By the end of the second quarter, the Clackamas Cavaliers were in control, well on their way to a 59-29 girls basketball victory Friday night at home over the Central Catholic Rams.
What the Cavaliers did on Wednesday and Thursday, though, may have made the difference.
Our last two days of practice were a couple of the best weve had. That helped us get going tonight, Clackamas post Peyton Carroll said.
Carroll, a 6-2 senior, pumped in 19 points to help propel the young, talented Cavs squad to the key Mt. Hood Conference win.
Clackamas improved to 3-1 in the MHC, tied for second with the Rams and Barlow, all one game behind perennial power Oregon City (4-0).
Clackamas is 10-4 overall. Central Catholic fell to 8-6.
The Rams ran and stayed with the Cavaliers for one quarter. Central trailed 9-8 after the first eight minutes.
The Cavs dominated the middle quarters, outscoring the Rams 18-6 in the second frame and 19-9 in the third, to leave no doubt.
Freshman Alyson Miura added 14 points for Clackamas, and sophomore Bri Phiakamngon pitched in with nine points.
We play really well as a team, Carroll said. We move the ball, which helps us find open shots. It helped that we knocked down so many shots tonight.
We also make smart decisions and just try to play our game.
Clackamas fifth-year coach, Todd Lane, was very pleased with how the Cavaliers did just that on Friday.
We executed the game plan the way we wanted to, especially defensively, he said. In the first quarter, we were pressing a little, and they (the Rams) were getting easy baskets. So we starting just picking them up in our half-court defense.
The Rams got lots of good looks early, running their offense through senior point guard Zaharia Hale. But Clackamas was able to keep Hale from scoring and contest enough CC shots well enough to pull away.
Central Catholics offense is very dictated on what Zaharia does, Lane said, and (6-0 freshman) Kalani Hayes did an outstanding job of defending her. We just wanted to make everything tough for her.
Carroll was too much for the Rams to handle, scoring frequently from near point-blank range.
Shes a good shooter, Lane said, and when she gets close-in looks and gets some of them to fall, her confidence builds. She was getting those 2- and 3-footers and making them.
The Cavaliers were 12th in the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A rankings after their sixth victory in the past seven games (the loss was to Oregon City).
I dont know if were up there with the heavyweights in the top four or five, but we can be in the top tier, Lane said. Were a young team, but theres talent, and we work hard every day, trying to get better.
The Cavaliers wont be working this weekend, however. Lanes players cheered and clapped as he gave them the weekend off for their good work against Central Catholic (and, to some degree, because the Cavs next game isnt until Wednesday at Centennial).
We normally would come in on Sunday and practice, he said.
Practice was one of the things Central Catholic veteran coach Sandy Dickerson had in mind as she assessed Fridays result.
Weve got a lot to learn and a lot we can learn from this game, she said. Weve got to get better at handling situations when shots arent dropping and we have to make adjustments.
Clackamas is a good team, inside and outside. They really shot well tonight, and when we adjusted, they made their own adjustments. And we got into some foul trouble.
Molly Eby, a 6-1 junior post, led the Rams on Friday with 13 points. Daelyn Newman a 5-5 junior, added nine points.
The Rams, ranked No. 17 by the OSAA, had won three games in a row, but their season has been up and down.
Weve just been slow getting things to click, Dickerson said.
Central Catholic will play at Barlow on Wednesday and play host to Gresham on Friday. Then theyll have their first of two MHC games against Oregon City, Jan. 29 in the Central gym.