Hoops notes: Prairie boys thrive under pressure

More notes on Prairie girls, Quinn Driscoll Foundation, Battle Ground boys and others

The Prairie Falcons were in a bit of trouble Friday night in their boys basketball game at Mountain View.

The Thunder not only were hanging tough with the first-place team in the 3A Greater St. Helens League, they were leading for much of the second half.

The Falcons, though, played the fourth quarter like they played the first quarter: With precision.

Prairie, which scored 25 points in the first quarter, ended up winning the fourth quarter 21-7 to escape with a 73-62 victory. The Falcons scored the final 13 points of the game to remain unbeaten in league play in winning their eighth consecutive game overall.

Kameron Osborn led the way with 22 points. Dante Heitschmidt (15), Braiden Broadbent (13) and Matthew Kogler (12) got to double figures, as well.

Prairie’s Kameron Osborn gets around Mountain View’s Rodolfo Montiel in a game last week. Osborn scored 22 points as Prairie rallied in the fourth quarter to escape with a win. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie’s Kameron Osborn gets around Mountain View’s Rodolfo Montiel in a game last week. Osborn scored 22 points as Prairie rallied in the fourth quarter to escape with a win. Photo by Mike Schultz

Prairie is 4-0 in league play, all with double-digit margins of victories. But at least a couple were close.

“Fort Vancouver and Mountain View played us really tough,” Prairie coach Kyle Brooks said. “The adversity is good for us.”

Prairie expects to be a major player in the postseason so any close game now is going to aid the team later.

As for the present, the Falcons are preparing for Kelso. The Hilanders are also undefeated in league play. Prairie travels to Kelso for a Tuesday night showdown.

“Kelso, they’re playing good,” Brooks said. “They have four starters together since freshman year. That’s going to be a difficult game.”

Whether playing for first place or playing against teams with losing records, the Falcons have to be prepared every night, the coach said. Against Mountain View, the Falcons jumped out to a big lead in the second quarter only to have Mountain View battle back just before halftime and then take the lead in the third quarter.

“Everybody’s going to give us their best game,” Brooks said.


Prairie girls still getting the job done:

As noted several times throughout the years, there is no one in the 3A Greater St. Helens League ready to challenge the Prairie girls basketball team.

Instead, the Falcons just keep working on themselves, trying to improve, to give themselves a better shot once the playoffs begin.

So far, so good they say.

“We’re proving a lot of people wrong this season,” junior Brooke Walling said. “People thought we’d be worse this season than we were last year. We’re a little bit better.”

Prairie co-captain Mallory Williams said the team’s chemistry is even better this season, calling the Falcons a family. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie co-captain Mallory Williams said the team’s chemistry is even better this season, calling the Falcons a family. Photo by Mike Schultz

To put that in perspective, no one thought Prairie would struggle, especially in league play. However, there could be concerns for any team with no seniors. That’s right, this Prairie team, one of the best in the state, has no seniors.

“The team is a lot closer as a whole, too,” said junior Mallory Williams. “We are a family.”

Prairie co-captain Brooke Walling said this year’s Falcons are proving people wrong, by being better than last season despite having no seniors on the squad. Photo by Mike Schultz
Prairie co-captain Brooke Walling said this year’s Falcons are proving people wrong, by being better than last season despite having no seniors on the squad. Photo by Mike Schultz

Walling and Williams are the captains. They are united in many ways, including the answer to the following question: What has been your favorite game this season?

“W.F. West,” they both said at the same time, referring to Prairie’s non-league victory earlier this month over one of the best programs in Class 2A.

“We lost to them last year. We think they thought they were going to beat us again,” Williams said.

“It was definitely a revenge game for us,” Walling added.

The Falcons did lost two games this season in a tournament in California. The players found out a few things about themselves down there.

“We learned we can really play that bad,” Walling said.

Yes, bad. They realize now that if they do not play well against quality teams, they will lose.

“We know what that low feels like right now,” Williams said. “We know we don’t want that feeling again.”


Mountain View fundraiser for Quinn Driscoll Foundation:

Mountain View’s boys and girls home games Friday against Prairie also featured a fundraiser for the Quinn Driscoll Foundation.

The foundation works with local communities to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest in young people, according to its website. The charity provides, among many things, free heart screening exams, education, and AED grants for schools.

Quinn was a student at Wy’East Middle School when he died in 2009.

The foundation has provided automated external defibrillators to area schools. Those AEDs have helped save lives.

Prevention is key, too, which is why the foundation holds free heart screening for teens. The next one is Feb. 24 at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center. To register online, go to www.peacehealth.org/southwest/heart and click on Teen Screening.

Friday’s event raised more than $4,300 for the foundation.

For more information, go to: www.quinndriscollfoundation.org

 


Battle Ground’s big win:

There is a new player in the mighty Class 4A Greater St. Helens League boys league.

Skyview, Union and Camas has received most of the attention this season. For good reason, too. All three are ranked in the top 10 in Class 4A RPI.

The Battle Ground Tigers, though, spoiled the three-team party last week with a big victory at Camas. It came just days after Battle Ground played tough against undefeated Skyview.

Battle Ground coach Manny Melo said the five-point loss to Skyview was a turning point. If the Tigers were that close against Skyview, anything could happen.

“It just proved to these guys they could play with anyone,” Melo said. “After that game, they said, ‘We can do this.’ They built confidence off of that and kind of put it all together.”

The coach always believed.

“I always thought we were pretty good,” he said. “But our team is hit or miss. We’ve lost a few games we should have won. Then we won a game no one thinks we were going to win.”

Kaden Perry led the way in the win over Camas, scoring 21 points. Vincent McCormick and Brenden Beall each had 13 points. The coach noted the strong defense by Elijah Parker.

“We had a lot of people step up,” Melo said.

For Melo, it was the biggest win for his program. He took over the head coaching job this offseason, a return to the place he shined. Melo is a 2007 graduate of Battle Ground.

“It’s weird being in the same locker I grew up in, the same gym,” he said. “I absolutely love it. I feel like I fit right in with the culture and environment.”


RPI report:

As of Monday, here are the top teams from the county in terms of RPI rankings via the WIAA.

4A boys: Skyview is No. 2 in the state followed by Union at No. 5, and Camas is No. 8.

3A boys: Prairie is No. 11. Kelso is No. 10. Those two teams play Tuesday night.

2A boys: Columbia River, winners of nine in a row, are at No. 3.

1A boys: La Center is No. 16.

4A girls: Camas is No. 13.

3A girls: Prairie is No. 13.

2A girls: Woodland is No. 16 and Washougal is No. 17. Those two teams play each other Tuesday. Mark Morris, by the way, is No. 14.

1A girls: La Center is No. 4.

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About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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