Three defined tiers have been established at the midway point of the Mid-Willamette Conference girls basketball season.
No. 1 Central (17-1, 8-0) and fifth-ranked Silverton (14-4, 7-1) sit atop the standings with a stranglehold on the title race. The Panthers, who won the first meeting 43-41 in Independence, travel to Silverton on Feb. 20.
No. 10 Crescent Valley (14-4, 5-3) is alone in third entering Tuesday’s matchup at Dallas (7-10, 1-7). The Raiders are 0-3 against the top of the league but have dominated the lower half.
Eighth-ranked Lebanon (13-4, 4-4) and Corvallis (7-11, 4-4) are tied for fourth while South Albany (7-11, 3-5) is one game back.
The Spartans begin a treacherous three-game road stretch Tuesday night at Silverton before heading to CV and Central. The Warriors host South on Tuesday.
Dallas and last-place Woodburn (1-16, 0-8) are bringing up the rear.
The top two boys and girls teams automatically qualify for the 5A state round of 16. The next four earn spots in the play-in round.
In the MWC boys race, top-ranked Silverton (16-1, 8-0) and No. 8 South Albany (14-4, 7-1) have separated themselves from the rest of the league. The Rebels will go for the season split with Silverton on Feb. 16 in Albany.
Central (13-5, 5-3) and CV (10-8, 5-3) are tied for third, two games up on Corvallis (7-11, 3-5). Dallas (3-14, 2-6), Woodburn (5-13, 1-7) and Lebanon (2-16, 1-7) have struggled all year.
Tuesday’s matchups include Lebanon at South, Dallas at CV, Woodburn at Central and Corvallis at Silverton.
Bulldogs on a roll
The West Albany girls basketball team has caught fire late in Greater Valley Conference play.
Entering Tuesday’s home matchup with McMinnville (6-3, 9-2), the Bulldogs (11-8, 7-4) have won five consecutive games since a 64-60 loss at West Salem (8-11, 6-5). West Albany will get another crack at the Titans on Feb. 20 to close the regular season.
Forest Grove (14-6, 10-2) sits atop the GVC with a slim lead over McMinnville and McNary (15-5, 9-3). The Bulldogs are alone in fourth, half a game in front of South Salem (9-11, 7-5).
Last Friday, the Bulldogs knocked off McNary 62-56 in Albany to even the conference series.
The top four GVC teams automatically qualify for the 6A state playoffs.
Big matchup for Jefferson
The Jefferson boys basketball team can wrap up second place in the PacWest Conference when it closes the regular season Tuesday night at Salem Academy.
The Lions (14-9, 8-3) enter the matchup with a half-game lead on the Crusaders (12-10, 7-3), who travel to Colton (10-11, 5-5) on Thursday. Blanchet (19-3, 10-0) has already clinched the regular-season conference title.
The PacWest playoffs will be held next week to determine postseason seeding. The top three teams will automatically qualify for the 3A state round of 16.
District wrestling to begin Friday
South Albany and Lebanon will head north for this weekend’s Mid-Willamette Conference wrestling championships.
The two-day, eight-team tournament begins Friday and ends Saturday in Silverton. The top four placers in each class advance to the 5A state championships, held Feb. 16-17 in Portland.
Dallas is the heavy favorite to repeat as district champion.
Sweet Home will also be vying for state berths when it hosts the 4A Special District 2 championships this weekend. The top four in each weight class move on to state.
The Huskies are the defending district and state champions.
West Albany’s Ethan Pohlschneider was 52nd in the Oregon School Ski Association men’s slalom race at Mt. Bachelor last Friday.