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Pioneers' shooting knocks North Eugene out of playoffs.

Byline: Adam Jude The Register-Guard

Standing alone in a pale and empty hallway, North Eugene coach Bill Wagner leaned against a hard brick wall and spoke with a tone of wonder and bewilderment.

"They flat-out stroked it," Wagner said of Oregon City, which ousted the Highlanders from the OSAA Class 4A boys basketball playoffs with a 68-56 second-round victory Wednesday before a capacity crowd at North Eugene.

Oregon City (20-5) connected on five of its first six three-point attempts to jump out to a 19-9 lead in the first six minutes.

The Pioneers never trailed and finished 9-for-14 on three-point shots, hitting all three of their attempts in the second half.

"They're a tough cover," Wagner said. "All five (of their starters) can shoot it. Every time we'd get within four or six, they'd hit another big three."

Brad Tinsley, a 6-foot-3 sophomore guard, scored a game-high 20 points and had six assists to lead the Pioneers, who will face Jesuit in the third round on Saturday. The winner advances to the state quarterfinals at McArthur Court next week.

"Run and gun - that's how to we like to do it," Tinsley said. "I can't say how good we are right now. Hopefully we're good enough to make it back to Eugene."

Markus Baker scored 16 points, Andrew Miller had 14 and Brian Conklin added 10 for North Eugene (19-5), which shot 51 percent (23-of-45) from the field but couldn't keep up with the Pioneers.

"(The Highlanders) shot much better from the outside than we expected," Oregon City coach Mike Doherty said. "Other than that, defensively I think we kept track of them pretty well."

Oregon City shot 54 percent (26-of-48) while using only five players, four of whom scored in double figures. Doherty finally went to his bench with less than two minutes left in the game.

"They're a senior-laden team, and they're experience showed tonight," Wagner said.

Mychal Owens scored 11 of his 17 points in the first quarter, hitting three consecutive three-pointers to put the Pioneers ahead 21-11 at the end of the first.

Nathan Aronson had a steal and a dunk to give Oregon City a 28-16 edge with 4:16 to go in the half.

Miller scored eight points in the second quarter to ignite a 10-2 run for the Highlanders. His rebound basket with 1:04 left in the half cut North's deficit to 30-26 before the Pioneers took a 32-26 lead into the break.

"Andrew Miller has been a warrior all year," Wagner said. "He does so much for our team. He left his heart out on the floor."

Oregon City hit its first three shots of the third quarter to push its advantage to 39-28. The Highlanders rebounded with three straight threes late in the quarter, including two in a row by Baker to bring North within 43-39.

It was as close as the Highlanders would get.

Joey Coughlin, a 6-foot-4 post, hit a deep three just before the buzzer at the end of the third quarter, pushing the Oregon City lead to 52-41.

The Highlanders, with four returning starters, are already looking ahead to next season.

"Going through a game like this is a building block," Wagner said.

"I'm almost ready to get going right now. We're excited for the future."

West Salem 58, Churchill 44: Cory Davis scored 20 points and had six assists, and the Titans defeated the Lancers in a second-round state playoff game.

Andrew Schumacher scored 16 points to lead Churchill (18-7), the No. 3 seed from the Midwestern League, and Evan Engelstad added 14 points. Van Dellenback-Ouellette scored 10 points, including two three-pointers.

Bryan Huber added 15 points for West Salem, the Valley League champions.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 2, 2006
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