willamette, their season has just about run its course. With five games remaining, the Wolverines can hope to close things out on a positive note, and begin working on next year.  Their next game is at Churchill on Thursday.One More Note On Sheldon At Marist

The Sheldon/Willamette contest has been selected as EDN’s Prep Game Of The Week.  Head over to our website at 7pm on Thursday, and catch all the action on the live blog. Should be a good time.Around the League

Churchill Lancers:

The Lancers only had one game this week, a 70-63 loss at Marshfield on Tuesday. The setback brought their record to 14-4. Churchill has lost two of its last three games, and have not had the same look they had earlier in the season.The Lancers will make the postseason, but going in with positive momentum is crucial. Their next game is Thursday night when they host the Willamette Wolverines.

Marist Spartans:

Marist’s week was a perfect representation of their season as a whole. The Spartans lost a 62-48 game at home against an inferior North Eugene squad on Friday night. On Tuesday, however,  they bounced back with a big 87-58 win over Springfield.

This team is nearly impossible to figure out, and looks different each time they take the court. Marist may have the toughest week of their season coming up.

They start their stretch on Thursday hosting Sheldon. Two nights later, the Spartans will visit South Eugene. Marist returns home against Churchill this coming Tuesday. The goal should be to win at least two of those three games.

North Eugene Highlanders:

The Highlanders only played one game this week and made it count. They shocked the world with a 62-48 blowout upset over Marist. Their next game is on Thursday at Springfield.

South Eugene Axemen:

Normally winning one of two games in a week isn’t something to cheer about. But for the 3-15 South Eugene Axemen, it is a cause for celebration. After a 67-50 blowout loss at Marshfield on Thursday, the Axemen bounced back with a 39-35 win over Willamette at home.

The win marked South’s first home win of the season, giving the fans something to take from the season. They do have a busy week ahead with there games upcoming, the first of which is a 7pm tip off against Thurston on Thursday.