Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
Crater thought it had a favorable situation coming into Friday's Class 6A girls basketball second-round playoff game against West Linn in Central Point, considering the Comets only loss all season in their gym came at the hands of top-ranked South Medford.
And when Crater jumped out to a 10-3 first-quarter lead, the victory needed for a berth in the eight-team state tournament seemed a little closer.
But the Three Rivers League runner-up quickly turned the tables on the Comets and denied Crater a trip to Portland with a 50-38 upset victory.
"We got off to a pretty good start," Crater coach JT Thomas said, "then we didn't take care of the ball. We got a little bit tentative defensively. We allowed some easy shots and putbacks and could never get back in a rhythm."
Surprisingly, it was freshman Courtney Setzer who stepped up for the Comets (17-8) in the playoff atmosphere. Setzer, who played forward and point guard, tallied a team-best 11 points.
"She was active all over the court for us," said Thomas. "She did a lot of great things to give us an opportunity to stay in the game throughout."
Crater's top offensive weapon — senior post Kelly Ferris — was limited to eight points. Ferris had nine rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"My frustration is that we did not get (Ferris) the ball enough," said Thomas. "We weren't as patient as we needed to be to get inside."
West Linn (17-9) capitalized on a big disparity from the free-throw line. The Lions were 24 of 36, while the Comets were just 6 of 19.
"That's brutal," said Thomas about Crater's woes from the charity stripe. "You can't do that. It's an unfortunate bug to have bite you on a night like this."
Karly Leveque's 16 points sparked the Lions. Leveque was 14 of 16 from the free throw line.
"Their point guard (Leveque) absolutely demolished us tonight from the line," said Thomas. "The only answer we had for her was to foul her when she was shooting."
The Comets trailed 20-12 at halftime but cut the margin to three points in the third quarter and was within five several times in the fourth.
Crater outrebounded the Lions, 35-29, but West Linn came up with 15 steals and forced 22 turnovers.
"Our kids made a gutsy run on them," said Thomas. "We got away from our game plan and in the process didn't stay on the attack like we did early."
WEST LINN (50) — Leveque, Karly 16, Smith 9, Boyd-Helm 7, Hughes 4, Romero 4, Johnson 4, Longtain 4, Westermark 2, Kraemer 0. Totals: 13 24-36 50.
CRATER (38) — Setzer, Courtney 11, Ferris 8, Hampson 6, Cobb 5, Scott 3, Owen 3, Young 2, Gavin 0, Guthrie 0, M. Heard 0, B. Heard 0, Bascom 0, Thomson 0. Totals: 14 6-19 38.
West Linn 3 17 11 19 — 50
Crater 10 2 14 12 — 38
3-point goals — Crater 4 (Setzer 1, Scott 1, Cobb 1, Hampson 1). Fouled out — Setzer, Scott, Owen.