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After placing third in the state with 4 freshman starters, the sky's the limit for Clackamas girls basketball in the years ahead

“If you watch a game from early in the season to where we are now, it’s like we’re two totally different teams.”
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By Dave Ball | Photo by Dan Brood 

The future looks bright for the Clackamas girls basketball program that is coming off a third-place finish at this year’s 6A tournament behind a varsity lineup that included seven freshmen. 

Among those young stars is Jazzy Davidson, who recently was named the Gatorade Oregon Player of the Year. She averaged 22.2 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.1 steals per game during her first high school season and is being heavily recruited by top Division I programs. Davidson was the youngest player to make the 6A all-tournament team after leading the weekend in blocked shots with eight.

The Cavaliers never missed a step on the big stage of the Chiles Center, leading start-to-finish in a quarterfinal win over Lakeridge while putting four freshmen on the floor to start the game.

“It’s been a great experience, especially having seven freshmen and rising to the occasion,” said junior starter Eliza Buerk. “If you watch a game from early in the season to where we are now, it’s like we’re two totally different teams.”

The start to the season was quite impressive on its own — nine wins out of the gate, including three over teams that would end up in the tournament.

The Cavaliers suffered back-to-back losses on each side of the new year — one to Beaverton and one to Barlow, the two teams that played for the 6A title.

Clackamas regained its stride, going more than two months before its next loss — again to Beaverton in the state semifinals. The Cavaliers finished the season with a 27-3 record and ranked third in the state in scoring at 59.9 points per game. Clackamas surpassed 80 points six times. 

“Early in the season you could see kids getting down on themselves after a mistake, but they’ve learned to get on to the next play. We don’t want to turn one mistake in to two or three,” Clackamas coach Korey Landolt said. 

The Cavaliers also feature junior Rhyan Mogel, who recovered from knee surgery in time to get some action on the court during the playoffs. She is expected to play a full club schedule before returning for her senior year. Clackamas also returns Ella Shackleton, a sharp-shooting sophomore guard.

Most members of the squad have a long background together with ties to the Northwest Select Club, which has led to a tight chemistry with this group.

“The girls were able to be vulnerable and lean on each other. They spent lunch time together — they were just being good teammates,” Landolt said. 

With plenty of talent at hand, Landolt’s focus is on fine-tuning her squad.

“We will be working on communication and switching up defenses, and also executing really specific things on the court — feeding a hot player, those kind of things,” Landolt said.

For some teams, achieving a winning record is the goal. For others, reaching the tournament is the bar for success. This group has a number of benchmarks, but the main goal is to be the last team standing.

“We had some pretty big goals this season and fell a little short of where everyone wanted to end up,” Landolt said.