OAKLAND — The Oakland High girls basketball team shook off a shaky start and dropped No. 1 Kennedy from the ranks of the unbeaten on Friday night.
The No. 5 Oakers recovered from an 11-point deficit, limiting the Trojans to just 14 points over the last three quarters, and earned a 36-29 victory over the defending Class 2A state champions before a packed crowd at the Nut House.
Kennedy (10-1 overall) saw its 34-game winning streak dating back to last season snapped. The Trojans of Mt. Angel entered the contest No. 1 in the OSAA 2A power rankings and in the coaches’ poll.
It was a perfect bounce-back for Oakland (8-1), which was coming off a 14-point loss at Coquille (9-0) Wednesday.
Kennedy, Oakland and Coquille were the top three teams in the power rankings after Friday’s upset.
“It feels really good,” said Oakland senior point guard Hadley Brooksby, who finished with a game-high 18 points. “I think we felt super defeated after our game Wednesday because we knew we could’ve done better. But coming off this win we definitely have the confidence. This shows us we have the potential to go far.”
“We are so hyped,” Oakers senior post Cassidy Jones added. “I do believe it’s a statement win. It’ll give us a lot of confidence, but it also means we’ll have a bull’s-eye on us because we just beat the No. 1 team.”
Kennedy scored 10 unanswered points to open the game, forcing some Oakland turnovers with its pressure. The Trojans increased their lead to 15-4 before Brooksby scored a layup to leave the hosts behind by nine after one quarter.
The Oakers turned up the intensity on the defensive end in the second period, limiting the Trojans to a pair of Sophia Carley putbacks.
Oakland hit five baskets, including a 3-pointer by Grace Witten, and cut the deficit to 19-18 by halftime.
Oakland finally got the lead at the start of the third quarter, lost it and then regained the advantage for good. Brooksby scored off a turnover and Taylor Yard hit a bank shot to put the Oakers up 28-25.
The Trojans failed to capitalize on their opportunities in the final quarter. Brooksby fed Gabby Parnell for a layup with 1:53 left to make it a seven-point cushion, and Kennedy wasn’t able to score from there.
Kennedy averaged 57 points a game before the Oakers shut them down.
“Our team grit really showed in the first quarter, because we didn’t give up when we were down,” Brooksby said. “The pressure in the beginning scared us, but once we were able to calm down and pull ourselves together we were able to handle it and get some transition buckets out of it.”
“That was a tough game. We battled through some injuries and fouls, but the kids stepped up,” Oakland coach Don Witten said. “We got them into more of a half-court game (in the second quarter) and I thought our zone was really effective. They didn’t have a lot of good looks.
“They had three field goals in the second half, and only one in the fourth, so that’s just a stellar defensive effort.”
The Oakers worked hard to hold Carley, a 6-foot junior post, to nine points — two coming in the second half. Carley also grabbed 10 rebounds.
“We knew we were going to front her (Carley) and provide backside help,” Don Witten said. “She’s long, and Andi (Bean), Grace (Witten), Taylor (Yard) and Cassidy (Jones) all did a good job against her.”
It was a physical affair, with neither team shooting well. Oakland shot 27 percent (14-for-52) from the field, while Kennedy was worse at 22 percent (11-for-49). The Trojans had 19 turnovers.
“Being physical was something that needed to happen,” Jones said. “If we would’ve backed off we wouldn’t have played the game we played tonight. (Carley) is an amazing player. I just think we had two people on her, so that made it a little harder on her.”
Jones pulled down 11 rebounds to go with seven points. Yard, a sophomore, came off the bench to contribute six points and six rebounds. Parnell also turned in a strong defensive game, making four steals, and Brooksby had three steals.
“It was a good old-fashioned ground-pound game and I love those kind of games,” Kennedy co-coach Peter Hall said. “One of the things (the Oakers) did very well was they were physical. Playing physical is tough because you have to play under control, and they did a really good job of that. They pushed people around the basket, did a good job of rebounding and got some second chances.”
Hall added it’s just a reminder the Trojans “have more homework to do.”
“I like having early season games that are tough,” he said. “Oakland did everything right to get themselves in the right spot to win.”
The Oakers will meet Myrtle Point in the first round of their tournament on Dec. 28.
KENNEDY (29) — Sophia Carley 9, Suing 2, Kleinschmit 8, Hall, Traeger 1, Arritola 2, Schaecher, Cantu 7. Totals 11-49 6-17 29.
OAKLAND (36) — Hadley Brooksby 18, Parnell 2, Jones 7, Yard 6, Bean, Witten 3. Totals 14-52 6-13 36.
Kennedy 15 4 6 4 — 29
Oakland 6 12 10 8 — 36
3-Point Goals — Ken. 1 (Kleinschmit), Oak. 2 (Brooksby, Witten). Total Fouls — Ken. 15, Oak. 13. Fouled Out — None.
JV Score — Oakland 37, Kennedy 20.