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Oregon dominates Kent Classic again | High-school volleyball
September 23, 2012Crook County High School
Seattle Times staff reporter
COVINGTON — Some of the best volleyball teams in Washington converged for the Kent Classic Volleyball Tournament Saturday.
But, once again, they played second-fiddle to a couple of Oregon's finest.
For the second year in a row, Central Catholic of Portland beat Crook County of Prineville in the championship match, 2-0. Set scores were 25-23, 25-16.
Central Catholic is the three-time defending 6A state champion. Crook County is pursing a seventh straight state crown. The Cowgirls have won the past two at 4A and before that were four-time 5A champs.
Curtis of University Place nearly crashed the party at Kentwood. The Vikings, ranked No. 6 in Class 4A, led Crook County 13-8 in the third set of the semifinals, then wound up losing 15-13.
"I thought we had it," coach Jeff Grosshans said. "But they have to learn to win when they're ahead and how to win when they're behind."
Crook County rode the big arm of 6-foot Makayla Lindburg down the stretch.
"She tore us apart," Grosshans said of the University of Portland recruit.
Central Catholic was clearly the best team in the 35-team tournament, featuring 6-foot-3 Raina Hembry, who has committed to Tennessee. The Rams were even without another of their 6-3 stars, Kailee Johnson, who was on a basketball recruiting trip at USC.
On paper, the top Washington team in the tourney was second-ranked Mead, and the Panthers looked the part. They tore through No. 5 Newport of Bellevue and No. 8 Kentwood in the second round of pool play, then rallied to beat another quality Oregon team, Clackamas, in three sets to advance to the semifinals.
But the Panthers struggled against Central Catholic. They dropped the first set, 25-16, then held their own for most of the second and actually led 19-18 before the Rams pulled away, 25-21.
"They're a really solid team, and we just broke down in ball control," coach Judy Kight said. "But it's early yet, so I'm proud of us."
Grosshans was also pleased overall, especially considering his team was without 6-foot junior Janell Sparks, who was at a family reunion.
"I'm very happy," he said. "It's great preparation for us for the next two weeks."
The Vikings have some key South Puget Sound League matches coming up, and one of their goals is to win the South Division title.
Curtis advanced to the Gold Bracket over third-ranked Bellarmine Prep of Tacoma. The two teams split sets in the second round of pool play, but the Vikings scored more points. They won their set 25-18, while Bellarmine won 25-20.
It wound up being a tough afternoon for the Lions. They fell into the Silver Bracket and lost to Camas in the semis. Newport, which was short-handed with only eight players for much of the day, beat No. 9 Skyview of Vancouver in the other Silver semifinal, but then lost to Camas, 2-1, to finish seventh.
Skyline topped Emerald Ridge of Puyallup in the Bronze Division final to take 11th.
Mount Si, which came into the tournament ranked No. 1 in Class 3A, finished second in its opening pool and failed to make the top 15. The Wildcats were without their starting setter, who was on a softball recruiting trip. Eastside Catholic of Sammamish, ranked No. 5 in 3A, also finished in the bottom half of the tourney.