Rematch: Springfield and Willamette advance to 5A final
EUGENE, Ore. (AP) - Mercedes Russell recorded a triple-double with 32 points, 14 rebounds and 12 blocks to lead two-time defending champion Springfield to its third-straight Class 5A girls basketball title game with a 61-40 semifinal win against Hermiston on Friday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Russell, a 6-foot-6 senior post headed to the University of Tennessee, tied the OSAA tournament record for blocks in a game. She has 18 blocks in two games so far at the tournament, also a record.
Springfield (24-3) will face Willamette in the championship on Saturday night. The Wolverines (22-4) defeated Corvallis 69-44 in the late semifinal Friday, paced by Lexi Bando with 24 points.
The Millers defeated Willamette for the state title last season.
Russell scored nine points early in the first quarter as Springfield took a 16-0 lead in the opening 5:15. But Hermiston (17-9) didn't back down, outscoring the Millers 15-14 in the second quarter to trail 32-19 at halftime, and twice they trimmed their deficit to 10 points early in the third quarter.
Then Russell took over again. With the Millers leading 34-23, Russell scored eight of their next 12 points to extend the lead to 46-30 by the end of the third quarter and Springfield cruised from there.
Corvallis (18-8), which upset previously unbeaten West Albany in the quarterfinals on Friday, suffered a devastating loss in the opening minutes of the late semifinal when junior post Leslie Robinson had to leave the game for good after injuring her right shoulder in a collision with Bando.
Robinson came into the tournament averaging approximately 18 points and 12 rebounds.
McKenna McGowan scored 16 and Brooklyn Coe added 14 points to lead Corvallis.
The Wolverine's got 10 points from Bando in a game-opening 14-0 run and they eventually led 17-9 at the start of the second and then 33-17 at halftime.
Willamette shot 54 percent from the field and made seven 3-pointers. Bando was 9 for 11 shooting. Samantha Osborne also had eight points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Wolverines.