Monday, March 25, 2013

Central Catholic's Kailee Johnson is player of the year

Kailee Johnson celebrates Central Catholic's state-championship win over South Medford. 

, March 25, 2013
Kailee Johnson knew it was important to play with emotion this season. She just didn’t want emotions to play with her.

So Johnson took a big step forward in her maturity as a basketball player as a senior, channeling her energy into a single-minded pursuit -- bringing home a Class 6A championship for Central Catholic.

“My physical game has improved, but I had better control of my emotions,” Johnson said. “I didn’t get so crazy. I kept it calm. That was a change in my game that helped me this season.”

It all came together this season for the 6-foot-3 forward, to lead the Rams to their first state title.

The state’s coaches have voted Johnson as the Class 6A player of the year. She is the third Central Catholic player in five seasons to win the award.

“I truly did not set out that many personal goals,” Johnson said. “My main goal this season was to win the state championship, by any means necessary. I’m just really proud to be able to get a banner for my school.”

The Stanford-bound Johnson averaged 18.1 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 3.1 steals and 1.9 blocked shots while shooting 63.5 percent from the field and 62.6 percent on free throws.

“She’s matured every year, but this year I think she had such a vision,” Rams coach Sandy Dickerson said. “Every day her focus was on getting herself better, getting this team better, and not being denied that championship. I think anybody that saw her three games at the tournament knew that that’s what her mission was.”

Johnson can score inside and outside and is dominant on the backboards. She also is a force on defense, using her long frame and quickness to shut down passing lanes and contest shots all over the court.

She embraced defensive challenges. 

“My goal that game was to focus on my defense and rebounding,” Johnson said. “That’s really what it was about this season. We knew what we wanted to get done.”

Johnson is the daughter of former Tigard three-sport standout Jacob Johnson, who played football at Oregon, and the granddaughter of Ken Johnson, who coached girls basketball at Tigard. She grew up in Tigard and as a seventh-grader moved to the Grant district in northeast Portland.

She visited Central Catholic and Grant before deciding to attend the southeast Portland school.

“My decision wasn’t really based on basketball at all,” she said. “It was just more about the education and the environment I wanted to be in.”

“I kind of wish our season would’ve kept going,” Johnson said. “I’m going to miss it a lot.”

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Karlie and Mater Dei's 81-71 season-ending loss at the Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario

Mater Dei's Karlie Samuelson gets welcomed back to the bench with only a few seconds left in the game against Windward in the CIF Open Division Southern California Regional final Saturday. Mater Dei lost to Windward 81-71.
Saturday night's defeat marked the final game of Karlie Samuelson's esteemed high school career. Samuelson, who won a CIF-SS Division 1A title at Edison with her older sister, Bonnie, as a sophomore, will join Bonnie at Stanford next season.
"I loved it at Mater Dei," Karlie Samuelson said. "I think it was my favorite year of high school for sure. It sucks that it's over, but I think we had a really good season even though our two losses were in the playoffs. We had a good run."
Karlie Samuelson scored 14 on 4-of-13 shooting and brought down a team-high eight rebounds and six assists.

Rough first half costs Erica and Wolf Pack in SoCal final loss to Lynwood

Ridgeview High's Erica McCall drives on Lynwood High during third quarter action in Ontario.

ZACH EWING,, March 16, 2013
Erica McCall came off the court crying but clapping. Ridgeview High coaches shared a solemn hug in a hallway in the depths of Citizens Business Bank Arena but emerged with smiles. The Wolf Pack crowd, subdued for most of the day, cheered loudly at the end.
Defeated but proud, Ridgeview's girls basketball team had that kind of a bittersweet day.
Lynwood beat Ridgeview 60-42 on Saturday morning in the CIF Division II Southern California Championship in a game that was decided in the first half. Still, the Wolf Pack (29-4) ends its season as the first girls basketball team from Bakersfield to reach a regional final.
"Being at Ridgeview has been four great years, and I'm proud of my teammates," said McCall, the Gatorade State Player of the Year who played her final high school game. "We have nothing to hang our heads about."
McCall, a McDonald's All-American finished with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks, and extended her state-record blocks totals to 278 for a single season and 950 for a career, according to the CalHiSports record book. She'll play for Stanford next season.
But after beating Riverside-J.W. North -- a team that played Lynwood close in the Southern Section final -- handily on Tuesday, Ridgeview never really gave itself a chance in this one, shooting just 27 percent (15-of-56), committing 22 turnovers and falling behind 36-14 at halftime. But in the end, the Wolf Pack was OK with that.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Lili named to SportsDayHS' 2013 girls basketball all-area first team

First Team: Lili Thompson, Mansfield Timberview, Sr., G, 5-7, Stats: Averaged 13.4 points, 2.9 steals and 2.9 assists, and she led Timberview to the 5A Region I quarterfinals. She averaged 14.7 points against stout District 7-5A competition, and improved to a 16.8-point average against area-ranked teams. Thompson scored 18 points when Timberview took top-ranked Duncanville to overtime.

LILI THOMPSON Mansfield Timberview, Sr., G, 5-7
Stats: Averaged 13.4 points, 2.9 steals and 2.9 assists, and she led Timberview to the 5A Region I quarterfinals. She averaged 14.7 points against stout District 7-5A competition, and improved to a 16.8-point average against area-ranked teams. Thompson scored 18 points when Timberview took top-ranked Duncanville to overtime.
Did you know? The Stanford-bound Thompson joins an impressive group of Texans on the Cardinal roster. Among them are Chiney Ogwumike, Alex Green, Kiran Lakhian and Amber Orrange.

McCall wins Gatorade state player of year

ZACH EWING,, March 14, 2013
The honors keep rolling in for Ridgeview's Erica McCall in what's been a banner senior season.
The latest: McCall was named Thursday morning as the Gatorade State Girls Basketball Player of the Year by a panel consisting of Gatorade's sports leadership team and USA Today prep sports journalists. It's an honor that puts her at the top of her class in a powerful girls basketball state and makes her a finalist for Gatorade's National Player of the Year award, to be announced later this month.
McCall, a three-time Californian Player of the Year and a McDonald's All-American, is averaging 19.7 points, 15.1 rebounds and 8.5 blocks per game for the Wolf Pack (29-3), which plays Lynwood at 10 a.m. Saturday in Ontario for the CIF Division II Southern California title.
McCall, a 6-foot-3 center who will play for Stanford next year, is Cal Hi Sports' state record-holder in blocked shots, and she ranks third all-time in Central Section history in points, according to section historian Bob Barnett.
The award recognizes outstanding athletic excellence as well as academic achievement and “exemplary character demonstrated on and off the court.” McCall carries a 4.1 grade-point average and has volunteered locally on behalf of several charitable organizations.
Thursday’s announcement continues a lofty trend for Kern County high school athletics: McCall is the third local athlete honored as Gatorade State Athlete of the Year in a given sport in the past four years.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Team effort propels Erica's Ridgeview past J W North 92-73 into State semifinals

Ridgeview High's Erica McCall is fired up after Ridgeview beat J.W. North from Riverside to advance to the D II Southern California finals.

ZACH EWING,, March 12, 2013
For the second straight state playoff game, Ridgeview's girls basketball team had to play an extended period without Erica McCall. For the second straight time, the Wolf Pack responded and marched closer to the state finals.
In fact, the Wolf Pack has rarely looked better.
Ridgeview raced past Riverside-John W. North 92-73 on Tuesday night at home, scoring at least 20 points in every quarter and advancing with style into the CIF Division II Southern California championship. That game will be at 10 a.m. Saturday in Ontario against Lynwood. The winner there plays March 23 in Sacramento for a state championship.
"This was one of our good ones," Ridgeview coach Michael Martin said. "We've got two more good ones to go."
By many standards, this was a really good one: Ridgeview (29-3) had four players score in double figures, led, as usual, by McCall. The McDonald's All-American scored 32 points and had 15 rebounds, but she had plenty of help, too.
"That's something we've been working on," Martin said. "The way (North) plays, they're so aggressive, they take risks, they give you some open shots. They were really focused on Erica, and we hit the open shots."
That was especially important in the second half, when McCall picked up three quick fouls in and had to go to the bench with four fouls and 3:52 still remaining in the third quarter.
But in the six-plus minutes she was out, Ridgeview's 20-point lead actually increased to 21. She checked back in at 5:33 of the fourth quarter and the Wolf Pack coasted from there.
"I'm so proud of my teammates," McCall said. "I didn't worry too much when I had to go out."
"McCall is phenomenal," J.W. North coach Leonard De Coud said. "She's a beast in and of herself, but then they had other girls step up and do a good job."
Now it's time for Lynwood, a team Ridgeview defeated 43-41 on Dec. 1 in Fresno. Lynwood has lost just four times since then, but Ridgeview could scarcely have more confidence: The Wolf Pack has won 16 games in a row and just scored 92 points, nine more than its previous season-high.
"By far, this postseason has been the best we've played in my four years here," McCall said. "Now we just need to go finish it off."

Karlie helps Mater Dei finds way back into regionals final

Mater Dei's Karlie Samuelson trips and falls as she is pursued in the first half of the game.
After losing an overtime stunner to Etiwanda in the CIF-SS Division 1AA semifinals, Mater Dei girls basketball coach Kevin Kiernan said he feels lucky for every game his team still gets to play.
The third-seeded Monarchs' season will continue after they beat second-seeded Santiago of Corona, 78-69, in the CIF Open Division regional semifinals Tuesday night at Santiago High.
Mater Dei faces top-seeded Windward of L.A., the CIF-SS Division 4AA champion, in the regional finals on Saturday at 6 p.m. at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario.
"We're just happy to be playing after the loss to Etiwanda," said Kiernan, who has guided his team to three consecutive state championships. "We wanted to come in here and see the CIF champs. We can't get that back, but we beat them on their home court and that's pretty good."
The first half was a back-and-forth shootout, and fortunately for the Monarchs they had one of the best gunslingers in the state to keep them in the game.
Stanford-bound Karlie Samuelson knocked down four of her nine 3-pointers in the first half to keep the Monarchs (30-1) within striking distance of the Sharks (29-3).
"We got more energy when we got that defense going and that helped us hit more shots," Samuelson said.

Karlie Samuelson finished with 33 points.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Wolf Pack girls prevail despite McCall Injury

Ridgeview's Erica McCall was pretty close to unstoppable Saturday night, here driving against Murrieta Valley in the second half of the stateplayoff game at Ridgeview.

ZACH EWING,, March 9, 2013
Erica McCall had a dandy of a statistical line to help Ridgeview High beat Murrieta Valley 58-40 on Saturday in the state girls basketball playoffs.The numbers: 37 points, 16 rebounds, six blocks -- and one gigantic scare for all those in attendance at Ridgeview.McCall left the game late in the second quarter with a left knee injury and didn't return until after halftime. She had her knee wrapped and re-joined the game a couple of minutes into the third quarter to loud applause.
McCall, a senior who's signed with Stanford, said later she strained the knee when it was caught underneath her and a Murrieta Valley player as they fell to the floor.
"It's all good," she said. "I was a little nervous because it was sore when I started playing, but it felt better as I went on."
That's good news for top-seeded Ridgeview (28-3), which plays at 7 p.m. Tuesday at home against No. 4 Riverside-J.W. North in the CIF Division II Southern California semifinals. The winner there heads to the regional championship Saturday in Ontario, where a win means a berth in the state title game March 23 in Sacramento.
"I'm just glad we're representing Bakersfield in a big way," McCall said. "We're making history, game by game.”
In this one, Ridgeview built a 30-13 lead before McCall left the game. The Wolf Pack was never in real danger of losing the lead, but Murrieta Valley (27-6) had cut it to 31-19 when McCall returned.

“There’s really no Plan B at this time of year, but we were hoping to pick up the pressure on (defense) and make them play fullcourt,” Ridgeview coach Michael Martin said.
Martin was much happier when he could return to Plan A. McCall proved she was fine midway through the third quarter with a block, rebound and coast-to-coast layup, followed by a tough offensive rebound and short jumper. She even drew a hard foul and crashed into the padding behind the basket, only to pop up and motion to the crowd that she was feeling fine.
“There was just a lot of energy in here tonight,” McCall said. “Last game, I didn’t feel that energy, but it was in here tonight.
Scoring on second chance points, fourteen of those came from you-know-who.
“I haven’t been shooting well, so I knew I had to go back to my bread and butter,” McCall said. “I had to go back inside.”
Murrieta Valley tried a variety of zone defenses and double-teams to stymie McCall, but they had no answer for her prowess in the paint.
“She’s a real good player,” Murrieta Valley coach Scott Richards Jr. said. “We had a gameplan against her, but we didn’t come out solid. We tried to sandwich her with our zone, which we did pretty well, but then it was hard to box her out. Then we switched to an elongated zone and pressed more, but she just has a nose for the ball. She hurt us.
But when McCall left the game for good with two minutes remaining, she had outscored the entire Nighthawks team, 37-36.
McCall scored eight points in a 12-0 Ridgeview run that put the Wolf Pack up 26-9 in the second quarter. Murrieta Valley’s only real run after that point came when she was out of the game.
“Erica was an animal tonight,” Martin said. “She’s a special player in big times. People might have forgot because we take her out when we’re way ahead, but this is time to put the foot to the gas pedal. It’s time to push it all the way now.”

Kailee and Central Catholic routs South Medford 57-36 for first title

Central Catholic's Kailee Johnson drives between South Medford in Saturday night's Class 6A final at the Rose Garden.

March 09, 2013 
Central Catholic spent more than a decade trying to reach the pinnacle of Oregon girls basketball, many times falling agonizingly short.

The 6-foot-3 Johnson had 22 points and 12 rebounds as No. 1 Central Catholic ran away from reigning champion South Medford 57-36 in the OSAA Class 6A girls basketball final at the Rose Garden.

After making the semifinals five times in the previous eight seasons, and losing in the 2005 final, the Rams (26-3) finally delivered the first state title for coach Sandy Dickerson.

"It's been a long time coming for her," the Stanford-bound Johnson said. "We probably should've gotten it before in our four years. We were just saving up."

Central Catholic did it the hard way, beating No. 4 Westview in the quarterfinals, No. 3 Oregon City in the semifinals and No. 2 South Medford (24-5) in the final.

"We definitely raised our level when we had to," Johnson said. "This year was so different because we wanted a state championship so bad. There was no other way to do it. We knew we had to come out strong in the big games."

Johnson started to use her long frame to dominate inside, crashing the offensive boards. She scored seven points in the last three minutes of the first quarter.

Johnson continued to do damage inside, adding six points in the third quarter.

"She created all kinds of problems for us," Cole said of Johnson. "She was dominant in the inside. We knew going into this that it was a two-headed monster that drove this group, but the rest of their kids are talented, too."

Karlie and Mater Dei are back to their old self

Mater Dei forward Karlie Samuelson puts a move on Stockdale before going up for a shot during Mater Dei's win in a CIF State Open Division first-round playoff game Friday night at Mater Dei.
Nine days had passed since the Mater Dei girls basketball team was upset at Etiwanda in the CIF-SS semifinals. If the Monarchs' performance to open the CIF State Open Division playoffs Friday night was any indication, it was nine days too many.

Eager to get back on the court and right the ship, the third-seeded Monarchs started fast and never slowed down, dominating sixth-seeded Stockdale of Bakersfield, 91-46, at Mater Dei High.
Mater Dei (29-1), the three-time defending state champion, will play No. 2 Santiago of Corona (29-2) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. Santiago won the CIF-SS title game over Etiwanda.
"We really wanted to play this game," Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said. "We were ready to play. It had been a while since our last game against Etiwanda. The kids were upset. They had a great week of practice. We wanted to get back on the right track."
Karlie Samuelson scored a game-high 20 points, all in the first half, on 8-of-12 shooting.

"We definitely had a hard week of practice," Karlie Samuelson said with a smile, "so we wanted to get back in a game."

The Monarchs aimed for a better defensive effort in this game, Kiernan lamenting the 72 points they surrendered at Etiwanda. Prior to that contest, they held five straight opponents to fewer than 40 points.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Kailee and Central Catholic turn back Oregon City

Central Catholic's Kailee Johnson looks to score against Oregon City in the OSAA class 6A girls basketball semifinals.

Johnson had 12 points and eight rebounds as the Rams (25-3) advanced to the final for the first time since 2005 with a 57-52 win. They will go for their first title at 6:30 p.m. Saturday.

Kailee Johnson shows the way as No. 1 Central Catholic bounces No. 4 Westview

Central Catholic's Kailee Johnson celebrates a basket during Thursday's 55-50 win over Westview at the Rose Garden. 

Central Catholic's Kailee Johnson came prepared for her monumental task against Westview in the quarterfinals of the OSAA Class 6A girls basketball tournament at the Rose Garden.
Top-ranked Central Catholic (24-3) turned back the No. 4 Wildcats 55-50 to advance to the semifinals for the second year in a row and sixth time since 2005. The Rams continue the pursuit of their first title at 1:30 p.m. Friday against Oregon City.

The Stanford-bound Johnson was sensational Thursday, collecting 17 points, 18 rebounds and six blocked shots. She played very, very good defense. She locked down a great player. She played through all the fatigue, she played through all the wrestling they did down low."

Erica helps Wolfpack get the job done

Ridgeview's Erica McCall drives the lane against Redondo during the second quarter of their playoff game in Bakersfield on Wednesday night.

It wasn't the most overpowering win by Ridgeview on Wednesday night, but the victory was a program first. The Wolf Pack won the first Southern California girls basketball playoff game in the school's history with a 64-47 win over Redondo Beach-Redondo Union at Ridgeview.Ridgeview (27-3), the top seed in Division II, plays host to No. 8 Murrieta Valley on Saturday at 7 p.m.
"We were a little bit nervous," said Stanford-bound Ridgeview senior Erica McCall, the state's all-time blocked shot record holder and No. 3 scorer. "Hopefully our next game we'll have a good night." McCall, who averages 18.1 points and 15 rebounds, finished with 19 points, 13 rebounds, 11 blocks and five steals. McCall had only five points at halftime but scored two quick buckets early in the third quarter to help the Wolf Pack build a 15-point advantage. The lead never dropped below 11 the rest of the way. "It's the first time all season I've had to work that hard,"
McCall had been on teams that had lost three SoCal playoff games in her Ridgeview career."This is the first time we've had this feeling in this building," she said. "But now we've just got to get ready for the next game."

Monday, March 04, 2013

Kailee leads Central Catholic to a 74-39 win

Johnson scored 25 points and had five rebounds, four assists and three steals to lead No. 1-seed Central Catholic to a 74-39 win over No. 4-seed Roseburg in the second round of the 2013 OSAA 6A Girls Basketball Tournament, Saturday evening in southeast Portland. Kailee reached 20 points for the ninth time this season.  The Rams (23-3) will advance to next Thursday’s quarterfinals riding a 20-game win streak.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Erica helps Ridgeview capture section D-II title

When Erica McCall is banking in 3-pointers, it's going to be a long night for whoever's playing Ridgeview High.
The Stanford-bound senior thoroughly dominated Friday night's Central Section Division II girls final at Selland Arena, and there wasn't anything Garces could do about it.
McCall had 31 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks as the Wolf Pack clamped down on the Rams for a 65-38 victory.
The three blocks extended McCall's state-record total to 958. The 31 points gave her 2,548 for her career, good enough for second place in section history behind West’s Nikki Blue (2,938 points from 1999-02).

Read more here:

Karlie and Top Ranked Mater Dei Stunned

But Mater Dei girls coach Kevin Kiernan was just part of the admiration society following his team's 73-72 overtime loss to Etiwanda in the Southern Section Division IAA semifinals Wednesday night on the road. Karlie Samuelson led Mater Dei with 24 points. Mater Dei waits for the CIF Southern California tournament and almost certainly will play in the Open Division. 

Kailee Johnson has double-double in Central Catholic's 74-26 win over Thurston

Kailee Johnson both posted double-doubles as No. 1-seed Central Catholic rolled to a 74-26 win over No. 8-seed Thurston, in a first round game of the 2013 OSAA 6A Girls State Basketball Tournament, Wednesday  evening in southeast Portland. Johnson posted 15 points and 10 boards.