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Chiefs top Bulldogs, charge into semifinals

DAVE EHRHARDT

PORTLAND -- The Rogue River girls continued to prove they deserve some March Madness.

The Chieftains moved into tonight's semifinals of the Class 3A State Tournament with a resounding 48-29 win over Sutherlin at the Chiles Center on Thursday night.

The win earned Rogue River (23-2) a berth against Cascade at 8:45 p.m.

After handling Waldport 49-42 in Wednesday's opener, the Chieftains came into Thursday's game a bit leery. Starting point guard Michelle Anderson sat on the bench for three quarters because of disciplinary reasons, leaving a team with limited depth even shorter on the bench.

Mindi Yost moved from shooting guard back to the point, a position she played last year, and handled the job to near perfection with a 13-point, nine-rebound effort that made Anderson's absence less painful.

Mindi is just a superb player, said Rogue River coach Dan Mortinson of the 5-foot-7 junior. She really took care of the ball and hit some big shots out there.

Yost was again complemented by the inside play of Sarah Jones. The senior forward led all scorers with 18 points, while grabbing 10 rebounds. Jones scored five of her points during a 10-2 run to close the third quarter and put the game away.

We knew if we played hard we could do without Michelle, said Jones.

Rogue River used a tenacious zone defense to shut down Sutherlin's offense. The Bulldogs (21-7) suffered from the field throughout, hitting a miserable 12 of 64 shots.

We had some real good looks at the basket, Sutherlin coach Gary Olson said. But it was one of those nights that is a nightmare for a coach. You have them maybe once a season and we had ours tonight. Plus, they played some good defense.

Rogue River's offense wasn't bad, either. While the Chieftains relied on the inside play of Jones and Shae Wright for the majority of their scoring during the season, the boost on Thursday came from the perimeter efforts of Yost and senior wing Cory Orton (10 points).

They both hit once from the outside, while Jones banged on the inside for five points in the first quarter, sending Rogue River out to an early 11-2 lead.

After Sutherlin closed the lead to 13-12 midway through the second quarter, Yost turned up the heat and knocked down three outside jumpers, as the Chiefs took a 22-12 lead into halftime.

Judging from her pre-game shooting efforts, Yost was as surprised as anyone about her success against the Bulldogs.

In warm-ups I was really shooting bad, said Yost, who scored 14 points in Wednesday's win over Waldport. When the game started I was pretty worried.

Yost moved out beyond the 3-point line to hit a huge basket with about three minutes to play in the third quarter, giving Rogue River a 29-17 lead. A pair of Jones free throws, a 3-point basket by Orton and a 3-point play by Jones put the game out of reach by the end of the third quarter.

We knew they were strong in the post, Olson said. But their outside shooters were better than expected.

While Rogue River hit just 16 of 44 shots in the game, it managed to find the basket when it counted -- sending the Chieftains within a game of playing for the state championship.

SUTHERLIN (29) -- Rogers 9, Hardy 5, Lee 3, Nunley 4, Trumbo 4, Cortes 0, Ouellette 2, Burdett 0. Totals: 12 4-8 29.

ROGUE RIVER (48) -- Jones 18, Orton 10, Wright 4, Yost 13, Hannan 3, Donaghy 0, Marland 0, Cain 0, Anderson 0, Badley 0. Totals: 16 14-24 48.

Sutherlin 4 8 7 10 -- 29

Rogue River 11 11 15 11 -- 48

3-point goals -- Sutherlin — (Rogers), Rogue River 2 (Orton, Yost 1).