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Kyleigh Brown leads Silverton past Redmond in Oregon 5A girls basketball semifinal; No. 1 Foxes will face No. 2 Crater for title

Brown, a Portland State signee, has 14 points and 15 rebounds as Silverton cruises to OSAA championship game; Crater fights off South Albany to punch its ticket

McMINNVILLE — As her decorated high school career comes to a close, Kyleigh Brown is right where she wants to be. 

Brown, a star senior point guard for Silverton, guided her team to a fourth-place finish at last year’s 5A state tournament. 

But Brown and the top-seeded Foxes are hunting for bigger game this time, and they’ll have an opportunity to claim the ultimate prize after smashing No. 4 Redmond, 48-29, in a Friday evening semifinal. Silverton advances to face No. 2 Crater in Saturday’s 8:45 p.m. final at Ted Wilson Gymnasium. 

It’s the Foxes’ first title game appearance since 2017.

“A win would mean so much,” said Brown, a Portland State signee and two-time Mid-Willamette Conference player of the year. “I love my teammates so much. It’s the best team I’ve ever been on. The past two years haven’t gone how we wanted, so I think being able to finish it out would be really great.”

Silverton defeated Springfield in the 2016 final under head coach Tal Wold and made it back the following year before losing to La Salle Prep and future Oregon State star Aleah Goodman. 

The entire Foxes roster was in elementary school during the back-to-back title game runs. They now get a chance to secure a fourth girls basketball state championship for the proud program.

“It’s huge for us,” Silverton head coach Alyssa Ogle said. “Our seniors have been (at the state tournament) for three years, and we haven’t quite gotten past that hump. This year it was about getting past that first round, taking it one game at a time. We came into tonight and it was just about taking care of Redmond, that’s all we talked about, and tomorrow … we’ll be prepared and ready.”

Brown scored 11 consecutive points to close the opening quarter as the Foxes (23-4) raced to a 15-2 lead. The Brown scoring run included a tough and-one finish and a 3-pointer that barely moved the net. 

Silverton continued to play sticky half-court defense and entered halftime up 22-8 on the Panthers (22-5), who were making the first semifinal appearance in program history.

“We kind of got overwhelmed early, but that’s the type of team they are,” Redmond head coach Alex Carlson said. “Hats off to them. They’re a great team and they controlled the tempo early, made some big shots early and just maintained.

“They’re long, they’re athletic, and they’re well-coached. They really check every box on that end of things.”

a Silverton Mountain View 5A Oregon girls basketball quarterfinal 2024 Leon Neuschwander 59

The pace sped up after the break, but the smaller Foxes continued to dominate at both ends of the court.

Silverton forced 16 turnovers and held Redmond to 10-of-48 shooting (20.8 percent).

“That set the tone for us,” Ogle said of her team’s defense. “They’re bigger than us, but we said it doesn’t matter how big you are, it’s about how strong you play. We did a good job of flying around, staying vertical, boarding the ball and pushing it down in transition. We always say stops equal buckets.” 

Brown had an off shooting night but still led the way with 14 points, 15 rebounds, five assists and three steals.

“It’s about just doing whatever it takes to win,” Brown said. “Tonight, the shots didn’t fall, so it was about finding my teammates … making the right plays and getting the win.”

Grace Hayashida added 13 points, five rebounds and two assists for the Foxes, and Olivia Boyd had 11 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.

Junior guard Azlynn Ure paced the Panthers with 11 points and five rebounds.

“We’ve had a bad shooting week,” Carlson said. “Coming into this week, our big thing was if we shoot, we could beat anyone. And we just haven’t yet. So, it’s a little disappointing that way, but more credit goes to them than anything. They’re a great team, and I’m excited to see them play tomorrow night.”

The Foxes’ title game opponent will be Crater, which scratched out a 54-47 victory over No. 6 South Albany in Friday’s other semifinal.

Sage Winslow led the Comets (26-1) with 23 points, four rebounds and four steals before fouling out in the fourth quarter. Abigail Winslow added 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals for a Crater team that forced South Albany to committing 27 turnovers with its tenacious full-court pressure. 

Head coach Scott Dippel felt the Comets played much better after halftime. The teams battled to a 23-23 draw through 16 minutes.

“They were so much more engaged as a team,” he said. “Everybody knew exactly what we were running, and we were able to execute things down the stretch.”

Taylor Donaldson carried the RedHawks (21-7), a first-time semifinalist, with 23 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Teammate Kaylee Cordle had 12 points, three rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

Crater, a three-time runner-up, has never won a state title. Dippel was an assistant for the 2001 team that placed second.

“It’s very special to have the opportunity to play in that game,” Dippel said. “I would love to go out and win it. We’ve had a fantastic season, and I think there would be nothing better than to cap it with a win.”

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Photo by Leon Neuschwander