First were 1A and 2A, now we’re on to 3A, 4A, and the 1A second round pairings! Starting with Class 3A, here is a dive into the first-round pairings and my predictions on how they will turn out:
#16 OES (12-9) at #1 Willamina (21-0)
The perfect season is alive and well in Willamina, for as long as the Bulldogs have their smooth flowing squad throttling teams into the floor. The Aardvarks turned around their season to take the Lewis and Clark tournament title, but Willamina simply is too much to handle for them. I don’t have to go far into explaining why, the game on Saturday will show itself.
Prediction: Willamina – 20 Point Favorite
#9 Creswell (11-9) at #8 Douglas (14-6)
These ladies met to open the season back in December, and now they will meet again to decide who will advance to Coos Bay. Creswell really turned it around this year, going from a full nosedive to a rising team that found itself in the playoffs. Douglas has been always considered a playoff lock, with their #8 seed fitting them pretty well for the year they have had. This one is a true toss-up and could go either direction: It comes down to who makes the fewest mistakes and is more efficient on the floor.
Prediction: Creswell – 2 Point Favorite
#12 Vale (11-13) at #5 Santiam Christian (18-6)
Don’t let their losing record fool you, the Vikings are no pushover team. They took #2 Nyssa to their brink earlier this season and beat #4 Burns, but they are hot and cold on their consistency against better opponents. This makes them the perfect pairing for Santiam Christian, who have turned into a hit and miss team down the stretch, eking out wins against Harrisburg and Creswell by the skin of their noses. Vale is capable of winning, but the Eagles have been coming through in the clutch recently.
Prediction: Santiam Christian – 5 Point Favorite
#13 Riverdale (17-9) at #4 Burns (19-6)
One team is finding their momentum, the other hit a bit of a spike strip in their momentum. After dominating the Lewis and Clark all year, Riverdale hit a brick wall and lost three in a row to end conference play, including back-to-back losses to OES. They just aren’t playing as well as they did earlier this season, while Burns took a pair from Vale and came within two points of beating #2 Nyssa to close the season. Two teams, I’m taking the one on an upward trend.
Prediction: Burns – 10 Point Favorite
#14 Yamhill-Carlton (12-13) at #3 Sutherlin (23-1)
Just like OES and Creswell, Yamhill-Carlton turned around their season to get themselves into the playoffs, using their conference schedule to find their footing and ultimately prevail on into the postseason. Unfortunately for YC, Sutherlin is much bigger, consistent, and thirsty to avenge that one blemish on the record. The Bulldogs will cruise at home against an undersized Tigers team, but YC had a heck of a turnaround to be proud of!
Prediction: Sutherlin – 15 Point Favorite
#11 Rainier (12-7) at #6 Amity (17-7)
Coming off a shocking loss to Clatskanie, Rainier will be hungry to get into the Elite Eight with a road win over Amity, who more or less rolled their conference in every fashion this season. Although they are severely overpowered against the five teams in front of them, the Warriors are good enough to beat Rainier and will certainly do that on Saturday.
Favorite: Amity – 10 Point Favorite
#10 Brookings-Harbor (13-10) at #7 Harrisburg (20-5)
This could be the second-best pairing of the opening round and is certainly an intriguing one at a minimum. Both teams play similar style ball and have strengths that could cancel each other out, making this a tight one to the final minutes. This will come down to who hits their free throws better, as those crucial points will be the difference-maker in the game.
Upset Pick: Brookings-Harbor – 3 Point Favorite
#15 Clatskanie (8-10) at #2 Nyssa (23-2)
I promise there will be a new 3A champion this year, and it will be made official once Nyssa wins on Saturday. Huge props to the Tigers for clawing their way back from controversy and talent losses to make the playoffs, it is a signal of how stable their program can be. However, Nyssa is star studded, has a 6’5″ middle, and a time advantage on top of just being a better team overall, this is a no-brainer.
Favorite: Nyssa – 17 Point Favorite