PORTLAND—Nobody said becoming a dynasty was going to be easy and the South Medford girls ran into a team that already is a dynasty in Thursday’s quarterfinal round of the state tournament.
Two-time defending champion Southridge never trailed en route to a 19-point win, ending the Panthers chances at a state title.
"I don't even know what a perfect game looks like, but we knew we were going to have to be better than we've been all year, and unfortunately we were not better than we've been all year,” head coach Tom Cole said. “I think some of that has to do with the fact that Southridge is very good."
The No. 7 team in the nation is now two wins away from a three-peat, thanks in large part to the efforts of junior Cameron Brink.
Ranked the No. 2 prospect in the country, and committed to Stanford University, the 6-foot-5 Brink played even bigger today.
She was a matchup nightmare for South Medford, finishing with 20 points and 15 rebounds.
"She's a tough player and I've seen a lot of tough kids in this state over the past 12 years. She's as good as it gets," Cole said.
Brink’s presence is felt in so many ways.
South struggled with her length, shooting just 12 percent in the first half and held to a season-low 29 points.
"I definitely think there was some hesitancy, some unsuredness around their confidence and certainly Brink makes a big deal,” Cole said. “We've been known to get to the bucket more often and it was clear today that that was not something those kids felt good about."
It’s clear Southridge is where South Medford wants to be.
It’s a disappointing outcome for the Panthers, but Cole hopes it’ll be a learning experience.
"For all of them but two, this is the first time they've been on this stage,” he said. “Even though we've been here a lot, because of how young we are, they didn't have that opportunity last year. I think that they'll get something from it after this weekend's over and I hope we can continue to carry on our tradition and be back here for years to come."