Kuga Matsumoto gets to the rim for Western, something he did at will on Thursday (Andre Panse)
Kuga Matsumoto gets to the rim for Western, something he did at will on Thursday (Andre Panse)

PENDLETON – Top-seeded Western Christian made an early statement Thursday on the boys’ AND girls’ sides at the 2024 OSAA / OnPoint Community Credit Union 2A Basketball State Championships in Pendleton.

The Pioneers, who are a combined 56-2 boys and girls, won both quarterfinal games convincingly, although they prevailed in very different ways.

At Pendleton High School, the relentless speed of lone senior Kuga Matsumoto overwhelmed Stanfield in Western’s 64-48 boys basketball win. Matsumoto scored on a driving layup off of the opening tip and finished with speed at the rim several more times in the first quarter, as the Pioneers opened an imposing18-6 lead.

Diggs Sladek, a 6-3 interior player, added six points in the period, plus four massive blocks. Western Christian did not lead by less than 12 the rest of the way.

The Pioneers extended their advantage to 21 at the half, bolstered by three more Matsumoto lay ins and five late points from Lucas Zook, including the team’s lone three point goal of the half.

Stanfield, which lost leading scorer Pablo Arellano to a back injury in the fifth minute, surged early in the third quarter, outscoring the Pioneers 12-3, behind the play of Michael O’Dell and Landon Bailey. Western Christian responded by scoring 13 of the next 15 points to restore order and grew its lead to 27 points in the fourth before calling off the dogs. Stanfield scored the game’s final nine points to produce the final margin.

“I thought we played with good energy and as a team on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball,” observed Western Christian head coach Gary Hull.

Matsumoto finished with a game-high 19 points, on 8-of-11 shooting.

“Kuga had a great game of breaking down his guy off the dribble, which allowed him some incredible scoring opportunities,” Hull said.

Sladek added 17 for the Pioneers, who shot almost 60 percent from the field and held a near 2:1 rebounding advantage. They worked tirelessly to score inside and made just two three pointers on only five attempts.

Bailey led Stanfield with 13 points and four assists.

In the girls’ game versus Enterprise, Western Christian sophomore Runon Muroya scored 25 first-half points, including seven three-pointers; to help the Pioneers turn a 17-12 lead after the first quarter into a 38-17 halftime runaway. Western scored as often from deep as it did in the lane, in contrast to the boys’ team. The Pioneers only shot two free throws, missing both.

Muroya finished with 30 points, one more than the entire Enterprise team; in the 57-29 win. She scored 17 in the pivotal second quarter.

Avery Herber and Lexi Herber complemented Muroya’s massive game for Western by teaming for 13 points and 13 rebounds. Haley Miersma contributed six steals.

Alex Rowley had 12 points and seven rebounds for Enterprise in the loss. The Outlaws finished 0—for-5 from beyond the three-point line.

In other Thursday quarterfinals…


No. 4 Oakland 53. No. 5 East Linn Christian Acad. 41

It wasn’t a masterpiece, but Oakland did just enough in the boys’ opener to make its first semifinal since 2018.

“It never is with us,” said Oakland head coach Jeff Clark. “We want to play good defense and make them work on every possession to score and I think we did that. We got them flustered and had just enough offense to win.”

A little Blake Knurowski magic – a conventional three followed by one from deep – gave ELCA an 8-6 lead after almost six minutes of play in a sloppy start by both teams. The Oakers answered with a three-ball of its own, from freshman Ryan Fullerton on the win, part of a 19-8 Oakland run to close out the first half. Joe Fusco assisted on Fullerton’s basket and with finished the half with three assists as well as five points, a first quarter jumper in the key and a deep three that closed the scoring in the second quarter.

Gavyn Woody drilled three straight corner threes in the third quarter, extending Oakland’s lead to 16 points, its largest of the game.

“He is a great shooter but has struggled a bit this year from the three-point line,” Clark said. “We keep saying, ‘You’ve got to keep shooting.’ We knew it was going to happen and we’re glad he saved it for now.”

Knurowski kept East Linn Christian in the game with two triples of his own in the third quarter, but the lack of consistent scoring from anyone else and the foul trouble of Evan Christenson hurt the Eagles’ comeback chances. Oakland, which was 0-6 from the free throw stripe in the first half, converted 10-of-16 in the second to make sure its lead was never threatened.

Woody finished with 14 points, and four of the team’s seven three pointers, to lead the onslaught for Oakland. Fusco had eight points and five assists. The Oakers also got strong first-half play off the bench from Kellan Sabo and good play making from Coltyn Jacobs.

Knurowski finished with 20 points for ELCA to lead all scorers. Post Elliot Nofziger had a strong second half and reached double figures in both points (13) and rebounds (14). The Eagles shot only 26 percent from the field for the game, just 20 percent from beyond the arc.

No. 3 Portland Christian 58, No. 6 Willamina 55

Portland Christian stayed undefeated by owning the arc in its win over the Bulldogs. The Royals made 11 three-pointers, including six from freshman Keylon Kittleson; to just three from Willamina. Kittleson’s last triple, with 4:42 remaining in the game, gave Portland Christian its biggest lead of the evening at 54-46. Willamina twice closed within three in the closing minutes, but the Bulldogs could get no closer.

Austin Carrasco had a strong game – 17 points and 14 rebounds – for Willamina, which led by three after one quarter and was tied with Portland Christian at halftime and at the end of three quarters of play. Adam Atherton and Cohen Haller also reached double figure scoring for the Bulldogs. Haller added five assists and four steals.

Passing keyed Portland Christian’s win. Of the Royals’ 23 field goals, 18 were assisted, with Kittleson, Josiah Harris-Skidmore and Graham Calhoun each recording four or more helpers. Calhoun also scored 16 points, with four triples. Post Colby Getting added 14 points, with nine boards and four blocked shots.

No. 7 Mannahouse Acad., Portland 46, No. 2 Regis 45

A free throw by Jadon Bjornsgard with three seconds remaining broke a 45-all tie and helped the Lions prevail.

Regis had tied the score on a free throw of its own 90 seconds earlier, but missed the second, setting up the frenzied finish.

Mannahouse looked poised to pull away from Regis in the second quarter, when a three-pointer from Nolan Schweiss sandwiched two from Bjornsgard in a 9-0 run that turned a slim 15-13 Lion lead into a 24-13 bulge.

Regis responded with eight points of its own to close the half and thrice took the lead in a back-and-forth third quarter.

Two late Austin Snyder triples in the third helped Mannahouse take a lead going into the final eight minutes. Isaiah Koehnke tied the game on a jumper early in the fourth, but Schweiss and Joshua Louka countered with buckets of their own to put the Lions back up on top, setting up the closing sequence that clinched their victory.

Schweiss had 16 points and eight rebounds for Mannahouse in the win. Snyder added 13 and Louka had six points and 11 rebounds.

Roman Gould scored 11 to lead Regis. Isaiah Koehnke added 10, but he was just 2-of-20 from beyond the arc. Regis, as a team, was just 5-for-33 from long range.


No. 4 Knappa 46, No. 5 Nestucca 39

Knappa started the fourth quarter on a 16-0 run to erase a deficit and defeat Nestucca for the first time this season.

After three quarters, the game between Northwest League rivals Knappa and Nestucca appeared to be following the script of the other three meetings this year, all Nestucca wins. The Bobcats never trailed through three quarters and carried a 37-30 lead to the final period.

That changed as quickly as two Taylor Pass triples early in the fourth. Those buckets jump-started an unrelenting run that carried Loggers to an insurmountable lead.

Pass finished with a team-high 13 points, one of three Knappa players, along with Ariana Miller and Alondra Pina, to score in double figures for the Loggers. Hailee Knight scored 14 and Chloe Love added 11 in the loss for Nestucca.

No. 3 Regis 46, No. 8 Stanfield, 39 O.T.

Regis outscored Stanfield, 9-0, to start overtime to escape with the win.

Clara Persons scored a game-high 20 points for the victorious Rams, including a driving layup to open the scoring in overtime.

Anyone watching the game’s opening minutes would have been surprised to see it extended beyond regulation time. Regis got early triples from Persons and Hadley Foster in an 8-0 run to start the game. Persons scored seven more to help the Rams build a 15-5 advantage after one.

Stanfield turned the tables completely in the second quarter thanks to strong play, especially on the inside, from the trio of Mazie Reeser, Kylee Jackson and Kayla Monkus. Jackson’s lay in gave the Tigers their first lead of the game, 17-16, with less than a minute remaining before the half.

Stanfield kept the pressure on Regis into the third quarter and enjoyed its biggest lead, 35-28, on a 6-0 run to close the period. Kenya Dovalina had a bucket and assist in the late flurry for the Tigers.

Regis found life to start the fourth quarter, The Rams got an immediate three pointer from Foster and added four more on Persons lay ups to pull even at 35 with 5:41 remaining.  The rest of the period was a struggle for both teams, with only free throws finding the promised land. Reeser’s two free throws with one minute remaining knotted the score and sent the game to extra time.

In overtime, after Persons opened the scoring for Regis, buckets from Persons and Mylah Etzel extended the Rams advantage to six. Etzel had been 0-for-11 before swishing the elbow jumper, but that basket may have been the game’s most consequential.

“My teammates believed in me and kept me going even when I was down on myself,” Etzel said. “It was a pretty cool shot for me and really satisfying.”

Foster put the final nail in Stanfield’s coffin with a turnaround three-pointer with less than 90 seconds remaining. She finished with 14 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Etzel had five rebounds and a game-high six steals to go with her huge overtime basket.

Reeser had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead Stanfield, which was plagued by 27 turnovers, 13 more than Regis.

No. 2 Bandon 34, No. 10 Oakridge 23

Favored Bandon trailed 12-8 at halftime but used a 7-0 to start the third quarter and a 10-0 run that carried into the fourth quarter to win by double digits in the hard-fought game.

I’m not going to lie; the first half was dreadful for both teams, which combined to shoot 8-for-57 from the field (14 percent) and 1-for-19 from long range (5 percent), with 16 total turnovers. Oakridge was able to forge a lead going into the break because Sadie Snyder was doing just enough for the Warriors. She scored seven in the first half, almost matching Regis’ output singlehandedly.

The key to Bandon’s second half surge was sharing the ball. In the first half, the Tigers scored four field goals and assisted on two of them. In the second half, they scored 10 baskets and assisted on eight. Oakridge, by contrast, had just one assist the entire game.

Bandon’s second-half turnaround started with Katelynn Senn scoring in the lane. Senn then assisted on Caitlyn Michalek’s field goal and Nyah Dimitruk followed by dishing to Olivia Thompson for a picture-perfect three-ball that gave Bandon its first lead since 6-5.

A 4-0 Oakridge run, which featured baskets by Sadie Snyder and her sister, Jade Snyder, put the Warriors back up with 2:23 remaining in the quarter, but Bandon scored the final six points of the period, four by Makenna Vierck, to go on top for good.

Dimitruk, whose five assists were a game high, helped teammates Senn and Vierck continue the run into the fourth quarter. Jade Snyder scored three on an “and-1” to break the Oakridge scoring drought, but Bandon shrugged off the challenge with hoops from Thompson, Vierck and Senn down the stretch to complete the win.

“We pride ourselves on the defensive end,” said Bandon coach Jordan Sammons. “To hold Oakridge to 23 points was huge because we didn’t score a lot either. In the first half, our staff felt like we were playing not to lose rather than to win. I was really proud of how we stepped up in the second half and played as a team. We showed a lot of heart. Survive and advance, right?”

Vierck, Senn and Thompson scored 30 of Bandon’s 34 points and collectively added 24 rebounds.

Sadie Snyder had 11 points, six rebounds and three steals for Oakridge. Jade Snyder contributed seven points and 16 rebounds.