Bits & Pieces-Early March
A national wrestling runner-up, local small school hoops, 6A basketball, former Blazer announcer ill
A collection of small, but significant sports items that cropped up in the last few days here in Oregon which deserve your attention as readers. Check them out.
Corban, former McKay High grappler is an All-American
Corban University’s redshirt sophomore David Rubio has helped his school’s young wrestling program reach a new milestone.
Rubio—who was a wrestler for Salem’s McKay High School—earned all-American status after finishing second in the NAIA’s 165 pound weight class at the National Championships this past weekend in Wichita, Kansas.
The historic Saturday for Rubio began with a huge win—as he upset #1 seed Jack
Bass of Life University 3-2 in a tough match. The victory gave Rubio his 22nd win of the year—one of the best in the NAIA.
The championship match pitted Rubio against a familiar foe. David squared off against fellow Cascade Collegiate Conference wrestler Rysan Leong of Menlo College of California—ranked sixth nationally. Rubio had defeated Leong in the CCC championships.
The national championship round ended with the two grapplers tied at 3 points apiece, but Leong was awarded another point post-match for longer riding time on Rubio, providing him with a 4-3 victory.
Corban coach Kary Hadden—the long time wrestling coach at Sprague High School—had nothing but praise for Rubio, declaring “history had been made” with the University’s first-ever championship match.
“It was incredible watching him compete this week,” said Hadden.
“He may have lost his final match, but he certainly won over the crowd and some future fans!”
It is the second straight year Rubio has been named an All-American. He finished fifth last season at nationals. The Corban wrestling program has just completed its fourth year.
Local Teams Shine in Small School Prep Basketball Tourneys
Lots of hardware was brought home by mid-valley schools from the OSAA’s 1A and 2A basketball tournaments held this past week.
Tiny Crosshill Christian High School recorded a milestone for the Eagles—appearing in its first-ever state basketball championship game. Crosshill came up short against defending 1A champion Crane High School, falling 42-22 at Baker High School. The Eagles did win games against the second and third seeded teams to make it to the title contest. They ended the season with a record of 23-6.
At the 2A basketball championships in Pendleton, the Gervais Cougars captured their first girls basketball title in 29 years, shutting down Stanfield 37-21 at the Pendleton Convention Center. Ava Sellers and Sofia Contreras led a balanced scoring attack for Gervais with nine points apiece. The Cougars took control of the game in the third quarter by outscoring Stanfield 11-2. Gervais finished with a season record of 25-4.
The Salem Academy boys avenged their loss in last year’s 2A boys title game, pounding Tri River Conference rival Western Christian 51-37 to claim the 2A crown. The victorious and third-seeded Crusaders had lost to the Pioneers twice in league play this season, but never trailed at the Pendleton Convention Center. Jackson Oglesby led Salem Academy with 17 points and 13 rebounds as the team won their first ever OSAA boys hoops title. The Crusaders ended their season with a record of 21-6
The Salem Academy girls came into the 2A tournament as the #1 seed, but lost their opening game. However, the Lady Crusaders were determined to land themselves a trophy—and they did, winning two straight games—culminating with a 40-35 victory over Colton in the 4th place/6th place game. Aly Herber lead all scorers in the game with 19 points for Salem Academy.
Titan boys and girls play for a spot in the 6A semifinals in Portland
It was a mixed weekend of basketball for the West Salem girls and boys teams. The girls advanced to their first ever appearance at the Elite 8 portion of the 6A championships at Portland’s Chiles Center, while the boys hopes were snuffed with a road loss at Beaverton High School, where they ended the season with a record of 17-9.
The West Salem girls went on the road, and forged a late lead, holding on to beat Grants Pass 45-41 on Friday night.
The Titans’ Lizzy Bennett had 15 points to pace West, while freshman Emma Zuniga added 12 points in a game where the Titans broke open a tight game for a time in the third and fourth quarters before settling for the four-point victory. They will face South Medford on Wednesday night at 8:15 pm. For more about the West girls win over the Lady Cavers, here is a link to the earlier story.
At Beaverton High Saturday, the West Salem boys got off to a slow start, falling behind 9-0 early to the host Beavers. The Titans rallied briefly in the first quarter, but never could gain positive offensive traction. They trailed 18-7 at the end of the first, and 32-23 at half. A 22-6 explosion by Beaverton in the third was the difference. West trailed 54-26 after three, eventually falling by a final count of 64-34.
Tommy Slack and Jimmy Lathen led the Titan offensive attack with 13 and 11 points, respectively. West finished the season at 17-9.
Beaverton’s 6-4 shooting guard Jalen Childs led all scorers with 23 points, Max Elgren tallied 19 points, while 6-11 post Chance Winter chipped in 11.
The Beavers will meet defending state champion Tualatin on Thursday night at 6:30 pm.
Former Blazer broadcaster dealing with medical issues
Former Portland Trailblazers announcer Brian Wheeler is struggling with medical issues that have left him financially strapped—and friends have come to his aid by setting up a gofundme page for his expenses.
Longtime friend Rachel Taylor shared a text online explaining that “Wheels”—who was the Blazers’ radio play-by-play man for 21 seasons, faces potential loss of his home due to medical concerns that have put him in the hospital for much of the last six months. Longtime sportscaster Rich Burke also shared the news via Twitter.
The gofundme page (the link is here) is for 25 thousand dollars to deal with living and medical expenses. The public has responded very well—with nearly 40 thousand dollars pledged as of Sunday night.
Hang tough, Wheels.
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