Saturday, March 23, 2013

West Linn Wins Oregon Basketball Title

On March 9, West Linn won the Oregon 6A state basketball championship, breaking Jesuit's four year title reign. In the quarterfinals the Lions had a tough, and even questionable win over the Grant Commodores. After a back and forth game, it was evident that the game would be decided in the final minutes. After two made free throws from Diondre Bird, put Grant in the lead by one. On the ensuing drive by West Linn, Jared Howard missed a layup, then rebounded by the generals. After drawing up a inbounds play, Grant throws it away. What ensued was a mad scramble for the ball, with multiple players tied up on the ball, West Linn is awarded with the timeout. This was the first questionable call, that completely altered the course of the game. The Lions last possession ended up with another missed layup, however the Commodores do not secure the defensive rebound. Again there is a loose ball, with players diving left and right. What is different this time is that Grant is called for a holding call, when it appeared that neither team had possession. With only 4.7 seconds left on the clock, Jarrod Howard sinks two free throws to win 51-50. Should that foul have been called down the stretch, with the game so close? Probably not, but what could have helped was having a third referee present.
Advancing to the semifinals, West Linn was slated to play undefeated conference foe Lake Oswego. In their two conference match-ups, the Lakers won in convincing fashion. West Linn went into the game with the strategy of slowing down the pace of the game. After a defensive slugfest all game, the Lions were in a tight game down by one with 35 seconds left on the clock. Freshman point guard Payton Pritchard finds post Ryan Shermire on the block, he power dribbles to the middle and completes a right hook shot to put his team in the lead. The Lakers inbound the ball to their star leader Calvin Hermanson, who quickly pulls up from deep beyond the arc, but comes up short of the make. After the miss there is a jump ball called, and possession goes to the favorited Lake Oswego. With one last chance to save their season, the Lakers inbound pass is intercepted by Pritchard, and as time expires West Linn celebrates the upset.
After two gruelling and tight games, they were well prepared for the Final against Central Catholic. Despite an early run from the Rams, West Linn came roaring back, hitting four consecutive threes in the second half, to steal the momentum. West Linn never looked back as Ryan Shermire sealed the win from the free throw line, as West Linn won their second boys basketball title in school history 45-41.

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