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Friday, September 22, 2023
Sept. 22, 2023

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Hoops, hoops, and more hoops at holiday hoopfest

Hoops for the Holiday perfect gathering of area girls basketball teams

By , Columbian High School Sports Reporter

Kayla Cruz of Battle Ground scored the first points of the day, just after 11 a.m. Thursday.

More than seven hours later, Felicia Bahr of Evergreen made two free throws to complete the daily schedule at the Hoops for the Holiday girls basketball showcase.

In all, there were 162 field goals, including 37 3-pointers, and 419 points in the five games played at Evergreen High School.

That was just Day 2 of the event.

There are five more games on Friday.

The event has six Clark County squads as well as four teams from Portland. It is not a bracket format, just a series of non-league games, one after the other, in the same venue.

La Center had perhaps the best team showing Thursday.

A freshman from Franklin High School in Portland had the best individual performance of the day.

And the host school got its second win in as many days.

The event also welcomed back an old coach, the person who was instrumental starting the event. Jay Foreman, former coach at Evergreen, is now the coach at Madison in Portland.

Jeremy Starks, the new coach at Evergreen, said he is thrilled that his school is continuing with the event.

“I like the fact that it brings local teams together,” Starks said. “Everybody wants to go out of town, but having a home tournament gets people really excited for basketball.

“We want to show the Vancouver area that we do have some talented teams. We want people to come out and enjoy it.”

While every team dreams of going to the state tournament, the reality is most teams do not. So playing three games in three days is special.

Of course, for at least one team at Hoops for the Holiday, the state tournament is The Goal for the 2016-17 season.

La Center looked plenty talented — albeit against an overmatched opponent — in its victory, the third game of the schedule.

No matter who the Wildcats are playing, though, they are working on their defense, working on their passing, trying to prepare for league play beginning next week, for postseason play in February.

“This will help,” La Center’s Taylor Mills said. “The repetition of games and not having breaks.”

Plus, it’s an odd schedule, hourly.

Most regular season game are played at a set time. At an event such as this one, games are scheduled from 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Pretty much, play when told to play, and play every day until they tell you to stop.

Battle Ground lost its game Wednesday but did not need to suffer long before finding victory. The Tigers, playing in that 11 a.m. game Thursday, held Madison of Portland scoreless in the third quarter to secure the victory.

Game 2 on Thursday was the Bria Dixson show. A freshman from Franklin, she scored 36 points in a win over Hudson’s Bay.

She said she and her teammates are enjoying the showcase. Technically, it’s on the road — in another state, too — but close enough for family and friends to watch the Quakers.

Another Portland school took Game No. 4. Roosevelt used a big fourth quarter to beat Heritage.

For the final game of the day, the Evergreen Plainsmen were able to take the court — their court — against Ridgefield.

It was a win for the home team.

The Plainsmen figured they earned it, too. Not just from the way they played, but how much they worked during the day.

As hosts, the players worked the first three games, helping to run the event.

“It’s boring and fun at the same time,” acknowledged Evergreen’s Ahna Burney. “It’s fun being with your teammates, but it takes forever.”

It was all worth it, of course, when the day was finished.

“I like being at home, playing on our home court, and winning games,” Burney said.

Thursday’s Hoops for the Holiday games

La Center 75, Parkrose (Ore.) 20 — Taylor Stephens scored 25 points and Taylor Mills added 22 as La Center cruised to a victory.

The points only tell part of this story.

Molly Edwards had six assists and seven steals. Mills had 11 rebounds, four steals, and two blocked shots. Stephens had five steals.

Many of those turnovers turned into easy baskets the other way for the Wildcats.

“It’s fun being able to pass to your teammates, play unselfish ball,” Mills said.

“Today was flawless, the way we played,” La Center coach Herm VanWeerdhuizen said. “This team is making the extra pass so other people get the easier shot.”

Edwards also scored 12 points for the Wildcats (7-0). Stephens made three 3-pointers.

La Center led 30-3 after the first quarter. The second half was played under a running clock.

Franklin (Ore.) 64, Hudson’s Bay 22 — Bria Dixson scored the first seven points of the game Thursday … and then she just kept scoring.

Dixson, a freshman, made eight 3-pointers and scored 36 points in a win over Hudson’s Bay.

“Good team win. They were finding me when I was open,” Dixson said. “Just feeling it today.”

From the start, too.

Dixson made four 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the first quarter. She assisted on the other bucket in the quarter as Franklin (4-2) jumped out to a 22-5 lead.

Sharon Hanson led Bay (0-8) with seven points. Brittany Doolittle added six.

Dixson nearly had a triple double, adding nine steals and eight rebounds to her totals. Mo Lyons had 12 points and 10 rebounds for Franklin.

Battle Ground 52, Madison (Ore.) 35 — The Tigers held Madison scoreless in the third quarter to secure the victory.

Morgan Stradley scored 13 points and Kayla Cruz added 11 to pace the Battle Ground offense.

“We came out a lot better than we did yesterday,” Stradley said, referring to a six-point loss to Franklin. “We played the whole game today. We just played all-around better today.”

Emily Gibbs and scored all eight of her points in the second quarter, a needed spark off the bench for the Tigers because Madison was making a move. Battle Ground (3-4) scored the first 12 points of the game but Madison had cut the deficit to five points before Gibbs got going for the Tigers.

It was an eight-point game at the half, then all Battle Ground in the third quarter.

Roosevelt (Ore.) 36, Heritage 24 — Roosevelt scored the first 10 points of the fourth quarter and pulled away.

Sierra Greely scored 14 points to lead Roosevelt.

Jasmin Tuttle scored eight points for Heritage (2-7). Lisi Thomas added six points.

Heritage led by a point at the half and trailed by a point after three quarters before Roosevelt’s defense shut down Heritage in the final eight minutes.

Evergreen 53, Ridgefield 38 — Ahna Burney and Felicia Bahr combined for 43 points Thursday as host Evergreen won its second game in as many days at the Hoops for the Holiday girls basketball showcase.

Bahr made four 3-pointers and Burney connected for two in a 53-38 victory over Ridgefield.

It was the fifth game of the day at Evergreen. The showcase continues Friday with five more games.

Ridgefield (3-5) led after the first quarter, but it was all Evergreen (3-3) the rest of the way.

Burney scored nine in a 16-point second quarter for the Plainsmen.

“It hypes you up,” Bahr said of watching Burney light it up. “It’s a good feeling.”

Bahr took over in the third quarter, scoring 10 of her points in the period as Evergreen pushed its lead to 15. Evergreen made three consecutive 3-pointers in that quarter — Bahr, Mackenzie Smith, and Barr again.

“It’s pretty fun,” Burney said of Bahr’s performance. “I just drive and kick it out to her and she’ll make it.”

Anna Murphy led Ridgefield with eight points. Devi Dugan added seven.

PARKROSE (3-4) — McKinney 8, Briggs 4, Gonzalez 3, Cervantes 3, Green 2. Totals 8 (3) 1-2 20.
LA CENTER (7-0)  — Nyah Mertz 2, Laynie Erickson 2, Whitley Seter 5, Molly Edwards 12, Natasha Lewis 4, Lauryn Powers 0, Bethany Whitten 3, Maddi Rose 0, Taylor MIlls 22, Mia Edwards 0, Taylor Stephens 25, Katie Nelson 0. Totals 34 (4) 3-5 75.
Parkrose    3    0    5    12—20
La Center    30    20    21    4—75

FRANKLIN (4-2) — Bria Dixson 36, Lydia Wilson 4, Christina Trang 10, Abby Carlson 2, Mo Lyons 12. Totals 26 (8) 4-6 64.
HUDSON’S BAY (0-8) — Gabbie Garcia 2, Lousei Mikalele 0, Shelby DeLong 0, Deona Muehe-Brice 0, Abagail Barton 0, Michaela Collins 4, Sharon Hanson 7, Lizeth Ramirez 3, Brittany Doolittle 6. Totals 9 (2) 2-8 22.
Franklin    22    11    11    20—64
Hud. Bay    5    7    4    6—22

MADISON (1-7) — Nia Bradley 11, Lily Rupp 3, Maria Taylor 4, Olivia Cooper 11, Roxie Louis 2, Naima Gandzadi 2, Daviaire Hall-Goodman 2. Totals 12 (1) 10-17 35.
BATTLE GROUND (3-4) — Brenley Billingsley 3, Kayla Cruz 11, Anna Brinton 6, Morgan Stradley 13, Brianna Adams 7, Emily Gibbs 8, Madison Mukensnabl 2, Kelly Poteet 2, Emeline Akengue 0. Totals 20 (3) 9-16 52.
Madison    9    13    0    13—35
B. Ground    14    16    10    12—52

ROOSEVELT — Aliah Nordstrom 4, Diamond Singleton 6, Jurnee Evans 4, Sierra Greely 14, Eseta Eteaki 5, Irie Wright 3. Totals 14 (3) 5-19 36.
HERITAGE (2-7) — Deja Gomez 0, Eliza Chow 0, Jasmin Tuttle 8, Vanessa Brown 5, Lisi Thomas 6, Alina Svirdan 2, Brittaney Carroll 0, Taylor Wulf 0, Tori Roush 3, Anna Rosenbaum 0. Totals 9 (0) 6-20 24.
Roosevelt    4    8    8    16—36
Heritage    4    9    6    5—24

RIDGEFIELD (3-5) — Sarah Jenkins 7, Anna Murphy 8, Devi Dugan 7, Aliesha Ball 0, Kylie Greenwald 6, Kaia Oliver 2, Emi Long 0, Karli Oliver 5, Amy Bishop-Smith 3, Emma Jenkins 0. Totals 12 (6) 8-15 38.
EVERGREEN (3-3) — Arianna Mendiola 0, Vanessa Kuffner 0, Felicia Bahr 20, JaVonne Williams 1, Mackenzie Smith 4, Alyssa Smith 0, Alanna Jackson 5, Ahna Burney 23, Dakota Piovesan 0, Jessica Heath 0. Totals 18 (7) 10-20 53.
Ridgefield    9    6    11    12—38
Evergreen    6    16    19    12—53

Columbian High School Sports Reporter