PORTLAND -- For two-time reigning champion Southridge, reaching the state final isn’t a goal, it’s the expectation.
Still, knocking off a familiar foe along the way makes another trip to the championship game even sweeter.
For the third time this season and the seventh time in a row, the No. 1 seed Skyhawks got the best of Metro League rival Beaverton 46-30 in the semifinals of the OSAA / OnPoint Community Credit Union 6A girls basketball tournament Friday at the Chiles Center.
“I thought it was a good team win. We came out to play from the get-go for once,” Southridge junior McKelle Meek said. “I thought we did a really good job of pressuring them. We knew it was going to be a really good game because Beaverton is a good team.”
After converting just one of her first eight field goals, Southridge junior Cameron Brink heated up to finish with a game-high 20 points and 16 rebounds.
Just like the previous two matchups, the game started off chippy and low-scoring. Southridge led 21-7 after a first half in which the Beavers shot 3 for 23 and the Skyhawks shot 6 for 20.
“I know we were nervous,” Beaverton guard Mary Kay Naro said. “They’re a really good team to come out, and we just didn’t come out sharp like we should have, so it really killed us with that bad first half.
“We did a little bit of new things, but it was kind of just more focus on us, and we didn’t take care of little things, and that’s why it went that way. They’re a very good team. If we just stuck with them in the first half, it would have been a lot better game.”
The Beavers came out with more of a sense of urgency to start the second half, doubling their first-half output in the third quarter alone. But despite having momentum, the Beavers still found themselves down 35-21 heading into the fourth quarter. From there the Skyhawks were able to put the Beavers away.
As hard as they tried, Beaverton just couldn’t establish anything inside the paint. The Skyhawks finished with six blocks, and five of them came from the 6-5 Brink. During one sequence in the second-quarter, Brink blocked three consecutive shots.
And after going 0 for 8 from the field against South Medford on Thursday, Meek finished with 17 points on Friday night.
“It was never a doubt. She’s such a good gamer,” Southridge coach Michael Bergmann said about his point guards performance. “She’s a good shooter, so she’s not going to shy away from shooting. That’s what I was expecting from her today.”
A concerning development for the Skyhawks came near the end of the third quarter. After driving to the basket, guard Maya Hoff took a hard fall and had to leave the game. Bergmann is unsure about the extent of the injury, but after the game said that she went to get her chin stitched up.
Naro led the Beavers with 11 points with a majority of the damage coming in the third quarter.
The Skyhawks are now back to where they want to be, the state championship game. The only team left in their way is the Benson Techsters, a team they beat 46-27 in last year's final. Southridge also defeated the Techsters 55-50 in the POA Holiday Classic in December.
“We’re just going to have to prepare ourselves and be ready for another team,” Meek said. “They are a really good team obviously, and they made it this far so we’re just going to have to be prepared for a physical game.”
Kyle Pinnell is a junior at Southridge