Sheldon Irish - Page 3

Sheldon Routs Thurston to Secure Conference Title

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Sheldon #84 Nathan Starnes kicking off to begin the first quarter (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

Headed into their game against an undefeated, conference rival Sheldon Irish (8-0, 6-0) team, the Thurston Colts (4-4,4-2) had a lot going in their favor. For one, there was the presumed advantage of playing on the natural surface of their home stadium. Grass fields can be a problem for teams, like the Irish, who are used to playing on the uniform footing of artificial turf.

The weather also seemed to be on their side as intermittent downpours saturated the ground, quickly turning the playing surface into a spongy, mud-slick expanse. Inclement conditions like those tend to favor a straight ahead, up-the-gut run game like Thurston’s over the sweeping end runs favored by Sheldon. At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work in theory.

“We don’t play on grass very often,” said Sheldon head coach Lane Johnson after the game. “It was not a factor for our kids, which I’m proud of, and we played Sheldon football. It was fun.”

“It was strange playing on the grass,” said Sheldon QB Taylor Allie, “but once we adjusted we played very well.”

Sheldon #7 Ryan Fisher slaps a touchdown pass out of the hands of Thurston #33 Jack Miller in the third quarter (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

Early on in Thurston’s 49-8 loss to undefeated conference rival Sheldon, the Colts appeared to have the makings of an upset on their hands. Following the opening kickoff, their defense forced the visiting Irish to turn the ball over on downs at their own 33, setting up Thurston’s offense in prime position to take a quick lead. Sheldon was able to get the ball right back on an interception by Connor Strahm, but the Colts’ defense held firm, stopping the visitors short of midfield and forcing a punt.

After that, things began to take a far more unpleasant turn for the home team. Four plays later, Sheldon’s special teams unit blocked a punt that was then recovered by DE Brett Nielsen for a touchdown. Thurston’s next possession, a promising 59-yard drive deep into enemy territory was undone on a fumble on a botched play fake that was recovered again by Nielsen. Soon the Irish were once again celebrating a touchdown, this time on a 55-yard Allie pass to Strahm, who caught the ball in double coverage, broke free of his would-be tacklers, and streaked across the goal line to put his team up, 14-0.

The Colts’ punt on their following possession was quickly followed up with yet another Allie touchdown pass, this time a 21-yard completion to WR Ivan Faulhaber up the seam. Faulhaber then extended the Irish lead to 28-0 by snagging an interception and returning it for a TD.

Thurston was able to respond with a balanced drive to Sheldon’s 3 yard line, where they assaulted the Irish defensive line with a heavy dose of old-fashioned battering ram runs up the middle until QB Chris Weick finally punched through into the end zone. The Colts then converted a successful 2 point conversion to close the gap to 28-8.

Unfortunately for them, that marked one of the few times in the entire game that the Colts were able to get within spitting distance of the Irish goal line. A big part of the problem was that Weick’s success moving the ball on keepers and scrambles was not matched by similar production through the air (0 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 40.9% completion rate).

Thurston #15 Corey Weick throws a pass in the fourth quarter while Sheldon #18 Mike Ralston attempts to bat it down (Matthew Heuett/Eugene Daily News)

Not that Thurston just rolled over and let them win, as the Colts players kept up their aggressiveness on defense all game long. Sheldon’s high-powered offense had only been forced to punt a handful of times by their previous seven opponents combined, but Thurston forced them to punt 5 times. In the second half, the Irish scoring frenzy dropped off as the Colts’ defense succeeded in limiting them to a single TD in each of the last two quarters, a 22-yard reverse run by Dylan Lewis and a Ryan Fisher run from 18 yards out.

However, Thurston’s offense was unable to match the intensity of the team’s defensive unit. Of their seven possessions in the second half, three ended with punts, two with interceptions, one with a turnover on downs, and the last when the clock finally ran out in the fourth quarter.

“I thought we were going to play them a lot closer than [we did] today,” said Colts receiver Jack Miller afterwards. “We’ve played against these guys forever and it’s always been close. They came to play, and I think a lot of our team let their reputation come get us,” he continued, referring to Sheldon’s propensity for blowout wins.

Next week, the undefeated Sheldon Irish will play host to the Grants Pass Cavemen, while the 4-4 Thurston Colts will play a road game against the South Eugene Axemen. Both games begin at 7 PM on Friday the 26th.

Around 6A:

South Eugene: It’s been another long, painful season for South (0-8, 0-6). The Axemen have scored 111 points while allowing 378. Last night’s game? A 48-12 loss to Crater. They go for their last chance at a win next week against Thurston.

Around 5A:

Churchill: The Lancers (6-2, 4-2) bounced back from a blowout loss to get a blowout win. Marist destroyed CHS last week, but last night the Lancers bounced back with a 40-0 win over North Eugene. Churchill travels to Springfield for their regular season finale.

Marist: As is the usual this time of the year, the Spartans (7-1, 6-0) are in prime position for a deep playoff run. Marist beat Springfield 35-14 last night and play their final regular season game against North Eugene.

Springfield: The Millers (6-2, 5-1) have looked great in their wins, but pretty bad in their losses. After a 62-0 drubbing of North Eugene last week, South lost 35-14 to 5A Marist. They’ve also been an anomaly, going 2-2 at home and 4-0 on the road. They play Churchill next Friday to finish up the regular season.

North Eugene: The Highlanders (2-6, 2-4), after starting the season 2-2 have loss four straight games including the 40-0 nothing loss last night. Int their last four contests, they’ve given up 219 points (54.5 per game) and only scored six points (1.5 per game). Their final game is against Marist Friday night.

Willamette: The Wolverines (1-7, 0-6) have looked almost as bad as South Eugene this season. Willamette got their one and only win in week two against the Axemen, and have lost six straight including a 50-6 loss last night to Ashland.

October 5 – Morning Headlines

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Morning Headlines

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The Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that restrictions on campaign finance that Oregon voters approved in 2006 can’t be enforced.
  • 1 driver’s DUII ticket leads to another’s
    Here’s something they don’t teach you in college: If you’ve been drinking, it’s best not to drive yourself to the local police station to pick up a chum who needs a ride home after being arrested on a charge of driving while drunk. A University…
  • Oakridge man sentenced for killing friend during fight
    A 33-year-old Oakridge man was sentenced Thursday to 80 months in prison after pleading guilty to criminally negligent homicide for killing his sometime-roommate Alan Eric Platt during a drunken fight at Hills Creek Lake on May. 1. Platt, … 
  • Trial date set for suspect in slaying of Eugene man
    A February 2014 trial date has been set for David Ray Taylor, 56, a paroled killer who faces a possible death sentence if convicted of murdering a 22-year-old Eugene man in August. Portland residents Mercedes Leeann Crabtree, 18, and A.J. Scott Nelson,…
  • Comets provide a Pac-12 preview
    A pair of future Pac-12 Conference football players will be at Sheldon tonight. Crater arrives to battle the Irish for first place in the Southwest Conference, led by defensive end Derrick Turituri and linebacker R.J. Morgan, who have both committed to…
  • McKenzie stuffs Crow
    McKenzie survived a tough test from visiting Crow Thursday night to stay within a half game of Mountain West League leading Lowell. Makaila Hiddleston had 10 kills, 12 digs and three blocks to lead the Eagles in their 25-10, 26-24, 25-23..

Keep Current: – EDN Headline News, Sports and Weather

Tim Chuey Weather:

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More beautiful Fall weather for your Friday. The weekend into Columbus Day looks great too.

High: 76
Low: 34
Forecast: Fall weather.

A  high pressure ridge (Shaded “Arch” shape with blue arrows) has set up over the Gulf of Alaska in such a way as to send cool Canadian air our way. We’ll have chilly nights followed by pleasant days with sunshine and average temperatures through the weekend, Columbus Day and beyond.

Forecast for the Southern and lower Mid Willamette Valley including Eugene-Springfield and Albany-Corvallis: Sunny today and mostly sunny Saturday and Sunday with mostly clear nights highs 76-72 lows 34-39. Mostly sunny Monday (Columbus Day), then partly cloudy Monday night, mostly sunny Tuesday and Wednesday with partly cloudy nights then partly cloudy Thursday highs 74-70 lows near 43. (seasonal averages high 70 low 43)

Because weather forecasting is a combination of science, intuition, and timing there can be no absolute guarantees that individual forecasts will be 100% accurate. Nature is in a constant state of flux and sudden unexpected weather events can happen.

Keep Current on the Weather: timchueyweather4u.com

Sheldon Blanks North Medford on Strong outting from Strahm

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Connor Strahm led the Sheldon defense to a 55-0 shutout victory over North Medford at Dennis Ludwig Stadium Friday night. The shutout was the first of the season for the Irish, and senior linebacker Connor Strahm was happy with his team’s performance.

“Even as we got our second and third stringers into the game we keep that zero on the board, and they never got inside the 20-yard line, and I think that speaks a lot about our defense as a whole,” said Strahm.

North Medford (1-3) struggled on offense all night, and any attempt to move the chains was turned back by the impenetrable Irish defense. The Tornados ended the night with only 101 total yards. Conversely, Sheldon’s (4-0) offense picked up of off last weeks success, and had no problem putting points on the board against the Tornados. The Irish scored early on a 4-yard run by junior Yadie Dunmore, and there was no looking back from there. Dunmore ended his night with three catches for 53 yards and two total touchdowns.

Going into the half, it was already 35-0 Irish, and already do-it-all senior Connor Strahm had four total touchdowns on the night. Two through the air, one on the ground, and a 65-yard punt return for a touchdown. Strahm had two of his previous punt returns for touchdowns called back.

The first was a return of 71-yards, but it was called back for a clipping penalty. The second, a return for 72-yards was called back. This time wiped away by a penalty for running into the kicker. However, the third time was the charm for Strahm as he sliced through several Tornado defenders on the way to the score.

“Every game, every practice we’ve gotten better as a team” said senior Sheldon starting quarterback Taylor Alie. 

Alie also had a strong showing against North Medford, going 11-for-13 for 235 yards and three touchdowns. North Medford will have to address their offensive woes before the face off against Crater (2-2) next Friday. As for the Irish, they will head south next Friday to play the South Medford Panthers (3-1). South Medford’s only loss comes two weeks ago against Thurston, so the match up should prove interesting for Sheldon.

Sheldon’s record remains unblemished, and seniors on the team know the importance of maintaining focus in order to keep their record that way.

“We’ve just got to eliminate the mistakes, and get better going forward,” said Taylor Alie. “We are getting close as teammates, which makes it a lot of fun out there.”

Other Local Scores 

Thurston 26, Roseburg 12: Cory Weick threw for two touchdowns and ran for another on the road, leading the Colts (2-2) to the conference victory over the Indians.

South Medford 52, South Eugene 0: Nick Phillips scored twice on rushing touchdowns for the Panthers win at home.

Ashland 29, Churchill 13: Danial White led the Ashland rushing attack to lead the Grizzlies to an upset at home over the fourth-ranked Lancers.

Marist 55, Marshfield 7: Kamerun Smith threw three touchdowns in the Spartans’ victory Coos Bay against Marshfield.

Springfield 37, Eagle Point 28: Freshman quarterback Trevor Watson threw for a couple touchdown passes and ran in another to propel the Millers from a 21-point deficit to a win.

Sheldon Downs Southridge in Season Opener

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Taylor Alie takes one in for 6.

Sheldon overcame a seven point halftime defect in a 35-28 shootout win against Southridge at Dennis Ludwig Stadium on Friday night.

Southridge (0-1) put the first points on the board with an 80-yard touchdown grab by receiver Jordan Morgan. The Southridge offense didn’t stop there, as running back Devin Martinez capitalized on a run up the sideline to make it 14-0 Skyhawks. The Irish (1-0) defense had no answer to the dual threat Skyhawk attack, but when the Sheldon defense couldn’t respond in the first quarter, do-it-all senior Connor Strahm did in the second.

Strahm scored two rushing touchdowns to quickly tie up the game in the second quarter. However, Southridge receiver Jordan Morgan struck again, hauling in a deflected pass for the 43 yard score, and a Skyhawk 21-14 lead at halftime.

“We didn’t need to make a lot of x’s and o’s adjustments going into the third quarter,” Strahm said. “Our guys just need to get used to playing varsity football.”

Southridge deferred the coin toss to start the game, and started the second half with the ball. In the second half the once potent Skyhawks’ passing game was tamed by a stellar Irish pass rush led by junior Mitchell Herbert. After forcing Southridge to punt from their own endzone, Irish quarterback Taylor Alie hit Dylan Lewis who scurred past defenders for the 41-yard game tying touchdown.

The Irish got the ball back, and quickly pulled ahead 28-21 with a 4-yard bootleg left by Taylor Alie with just under a minute to go in the third quarter.

The Skyhawks continued to struggle to reignite their passing game in the forth quarter, and a 20 yard interception return for a touchdown by Kellen Strahm all but sealed the deal for the Irish in the forth.

Connor Strahm was excited to see his little brother make huge play in his first game as a varsity football player, but knows in order to remain successful it will take more from young players in the weeks to come.“We have a lot guys who need to get used to the speed of the game, Central (Catholic) is a tough team, so next week’s practices we will need to work on our stamina and continue improving,” said Strahm.

Sheldon will face off of against traditional Portland powerhouse Central Catholic (0-1) next week 7 p.m. at home.


6A Football

Thurston: The Colts (0-1) could not have had a worst start to the 2012 season than playing Aloha, a favorite to win the state title in a 45-0 route. Running back Thomas Tyner, one of the top recruits nationally and an Oregon commit, returned from a tough leg injury that cost him most of the 2011 season for 217 yards and four touchdowns on just 10 carries (21.7 YPC).

South Eugene: The Axemen (0-1) also started off the season with a loss, falling to local Churchill 56-21. South’s defense was nowhere to be found, allowing junior Tyler Reid to rush for 412 yards and seven TDs. That’s right. Seven touchdowns!

 

5A Football

Churchill: The Lancers’ (1-0) huge 56-21 victory can be described in two words: Tyler Reid. Reid combined for a remarkable 412 yards offensively with seven touchdowns. Churchill will be a force to be reckoned with in 2012.

North Eugene: The Highlanders (0-1) opened with a road loss to Summit, 30-22. North’s loss is out-of-conference, and will not hurt their league standing.

Willamette: The Wolverines (0-1) dropped game one in a tough, gritty, game against Corvallis 33-20. The game was out of league, and Willamette is not hurt too much in their postseason hopes.

Marist: The Spartans (1-0) have to replace the do-it-all back/receiver Taylor Walcott is gone, but Kamerun Smith returned with four touchdowns in Marist’s 41-20 win over Bend.

Springfield: The Millers (0-1) completely collapsed against Silverton for an opening loss of 25-21. Springfield opened with a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, but squandered that by allowing 25 straight. The loss will certainly hurt, but the Millers will need to turn around quickly because they play a good Corvallis team next week.

Prep Hoops Roundup 2-24-2012

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— Alex Shoemaker, EDN Sports

Lancers Take The Rematch Against Irish

Last Friday’s game definitely lived up to the hype. As was to be expected, this Churchill-Sheldon rematch shared all the excitement of their buzzer-beater match a month ago. Unlike the last time, however, it was the Lancers celebrating at the end with a 75-73 win over the Irish in overtime.

The 17-7 (14-2) Irish and 20-4 (13-3) Lancers have been the best two teams in the Midwestern League, and their two contests have been decided by a total of three points.

Sheldon came away victorious in the first contest, a 62-61 Dillon Miller deep half-court buzzer-beater, but with the Lancers riding the emotions of the home crowd and would not be denied. The Irish had a final possession where they could have tied the game and forced a second overtime, but it wasn’t to be.

“It was a great defensive stand,” said Churchill guard Aaron Ingram about his game-clinching steal. “I saw the ball and grabbed it. Then I just dribbled out the clock. A great team win.”

Ingram finished the contest with 10 points, with most of his contributions coming on assists and defense.

Churchill extended their lead to 15 in the third quarter, and the game appeared to be all but out of reach.  However,  a 10-0 run by the Irish to start the fourth quarter decimated the Lancers’ lead and the game was suddenly tied 55-55.

“We don’t pay attention to the scoreboard,” said Churchill head coach Kelly Bokn about the shifts in momentum. “Whether we’re up or down, we keep with our game plan. We lost our lead pretty quickly, and the credit goes to Sheldon. But we were able to keep the game close and come out with a W in OT.”

Churchill was led by David Shedrick who had 18 points, as well as 16 from Emmanuel Morgan.  Sheldon was led by the 18 points from point guard Dillon Miller and the 16 points from forward Dale Baker.

With the regular season now finished, both the Irish (6A) and Lancers (5A) can work on preparing for the OSAA playoffs, hopefully bringing a state championship back to Eugene.

The Irish graduate eight players after this season including three starters (Miller, guard Joe Bando, and Baker). Churchill only loses two seniors after this year (Ingram and backup Andrew Tupper).

Both teams have legitimate shots of making a deep run in the playoffs.

“I think we can go far,” said Ingram. “Obviously it’s just one day at a time, one practice at a time. We believe in each other. We can go far. We just need to keep practicing and not slow down.”

The coaching staff shares Ingram’s confidence and wants to make sure the team keeps focused on the task at hand.

“We don’t want to look to far ahead of ourselves,” said Bokn. “One game at a time. Anything can happen in any game. We don’t want to be caught off guard. There are a lot of good teams, and we think we can compete with the best.”

Around The Rest Of The League:

Marist Spartans: 13-10

The Spartans have finished their up-and-down season with maybe their most frustrating loss of the season. They lost three of their last four games and suffered a 45-26 blowout loss at Thurston in the finale.

North Eugene Highlanders: 9-14

North’s season is officially over, and the can rest their hats on a nice 59-51 victory over Willamette last Friday. It appeared the Highlanders would push for a playoff spot, but a 3-8 finish to the season put a damper on that.

South Eugene Axemen: 4-20

South’s horrific season is finally over. A 1-5 record over their past six games was actually an improvement on average for the season as a whole. The Axemen fell 81-47 last Friday in their season finale at Grant.

Willamette Wolverines: 8-16

The theme of the Wolverines’ season has been playing where you’re comfortable makes all the difference. Their home record of 4-6 is respectable, while their road record of 2-9 killed their postseason chances. With a young roster, the Wolverines can look to next year.

Prep Hoops Roundup 2-16-2012

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— Alex Shoemaker, EDN Sports

Generals Conquer Irish At Home, Snapping Sheldon’s Eight Game Streak

After a colossal 15-2 deficit against Grant, Sheldon mounted a huge comeback spanning the rest of the game.  Unfortunately for the Irish, it wasn’t enough as they fell just short the 6A powerhouse Generals 59-55 last Friday night. 

The Irish started the game incredibly shaky, especially point guard Dillon Miller who scored just three points in the first three quarters. Shots weren’t falling, and careless turnovers led to easy fast break points for Grant. That’s why it looked like the Generals were going to run away with it early.

The game changed midway through the first quarter when Sheldon trailed by 13. Big man Dale Baker (11 points) converted an old-fashioned three point play, and Grant senior Tre Battle was called for a technical foul. Sheldon’s Jordan Alexander then nailed both free throws to cut the deficit to just eight.

“Those free throws definitely helped,” said Irish coach Ron Lampe. “We needed some momentum to get us going. That was the spark we needed. Unfortunately we couldn’t keep it going all game.” 

Sheldon’s Connor Strahm did not put up his normally stellar numbers. He scored just 11 points, and was off on several shots.

“It was an off night,” said Strahm. “I think everybody was off. We weren’t playing good basketball. We can play better than this.”

The Irish could not stop Grant forward Chris Wells who finished the game with a team high 22 points. He scored the majority of his points in the key, as well as shooting 6-of-8 from the free throw line.

“We can’t get into foul trouble like that,” said Lampe. “They were making their shots and made us pay for putting them on the line. Those are free points.”

Sheldon bounced back on Tuesday with a 76-56 win at home against South Eugene. The Grant defeat was the first and only home loss of the 2011-12 season for the Irish, who finished with a home record of 9-1. 

At 17-6, the Irish play their final game at Churchill on Friday night. Look for coverage of that game next Wednesday at Eugene Daily News.

Around The Rim: What’s Up With The Rest Of The Schools

Churchill Lancers:

At 19-4, the Lancers are one of the most exciting prep teams in the Eugene area. Churchill has a prefect 8-0 home record this season, with just one game remaining. Churchill won both of their games this past week, blowing out North Eugene 94-54 and Springfield 68-44. They’ll end the regular season with a big playoff test when Sheldon visits on Friday.

Marist Spartans:

The 13-9 Spartans had an up-and-down week, losing 53-49 at Marshfield on Friday but bouncing back with a 61-58 victory over Willamette on Tuesday. Marist’s final game before the postseason is at Thurston on Friday night. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:00 PM. 

North Eugene Highlanders:

The Highlanders’ record has fallen to 8-14 after back-to-back losses to Churchill and Marshfield this past week. North’s final game is Friday night at Willamette with only pride on the line.

South Eugene Axemen:

With a 4-19 record, it’s safe to say that the Axemen have been the worst prep team in the Eugene area. This year, 14 of the Axemen’s 19 losses have been by double digits. Their season comes to a close on Friday at Grant. A win is almost out of the question, but keeping the game close could be a moral victory. 

Willamette Wolverines:

Willamette needed to come away with two wins over the past week, and unfortunately they came up short in both contests. Following a 58-50 loss at Thurston, the Wolverines lost their next game at Marist as well. The Wolverines now sit at 8-15 with their final game at home against North Eugene on Friday.

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.

Super Bowl Will Have ‘Ducky’ Feel To It…

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— Sam Finley, EDN Sports Editor

Spencer Paysinger (pictured left) has 11 tackles for the Giants this year. (Photo Credit: Al Bello/Getty Images)

We’ll get to the men’s Civil War basketball game in a minute.  In the meantime, you didn’t ask me for this piece of information, but whomever wins the Super Bowl on Sunday will result in a former Oregon player getting a ring.  That’s right, the big game in Indianapolis will have a ‘Ducky’ feel to it.

On the New England side, there is safety Patrick Chung.  One of the best defensive backs in Oregon history has performed admirably at the pro level.  He’s made a lot of big plays for the Patriots with an interception here or a special teams play there.

Patrick Chung has a knack for making plays for the Patriots. (Photo Credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

However, Spencer Paysinger has also quietly established himself with the New York Giants in his rookie season. The ex-Duck linebacker has 11 tackles this year, and should make a lot more before it’s all said and done.

Thus, with both teams having a U of O alum on their roster, I can neutralize that as a reason to take one side over the other.  So let me tell you how I see this coming out in objective fashion.

On paper, it looks like the Patriots will roll in this one. They remember how the Giants ruined their undefeated season in that Super Bowl a few years ago, and a lot of people will tell you it’s not smart to bet against Tom Brady.  Furthermore, the Giants snuck into the playoffs with  a 9-7 record.

Ahhh, that’s where it gets interesting. Sure, the Giants didn’t have the prettiest of regular seasons.  Nonetheless, they won when they had to and they seem to be playing their best football at the right time.

The matchup between Brady and Eli Manning is a compelling subplot to this story, too.  Brady has won three Super Bowls, and will undoubtedly go down as one of the five greatest quartebacks of all time.

Meanwhile, Eli Manning has lived in the shadow of his big brother Peyton for years.  People sometimes forget that he, like Peyton, also has a championship ring on his finger.  If he wins on Sunday, it’ll mean he’ll have two in his collection. (Trust me, big brother will trade in his records for that honor).

So how does this play out?  I see a tough battle and, having a lot of friends who are Patriots’ fans, it would be easy for me to say I’m rooting for a good game. Admittedly, my head is saying ‘New England’ while my heart is saying ‘New York.’

Jared Cunningham led OSU with 27 points. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

But I’ll go with the latter this time.  This one will go back and forth and history will repeat itself.  The Giants upset the Patriots once more 28-24. 

Now let’s talk about that Civil War game. These match ups have gotten more competitive in recent years, and the one at Matt Arena definitely went down to the wire. But who saw this coming?  Oregon State beating Oregon 76-71?  I certainly saw a tight affair, but thought the Ducks would take it.

A big reason for the Beavers’ upset was the 27 points from Jared Cunningham. He’s become their playmaker, and hit some crucial three-pointers down the stretch.

“It’s our rival school and it was a big game with a great crowd, ” said Cunningham afterwards. “We had a lot of Beaver fans out there.  I think we turned the corner with this win, especially with it being the Civil War game. It means a lot to Beaver nation.”

OSU may have turned a corner on their season, indeed. They’re now 4-5 in Pac-12 play (14-7 overall), and made a statement by beating their arch-enemies on their own floor. If they can perform like this the rest of the way, there might be a few more shockers before it’s all over.

Dana Altman said his team has work to do on the road. (Photo Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

For Oregon, however, the feeling has to be very bittersweet. Yes they’re still very much in the Pac-12 race with a 6-3 conference record (15-6 overall).  But the Ducks didn’t play like a contender over the weekend.

Oregon sputtered around in the first half, and some of their mistakes finally came back to bite them in the second.  Devoe Joseph did his part with 26 points, but received little help. Still, he argued it wasn’t lack of scoring that did his team in.

“It was more about defense and turnovers than offense,” Joseph explained. “It is disappointing. Any time you play at home, you expect to win. But we weren’t aggressive. It’s what we didn’t do, not what they did.”

He’s right. The two things that have been the Ducks achilles’ heel bit them hard against OSU.  Their inconsistency on defense was apparent as Cunningham and Ahmad Starks (who had 15 points) lit up the scoreboard. And you’re not going to beat many teams when you turn the ball over 23 times.  It’s something that Oregon will have to minimize when they head out on road against Colorado and Utah this week to keep their postseason hopes on track.

“We can’t lose home games and be in the huddle,” said Oregon head coach Dana Altman. “We have some serious work on the road this upcoming week.”

Whatever happens, the situation in the Pac-12 just got a little more interesting.  How it all winds up is anyone’s guess.

Now, here’s a quick item before I wrap this up. Last Friday, EDN launched a live blog for what we think is the biggest game in prep basketball.  We’ll be doing it again this coming Thursday night when Sheldon visits Marist.  Check out the sports section about 7pm that evening, and see how this game between two of the state’s best teams is covered.

Until next time, I’ll see you in the bleachers.

 

Prep Hoops Roundup: 1-26-2012

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— Alex Shoemaker, EDN

Miller Drills Buzzer Beater For An Irish Win Over Lancers
Two of the state’s top teams went at it last Thursday evening. Churchill and Sheldon faced off and this one looked like it had all the makings of an OSAA  classic. It certainly met, if not exceeded, those expectations.
Churchill’s Malik Morgan put in an uncontested shot under the basket with less than five seconds remaining in the game to give the Lancers a 61-59 lead.  But that left Sheldon’s Dillon Miller plenty of time for a play of his own. He drove the ball down the court, and sunk a 35-foot 3-point basket as time expired to give the now 11-5 (7-1) Irish a 62-61 victory.

“It was something special,” said Miller after the game. “I wanted to drive the ball and get as close as I could – I’m glad it went in. This was a great game.” Miller had one the best performances of his career with 22 points, 15 of which came in the second half of the game.The Sheldon student section stormed the court and swarmed Miller in exuberance that you can only find in prep basketball.

“I was trying to make sure I didn’t get pushed up against the railings,” said Miller, who could have easily been injured in the post-game celebrations. “Luckily there were people between me and the wall and I didn’t get squished.

On the other side, Churchill’s Morgan made his last shot on a pass from his brother Emmanuel.  The latter finished the game with a team high 21 points, 18 of which came from the three point line.The game settled down after a rough start. There were three technical fouls in the second quarter by Churchill’s David Shedrick and Aaron Ingram, as well as the ejection of Sheldon’s Connor Strahm.  He was on fire while he was in the game, scoring 11 points in less than a full half of play. When asked about the ejection, Sheldon head coach Ron Lampe said he didn’t see why his star player got tossed.

“I didn’t see what Connor did,” said Lampe. “From what I heard, he just grabbed the ball from him (Ingram). We’ll take a look at the tape and go from there.”

It initially appeared that the absence of Strahm would play a big role in the game. After his ejection,  the Lancers scored six of the next eight points and all came from under the basket. However, Sheldon’s interior defense began to force multiple blocks and finished in a strong way.The Lancers were able to bounce back quickly, though.  After smashing South Eugene 78-50 on Tuesday night, they’re now 14-3 on the season. Moreover,  they’re still in a great position to compete for the OSAA 5A State Championship. Churchill’s next game is on January 31st at Marshfield.

After a sluggish start to their season, the win over Churchill moved Sheldon into first place in their division.  The Irish kept their momentum on Tuesday by edging Marshfield 49-40.  They’ll next play at Willamette on Friday.

But if you liked the action of last Thursday’s game, the rematch might interest you. The Irish and Lancers will meet again in the season finale on February 17th at Churchill.

Around the Rim: What’s happening with the other teams

North Eugene:

The Highlanders are on the outside looking in at playing in the state tournament after two frustrating losses.  North lost 76-70 at Willamette on Thursday night.  They followed that up with a 62-51 defeat at Thurston this past Tuesday. With a 6-10 record and eight games remaining , the Highlanders practically need to run the table if the wish to compete for the state championship.

North’s next game is at Marist on Friday evening. Tip-off is set for 7pm.

South Eugene:

Besides Springfield (more on them momentarily), the 2-13  Axemen have been the most disappointing team in Eugene prep basketball. There is no chance of post season action, so South can begin working on a run in the 2012-13 season.

South’s next game is at Marshfield on Friday.

Springfield:

Speaking of those Millers,  they weren’t very happy last Friday. They lost 62-56 at home against Marshfield that evening.  But they did show a glimmer of future hope on Monday, when they squeaked out a 73-70 win over Willamette. Now 3-12 on the season, they have no hope of any postseason action.  Still, with three juniors, a sophomore and a freshman starting, this team has plenty to look forward to next year.  Their next game is at Thurston on Friday.

Thurston:

The 5-11 Colts are struggling to find an identity. Thurston started the season at 0-5, then went on a nice 3-game winning streak to show some life. Unfortunately, they followed that up with a four game skid.

The fourth loss was a hard fought 52-46 affair against Marist last Thursday with Cameron Cook leading the team with 18 points.  That defeat essentially ended any shot of getting into the playoffs for the Colts.

But they may still be a dangerous team down the stretch. Thurston got back in the winning column after beating North Eugene 62-51 on Tuesday night.The Colts’ next game is on Friday at home against Springfield.

Marist:

As mentioned above, the 10-5 Spartans defeated Thurston 52-46 last Thursday night. Marist will likely enter the 5A tournament and compete with Churchill for that state title.

Their next game is on Friday when North Eugene pays a visit.

Willamette:

The Wolverines are now 7-9 after a 76-70 victory over North Eugene. Their next game is on the 27th against Sheldon.

Special Notice:

The Sheldon at Willamette game will mark a first for the EDN sports section.  We’ll be doing a live blog with photos and analysis beginning at 7pm.  Should be an interesting experiment, so head over to our website on Friday evening to check it out under the LIVE! link in the top right area.