When Marshfield’s girls and boys basketball teams get to Forest Grove for the Class 4A state tournament, they will be seeing many of the same teams that were there last year — and the teams that have been near the top of the rankings all season.
Marshfield’s girls, of course, top the rankings after a season that saw them suffer just two losses — to Class 6A North Medford and to No. 2 Hidden Valley. The loss to the Mustangs came after Marshfield beat Hidden Valley in the final of its own tournament.
North Medford is the No. 5 seed in the Class 6A tournament, which starts today at the Chiles Center on the University of Portland campus.
Hidden Valley and Marshfield would meet in the final if both win their first two games at Forest Grove, though that is certainly not a given.
Marshfield opens with Valley Catholic, a squad that enters with a 20-6 record and finished second in the generally tough Cowapa League, suffering both its league losses to Banks. The Valiants went on the road to qualify for the tournament, edging host Madras 60-57 on Friday. They are led by their only senior, dynamic scorer Noelle Mannen.
On the other half of Marshfield’s side of the bracket are the first two teams the Pirates faced in the tournament last year, Baker and Banks.
Baker, which enters with a 21-1 record, suffered its only loss of the season at Vallivue, Idaho, back on Dec. 19. Most of the Bulldogs’ wins have come by wide margins. They beat Far West League runner-up Brookings-Harbor 73-55 to earn their spot in the tournament.
The group is largely the same team that Marshfield beat in the quarterfinals last year, with the exception of Rose Gwillim, who transferred to Baker after leading Monroe to the state title last winter.
Marshfield beat Baker 53-35 in their quarterfinal game last year, outscoring the Bulldogs 34-12 in the second half.
Banks, meanwhile, beat Marshfield in the semifinals last year and went on to lose to Sutherlin 49-43 in the championship game. The Braves return one of the top all-around players in the state, Aspen Slifka. She led the defense that shut out Marshfield in the first quarter of their semifinal game and held the Pirates to just seven first-half points on the way to a 54-33 win.
On the other side of the bracket, Stayton meets Cascade at 6:30 p.m. and Hidden Valley and North Marion battle at 8:15.
Last winter, Cascade beat North Marion 41-33 in the fourth-place game at the tournament.
Cascade, Stayton and North Marion all come from the Oregon West Conference and finished first through third, in that order, in the league season. Cascade won 15 of its last 17 games after losing two in Hawaii. The two league losses — to Newport and North Marion — came by a combined six points. Kelsey Molan was on the all-tournament second team last year, along with Marshfield’s Hailey Browning and Ally Umbenhower of North Marion.
Cascade easily beat Stayton in both their league battles, and Stayton, like Cascade, lost at home to Newport. Those were the only thee losses in the Eagles’ last 20 games.
North Marion, meanwhile, lost to both Hidden Valley and Marshfield in the preseason, as well as to a California school during a tournament in San Diego. The Huskies lost twice to Stayton and once to Cascade and also suffered a one-point league loss to Yamhill-Carlton, the team Marshfield beat in the playoff round.
Hidden Valley’s only two losses came to Class 5A Central and to Marshfield. The Mustangs enter the tournament on a 14-game win streak.
In the boys tournament, top-ranked Banks opens against Sisters and La Grande meets Valley Catholic in the afternoon session.
Marshfield and Newport meet in the first game of the evening session, at 6:30 p.m., followed by Mazama and No. 2 Seaside.
Banks enters with the top ranking after a 23-2 season. Both losses came in Banks’ last four league games to other teams in the field this week — at Valley Catholic and at Seaside. The Braves got back on track in the playoffs, pounding Madras 102-58.
Sisters won the Sky-Em League with a 9-1 record and avenged a regular-season loss to get into the tournament, beating the Henley team that handed Marshfield it’s last regular-season loss.
Valley Catholic lost in last year’s state championship game to Seaside and also lost both its Cowapa League meetings with the Seagulls. The Valiants also lost twice to Banks and to a Washington school, as well as suffering an early two-point loss to Blanchet Catholic.
La Grande has seven losses, but none came to Class 4A schools. The school lost twice to Class 3A Nyssa early in the year, though the Tigers also beat Nyssa by 29 points. The Tigers split two games with both Pendleton and Hermiston, beating the Class 5A schools at home and losing on the road. They also lost to Class 5A Hood River Valley and lost twice to Fruitland, Idaho.
Marshfield meets a Newport team that has had an up-and-down season that included losses to Banks and Seaside and, to Siuslaw of the Far West League. The Cubs also beat Seaside and topped Sutherlin in the playoffs.
Marshfield enters with the No. 3 ranking after overcoming a slow start to win its final 11 games.
The Pirates’ only games against tournament teams were an early loss to Seaside while the Pirates were still getting their legs as the football players acclimated to basketball and a win over Mazama.
Mazama’s only setback in the Skyline League was a four-point loss at Henley. To earn their spot at state, the Vikings beat Philomath, another of the squads that topped Marshfield in the preseason.
Seaside, meanwhile, lost at Banks, Scappoose and Tillamook during the league season and at St. Helens in the preseason. The Seagulls return guards Chase Januik and Payton Westerholm from last year’s champion club.
Seaside, Banks and Valley Catholic, the three Cowapa League powers, are the only boys teams to return to the tournament this year. Banks won the fourth-place trophy last winter.