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Basketball season starts again Thursday, November 29, 2007

Basketball season opened this week with a number of games across the state, including Lincoln at Beaverton. I think it was a tougher game for the Cardinals than they expected, but they came away with a 64-55 win.

Looking at my take after the game, the most interesting shots seem to be about shoes ...

OK, here's one action picture for you: Aliyah Green working inside in the third quarter. She and team mate Kelsey Goodell tied with a game high of 17 points each.

OSAA Football playoffs: Grant 27, Central Catholic 24 Sunday, November 25, 2007

Grant kicker Gabe Miller howls on the sideline after making a 33-yard field goal to win the game as time expired, 27-24, over Central Catholic Nov. 23 at PGE Park in Portland. With the win, Grant advances to the 6A semifinals against Sheldon.

Friday night's 6A quarterfinal between Grant and Central Catholic was probably the most amazing comeback I have ever seen in person.

Grant was the favorite going into the match, but after the Generals scored a field goal on their first possession, they were looking more like privates. Nothing was working: not their passing game, nor their running game, nor their defense.

And, as Central Catholic scored their third touchdown to go up 24-3 with just 2:02 left in the third quarter, we photographers were just wishing they'd get it over with so we could get out of the cold. It looked like the Generals were starting to feel that way, too.

(right) A Grant assistant coach gives Paul McCoy a pep talk after Central Catholic made the score 24-3 with 2:02 left in the third quarter. "Keep the faith," he said.

But it the PIL champions weren't finished yet. They put one in the end zone before the quarter was finished, and added two more to tie the score with 3:17 left in the final period.

Then, on the Rams' next possession, Paul McCoy picked off a long pass to put the ball back in blue hands. They marched down to about the 20-yard line as the clock ticked to :05. At that point, it was all up to kicker Gabe Miller.

His shot was true, time expired, and the Generals won their toughest game of the year.

Next week they play Sheldon, who upset undefeated Lake Oswego with a blocked PAT attempt in overtime in another quarterfinal match on Friday.

(left) Grant's Bryan Butcher gives a Central Catholic defender the stiff arm as he returns an interception in the third quarter. (below) Grant's Kenneth Acker strips the ball from Central Catholic's Demetrius Guice in the third quarter. The Generals recovered the ball, but officials ruled that Guice was down before the fumble. The Rams scored a touchdown on the second play after the missed call.

Street Talk 002: Black Friday

I was up at 2:45 Friday morning to shoot a Black Friday assignment for The Outlook. Being an admitted non-shopper, I was curious to know just what kind of person is out there bargain hunting in the darkest depths of night, so I brought microphone and recorder along with my camera when I visited Kohl's and Fred Meyer at NE 223rd and Glisan in Wood Village.

Among the people standing in line at Fred Meyer were three twenty-something sisters, Emily Lamarca, Martha Tracey, and Katie Tracey. These Black Friday veterans told me what the Sock Sale was all about.

(right) Katy Cartisser of Troutdale (right) braces against the wind early Friday morning as she waits for Kohl's to open its doors. Cartisser was one of dozens lined up at the Wood Village store for the 4 a.m. opening of their After-Thanksgiving sale.

Capital needs for PPS Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Further to yesterday's posting about the need for capital improvements in Portland Public Schools, here are a few more photos from Lincoln High School.

About a month ago—just as the fall playoffs were starting—the school district contracted an engineering firm to inspect all of the grandstands in the city. Lincoln's 56-year-old grandstand showed enough deficiencies that the school board decided to close the facility.

You can read more about the story in the Cardinal Times (student newspaper) and in The Oregonian.

More recently, some folks with influence have publicly been musing about moving the school to a new location entirely. That, of course, would solve the problem with the grandstands, but it's going to take a few years ...

Good corporate citizen, or buying ads in public schools? Monday, November 19, 2007

I just looked at the last few entries of this blog, and realized that they're all about high school sports. This time of year—playoffs for fall sports—definitely brings a lot of assignments in that area. I have been shooting some other stuff, honest, but nothing I can post here (yet).

Meanwhile, here's another high school sports photo (right), with a difference.

This fall, the Trailblazers coughed up an estimated $600,000 to re-floor the basketball courts at all 13 high schools in the Portland Public School system. The condition was that they could put two logos on each court. (Read about the program here.)

So are the Blazers being good corporate citizens, or have they found a loophole that allowed them to put advertising in the city's high schools?

On the one hand, it's a badly needed improvement to the schools that wasn't going to happen without the Blazers' support.

On the other hand, the schools are pretty much the last enclave free from the reach of corporate America. And the last thing we need is multinational companies picking on vulnerable youth.

Even without corporate logos on basketball courts, Portland's high schools are hardly free of advertising. Sure, companies aren't allowed to put up displays or run commercials on the scoreboards. But there are pop machines, and binders, t-shirts, cell phones, and whatever else a teen carries around with them these days. And if you look at any wall, bulletin board, or even the floor, what do you see? Posters everywhere advertising the school play, anti-drug campaigns, the services of the school nurse, the basketball team's next game, the homecoming dance, the art class's annual show, school picture day, and just about anything else going on. I don't know about Portland's high schools, but every day we had morning announcements that usually included a plug or two for some activity. The yearbooks have advertising. The school newspaper has advertising. The Oregon State Activities Association (OSAA) won't allow logos on football fields, but has no problem with the court logos. And all of the state championship events they run are well-sponsored by well-recognized companies.

By accepting money for new hardwood, has the PPS sold a part of itself to corporate America? Did the Blazers' buy some kind of influence over Portland's youth? Has PPS opened the door to some slippery path to corporate-sponsored education?

I don't know. What do you think?

State Soccer Championships Sunday, November 18, 2007

The McLoughlin Pioneers lift Christian Corona after he scored against Gladstone in the 33rd minute of the 4A state championship game Nov. 17 in Wilsonville. With the 1-0 win, McLoughlin claimed its third consecutive state title.

It was with more than a little trepidation that I drove down to Wilsonville (about 20 miles south of Portland) yesterday morning to photograph the boys' 4A and 3A/2A/1A state soccer championships. I
had never been to the stadium, about 20 miles south of Portland, and I don't have much experience shooting soccer, but that didn't worry me. It was the rain.

The weather map shown on the Friday night news showed a distinct white swath funneling moisture from around Hawaii directly at Portland. All of the local meteorologists were calling for heavy rain, all day long. The predicted high of around 50 degrees (10C) is hardly cold, but if you've been standing in the wind and rain for five or six hours it could hardly be described as balmy.

So I wrapped myself up in various layers of high-tech synthetic fibers, grabbed my camera's raincoat, and headed down the highway through the pouring rain.

As I drove, I tried to psych myself up for the afternoon, get into the game, so to speak.
Since these were championships for the smaller high schools in the state (the big school finals were in Hillsboro), I wasn't sure what kind of facilities they would have for the media. I had two games to shoot: one at 1 p.m. (the boys' 3A/2A/1A game, Riverside vs. Oregon Episcopal School) and another at 6 (the 4A game, McLoughlin vs. Gladstone). In between was the girls' 4A/3A/2A/1A final, which I wasn't covering, so I thought I could find a nearby coffee shop in which to huddle and download my first game's take.

Riverside's Hugo Morales (center) celebrates with Juan Carlos Ruiz (left) and Juan Antonio Llamas after scoring in the ninth minute of the 3A/2A/1A boys soccer final Nov. 17 in Wilsonville.

And I thought about the possibility of some great mud shots, especially during the first game when it was still daylight. But then I wondered if the field could hold up to three consecutive games in the rain, and if they would even play.

As it turned out, the stadium was great. They had an artificial turf surface, so the mud shots weren't going to happen, but at least I (and my gear) would stay clean. The media room, beside the announcer's booth above the grandstand, was full of half-dead flies, but otherwise dry, convenient, and fully equipped with power and wireless internet connections. And, better yet, I could shoot from up there, affording me first a different angle on the field, and second, a dry place to be.

And that is just how I shot the first 15 minutes of the first game—from up above the grandstand.

Then, miracle of miracles, the rain stopped. I went down to field level to get some shots from down there, before it got wet again. As it turned out, though, the rain didn't come back all afternoon. In fact, the sun broke through for a few minutes.

Riverside assistant coach Francisco Velazquez turns from the game action and hangs his head in the dying seconds of the Pirates' 2-1 loss to Oregon Episcopal School. The win for OES gave the Aardvarks their third consecutive state title.

Game stories and see additional photos for Riverside and McLoughlin on the East Oregonian's website.

Volleyball championships Sunday, November 11, 2007

West Linn libero Kellie Kawasaki hugs outside hitter Alyssa O'Neil Nov. 10 after the Lions won the 6A state volleyball championship 3-0 over North Medford. Kawasaki was chosen player of the game for West Linn.

The 5A and 6A state volleyball finals were played last night at Liberty High School in Hillsboro (just west of Portland). In the 6A class (for the largest schools in the state), West Linn faced the comeback kids from North Medford. Considering that the teams were ranked fifth and third, respectively, neither was a shoe-in to make the finals, let alone win. North Medford had a particularly tough road, facing off against no.-1 Jesuit in the quarterfinals, and being giving Gresham five match points before finishing off the gophers in the semifinals.

West Linn prevailed in the championship match, 25-19, 25-18, 25-22, and were suitably joyful. This year's title is the fourth for the Lions, who last won in 2003.

West Linn fans and players celebrate on the court Saturday night after the Lions' win.

These girls will be a force next year as well, as only one of their players will graduate in June.

The jubilation at the end of the 6A match was in sharp contrast to the businesslike nature of the 5A match earlier in the evening.

Krissi Kemper, Kaitlyn Duncan and Esemeralda Orozco celebrate as Crook County successfully defends their 5A state volleyball title with a 25-17, 25-10, 25-17 win over Summit Nov. 10 in Hillsboro.

That game pitted Intermountain Conference rivals Summit and Crook County against one another.

Though Summit tried to resist, the game seemed merely a formality for the Cowgirls, who cruised to a 25-17, 25-10, 25-17 win.

According to one reporter, one of the Crook County girls told him something to the effect of 'it's not like the tournaments where we get to play against the bigger schools ... but it is state, so that's cool.'

Though their school's enrollment sits just below the 5A threshold, It isn't surprising that the Cowgirls don't consider the other 5A schools to be much competition: The only game they lost to a 5A school all year came to Ashland in the semifinals. They did lose three matches this year, all to
Jesuit, the top-ranked team in the 6A class.

Crook County walks off the court after successfully defending their 5A volleyball title.

The first Crook County photo (above) was made instants after the last point. This image (left) was made just five seconds later. Compare these to the West Linn photos.

One more action photo:

Crook County senior Jessi Lea watches as her attack goes through the block of Kelsey Zimmerman and Riley Peters.

A few more volleyball photos Saturday, November 10, 2007

Elizabeth Bullock, Erin Kilroy, and Christa Grauert celebrate the final point of game 1 in their quarterfinal match against North Medford.

Here are a few more volleyball photos from yesterday. As noted below, North Medford came back to win the next three games and relegate Jesuit to the "breakfast bracket." Jesuit stomped all over Canby this morning. You can see all of the 6A results here, and the 5A results here.

Everybody watches as Kyle Jolley (no. 5) digs a ball for North Medford against Jesuit.

Wilsonville's Brynn Livesay (left) gets a finger on Amy Hasenoehrl's hit Friday afternoon in the Wildcats' loss to Summit in the 5A quarterfinals. Summit won in three games 25-23, 25-18, 25-21. Later Friday night, the Storm advanced to the state championship with a 22-25, 21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 17-15 win over West Albany.

Wilsonville junior Brynn Livesay looks to block Amy Hasenoehrl's attack in the Wildcats' quarterfinal match against Summit Nov. 9 in Hillsboro.

See also this story in the Ashland Daily Tidings.

Volleyball gets exciting Friday, November 09, 2007

(left) Gresham's Brittani Hathorn dives for a ball Friday night in the Gophers' semifinal match against North Medford at the 6A state championships in Hillsboro. (below) North Medford celebrates as they win game 3. After losing the first two games of the match, the Black Tornado came back to win games three, four and five. The final score was 18-25, 24-26, 25-20, 25-18, 16-14.

Ashland junior Samantha Gilbert attacks in game two of the Grizzlies win over Friday night over Thurston in the 5A quarterfinals. Ashland beat the Colts 27-25, 25-18, 25-11. In the semifinals, played later that night, the Grizzlies lost to top-ranked Crook County in four games, 20-25, 25-11, 25-9, 25-10.

North Medford senior Erica Schultz tries to find a gap in the block of Mary Claire Brenner and Micaela Bisio in the 6A quarterfinals Nov. 9 in Hillsboro. North Medford stunned top-ranked Jesuit, winning 21-25, 25-21, 25-21, 25-19.

Trying out for the team Tuesday, November 06, 2007

(left) Lincoln High School students stretch in the hallway before the opening night of tryouts for the girls' basketball teams. The Cardinals program includes varsity, junior varsity and freshman teams. (below) Team hopefuls chant "we love defense" under the watch of Coach Keya as they do a leg-strengthening exercise. (below left) The coaches compare notes.

Lincoln 3, Redmond 0 Sunday, November 04, 2007

Sophomore Carson Swope breaks between defenders Conner Flanagan (left) and Jeffry Villalobos to score the opening goal for Lincoln in the 67th minute of their 3-0 win over Redmond Nov. 3 in Portland. With the win, the Cardinals advance to the second round of the playoffs where they will meet Tualatin on Nov. 6.

Mostly a bunch of photos today. This was a good game to watch. Redmond and Lincoln were scoreless for the first three quarters of the game before the Cardinals finally got on the board with two goals in just over two minutes. They added a third goal in the 78th minute (of an 80-minute game) to seal the victory.

The light was really nice for the first half of the game. Unfortunately, the big plays came in the second half when the field was mostly shaded. But it was nice to shoot in the daylight for a change, and the weather was really nice for November.

(left) Lincoln midfielder Joe Sleven keeps Steve Bigelow at bay in the first half. Late in the game, Sleven scored Lincoln's third goal on a free kick. (below) Sleven and Bigelow dueled all afternoon in the midfield.

(left) Carsone Swope (no. 8) and Martin Kulander celebrate after Swope scored in the 67th minute to break a 0-0 tie.

(left) Less than three minutes after Swope's goal, Kulander added one of his own. (below) Redmond keeper Andrew Velasquez looks back to see Joe Sleven's free kick go into the net in the dying minutes of the game. Velasquez broke his hand on the last save of the game.

(9)Southridge upsets (2)Jesuit in overtime, 28-27 Saturday, November 03, 2007

Junior running back Kirk Werhane runs into the end zone to score for the Skyhawks in overtime Nov. 2 as ninth-ranked Southridge upset no.-2 Jesuit 28-27 in the final game of the regular season. The Skyhawks won when Jesuit missed a convert attempt in the extra period.

Friday night's Jesuit-Southridge game proved a thrilling finish to the season for the highly competitive Metro League.

Jesuit came into the match 4-0 in league play and had the opportunity to clinch the Metro League title with a win over Southridge. The Skyhawks (3-1), on the other hand, were looking for a share of the title and an improved playoff berth.

Jesuit's Anthony Blake tries to pick his way through a stack of gold helmets in the second quarter.

The early going was all Jesuit, with the Crusaders storming out to a 14-0 lead. Southridge came back with three touchdowns of their own
to take a 21-14 lead late into the fourth quarter.

Jesuit wasn't about to give up, though, and tied the game with just 22 seconds left on the clock.

Everybody! Let's chase Austin Cheek!

In overtime, the teams alternate possessions from the 25-yard line. Southridge got the ball first, and efficiently moved the ball, finishing with a five-yard run by Kirk Werhane.

Jesuit quarterback Scott Williams connected with Raphiel Lambert for a 25-yard touchdown to nearly even the score. But the extra point attempt missed. The Crusaders were stunned, and kicker Brenden McAleese was heartbroken.

The full house of Skyhawks fans, though, poured onto the field to celebrate with the team.

Kirk Werhane falls into the end zone in the to tie the game for Southridge in the third quarter. (below) Skyhawks players and fans celebrate the win on the field.