MaxWire National Blog

Covering High School Sports in America

Tag: Willamette High School

  • It was totally by the rules. Nothing says you can't do it. And Willamette (Eugene, Ore.) girls basketball coach Paul Brothers, a former Oregon State quarterback, said it was the best plan of attack to help his girls win.

    But they didn't.

    And there's no one who particularly liked watching it.

    Even Springfield, which posted a 16-7 5A title-game victory Saturday in the lowest scoring championship game in the history of Oregon high school basketball.

    Oregon is like a majority of states in the nation that doesn't utilize a shot clock. This game might just get one implemented nation wide.

    Brothers told reporters he slowed the game to a slow snail's pace to combat Springfield's massive talent Mercedes Russell, a 6-foot-6 junior post who might just be the best 11th grader in the country.

    "We've tried going toe-to-toe with them and that doesn't work," Brothers told Oregonlive.com. "Russell is just far superior to probably just about anybody around, so we felt like we had to limit her touches."

    So, after Russell made a short jumper to finish off the first quarter to take a 4-0 lead, Willamette held the ball for 7 minutes, 54 seconds of the second quarter before committing a turnover.

    Halftime score: Springfield 4, Willamette 0.

    End of three: Springfield 7, Willamette 1.

    According to Oregonelive, Willamette tried 14 shots in the game and made two, the first coming with 5:38 to play on a 3-pointer by Brittany Glassow.

    Russell led all scorers with seven points and her team made 3 of 9 from the field and was 9-for-16 at the line.

    "I don't like to play that kind of game, but I like to give our kids the best chance to win," Brothers said.

    Said Springfield coach Bill Wagner, whose team won its second straight title: "We don't care how we did it, we just won it. They did what they felt they needed to do and our kids had great composure with that."