Let the drama begin. In the 3A ranks, there was one nightmare scenario that could lead to controversy: ambiguity in the Lewis and Clark League. The elite-8 format was always going to leave somebody on the short end of the stick, but with Westside’s win today, that team might be a little higher up the pecking order than previously thought.
First some takeaways, then the statewide implications.
First, for Westside:
- Welcome to the big-boy table. For the first time in a long time, the Lewis and Clark league has a new face. We said it in the preseason, earlier this season, and we’ll say it again now: Westside is a real team. They have the talent, they have the coaching, and now they have a win to back it up. It’s been a long time coming.
- Jaymeson Ye can flat out shoot, and he will stretch any defense he goes against. If left open, he will drop fifteen on you just from spot-up threes. He’s a heckuva talent, and the fact is only a junior just adds to it.
- This team would be scary if they had Logan Thom. Earlier in the season, they hadn’t quite gelled, hadn’t quite figured out how to play with each other, and the rust was apparent. Even without him, they are in the playoff hunt.
- David Henry for Lewis and Clark League coach of the year. No discussion needed: make it unanimous.
There is a lot more to say about De La Salle:
- We wanted to withhold judgment until we saw them in person and on NFHS enough times, but the verdict is clear at this point: this team would need significant help to win a title and are on the edge of being considered a contender at all.
- They have talent, and James Broadus is one of the better coaches in 3A, but it’s just not there. Throughout this game, and in the others we’ve either been to in person or seen on film, we kept waiting for that burst. We kept waiting for a flash of the De La Salle of old, for signs that the dynasty could still be alive. After today, it’s safe to say the era of dominant De La Salle basketball is on pause. Every contender, no matter which league, classification, or year, shows flashes of brilliance. They all show signs of being special. This iteration of De La Salle isn’t pedestrian, but it is far from the top.
- There’s an uncomfortability and uncertainty that prevails when the ball is out of Ubedei McGatha’s hands. There’s a slowness and mechanical attribute to them offensively that hasn’t existed in the past. Despite having more of a post presence than they’ve had in years, the Knights consistently get beat on the offensive boards and at times have a seriously hard time controlling the defensive paint.
- There are some real players here, there’s real talent, and De La Salle will be back in the forefront before too long, but that time is not now. This moment isn’t made for ‘Knight Time’.
Here are the fun, or aggravating, depending on your perspective, consequences of today’s result.
Seven teams have wrapped up elite-8 spots: Cascade Christian and Santiam Christian are league auto-bid locks at this point, Willamina and Vale are virtually guaranteed to get their league’s bid (the math doesn’t change if they don’t), the PacWest #1 and #2 are in, whoever they may be, and the Lewis and Clark League #1, presumably now Westside, is in.
That leaves one spot for two teams: The Lewis and Clark #2, and the PacWest #3. To put a face to it: De La Salle and either Amity, Dayton, or Yamhill-Carlton. In the eyes of the 4A classification, De La Salle should get the nod no matter what because they’re a league #2, but 3A justifiably went in another direction with their selection process specifically because of the PacWest’s depth. Sutherlin AD Josh Grotting said as much in a piece on OSAAToday earlier this week:
The last at-large spot fight between De La Salle and the PacWest is all that matters for 3A boys this week. Seeding projections can change, rankings can fluctuate, but only one thing is still to be determined in these last five days: who gets that last spot? With a Westside loss today, that conversation essentially would be finished; now, it’s less of a certainty, and where there’s a lack of certainty, there’s bound to be controversy.
Photo’s taken by Mid-Major Media contributor and owner of LHanndowns Photography, Logan Hannigan-Downs. Full Album: https://www.westside-christian-v.lhanndowns.com/set/bc4efa67-d613-4f79-be35-0f08d6a09c04