The Midwestern League flexed its muscles in the round of 16 and ended up with seven of the 16 teams in this week’s OSAA 5A basketball tournaments at Gill Coliseum.
The Eugene-heavy Midwestern is led by the Churchill boys, the top seed and the top-ranked team in the final 5A coaches poll of the season.
The Lancers (21-4) blitzed The Dalles 100-54 in last Saturday’s round of 16 and open the tournament against La Salle at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday in the first of four boys quarterfinals.
The girls quarterfinals are Thursday. Crescent Valley (15-10) plays top-seeded and top-ranked Wilsonville (21-5) at 1:30 p.m., while second-seeded and third-ranked Lebanon (21-3) plays Crater (21-4) at 8:15 p.m.
The championship finals are Saturday, with the boys at 3:15 p.m. and the girls at 8:30 p.m.
The Churchill boys were third last year and feature junior wing Brian Goracke, who transferred from Monroe. If the Lancers advance, they’ll play league rivals Thurston, the defending champion, or Willamette (both 19-5) in a Friday semifinal.
Churchill is 6-0 against tournament teams this season, including wins by seven and four points versus Thurston.
On the other side of the eight-team bracket, Crater (17-8) plays Silverton (23-2) and Pendleton (17-5) takes on 2018 runner-up Wilsonville (24-2). Crater is another Midwestern school.
Pendleton has played just three games since Feb. 7 because four games since then where cancelled due to weather. But the Buckaroos squeezed out a 74-73 overtime win at Parkrose in Portland to advance.
There was little doubt that the correct girls teams ended up at Gill.
The eight round-of-16 games were decided by an average of 31.5 points and none by closer than 15.
Crescent Valley, making a repeat trip to the tournament after taking fourth last year, was the only road winner in the round of 16, getting past Redmond 46-31. The Raiders are a combined 0-7 against five tournament teams, but all but one of those losses came by 10 or fewer points.
Wilsonville coach Justin Duke was Scio’s coach in 2012 and a Loggers assistant in 2011 when they finished second to league rival Regis both seasons.
The Crescent Valley-Wilsonville winner will play La Salle or Silverton in a Friday semifinal. La Salle was second and Silverton third last year. Marist, last year’s champion, is in the 4A tournament.
The Midwestern’s three girls teams are all in the bottom half of the bracket. Churchill (20-4) plays Springfield (20-4) in the other quarterfinal, with the winner playing Lebanon or Crater.
Lebanon got to the tournament with just one loss to an in-state team, a two-point, last-second defeat at Corvallis on Dec. 11. The Warriors lost to two California teams in a Wyoming tournament in late December.
Springfield, a 2018 tournament team, has played six of the other tournament teams this season and went 4-3.