Rapid Reaction: Sweet Home and Woodburn…a rivalry in the making?

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Well, Marist v Cascade had the title for about 3 days.

Sweet Home v Woodburn was the best game we’ve been to this year, 3A or 4A. If there’s a new best every week or two, we’ll gladly take it. Takeaways from Sweet Home v Woodburn:

  • Good god can both of those teams push the pace. Normally in basketball you have one team that wants to play faster than the other, creating a clash of speed and style that can result in a quarter by quarter, minute by minute tug of war over the pace of play. There was no such conflict here. The only conflict was which team could run faster, force more turnovers, shoot sooner in the possession, pass quicker, and play their style of basketball to a more extreme extent than the other.
  • We didn’t keep track of made and missed shots, but it would seemingly be a stretch to say either team shot over 35% from the field. If either team shot anywhere near 40%, it would’ve been over quickly.
  • Woodburn travels. Not often do you see a visiting section of students outnumber the home section, or the visiting crowd be just as loud if not louder than the home team. Other than the 1 ½ hour drive from Woodburn to Sweet Home existing, this game might as well have been in Forest Grove as far as home court advantage was concerned. It took about 3 ¼ quarters for the Sweet Home faithful to get into it, but eventually they did. And the place got loud. Really, really loud. Atmosphere grade: A, almost A+.
  • Welcome to the big time, Tomas Veliz. RJ Veliz’s little brother, and coach Raul Veliz’s son, he plays bigger than his frame and his age. Just a sophomore, this kid pops at times. People that can stop you mid game and make you say ‘damn’, are poised to do great things in the future, especially at his age. Multiple times tonight were there ‘damn’ moments. Watch out for this kid. 
  • A few other players that jumped out at us, mostly for Sweet Home: Hunter Coulter (SH), Aiden Tyler (SH), Zach Luttmer (SH), Casey Tow (SH), Reese Miller (Woodburn). We don’t pick stat guys, for this. In the flow of the game, these are the guys that really caught our eye. With the personnel that Sweet Home has, that press should get them to Forest Grove on it’s own.
  • Seeing a team on film and seeing a team in person are two very different things. Seeing Woodburn in person now, it is a little more clear why the final margins of some of their games are off what would be expected: they play fast, and haven’t quite tamed the beast that that entails. A team like De La Salle at the 3A ranks had it down perfectly the last 3-4ish years, the ability to push, press, and play aggressively without being turnover prone and easily getting into foul trouble (Controlled Chaos). Woodburn is just a little too turnover prone, a little too foul prone (Sweet Home was in the bonus nearly the entire second quarter, was in the double bonus the entire 4th), and just a little too chaotic. Are they a really good team? Yes. Are they positioned to make a run at the OWC title? Yes. Do they currently look like a championship winning team? No, not quite. Can you see the potential for that to happen? Absolutely. 
  • This game was fun to watch. Cascade Marist was very well played, and was a good basketball game, but this was pure entertainment.

Been rambling, let’s wrap it up. 

This game had everything. A big lead, a big comeback, two fan bases jeering at each other from across the walkway in the bleachers, good student sections, a great finish, there was even a pep band. Both of these teams have real arguments to be made for being in the top 5, or even 3 at this point (our top 10 Sunday is going to be funky, heads up). The OWC is the best, most contested league in the state by far, and these two are perfect examples of why. 

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