west linn boys basketball

Montverde earns its stripes

The nation's top team handles West Linn, 70-58, in LSI title game
Dec. 30, 2014 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

HILLSBORO - The team everyone wanted to see showed itself off Tuesday night and claimed the Les Schwab Invitational boys basketball title with a 70-58 win over scrappy West Linn.

Montverde Academy, which is ranked No. 1 nationally, and has been named the national champion the past two seasons, got 29 points and 11 rebounds from senior Ben Simmons, and cruised to the victory before a packed gym at Liberty High School.

West Linn, Oregon's two-time defending state champion, got 24 points from junior Payton Pritchard and another 18 from senior Anthony Mathis, but couldn't over come a slow start that had the visitors from Florida open up a 13-point lead midway through the first quarter. The Lions got within eight points several times, but couldn't pull closer.

Montverde remained unbeaten, while West Linn dropped to 5-4 with all of its losses coming to out-of-state teams. The Lions close out their non-league schedule with a home game against Sheldon Saturday, which starts a five-game stretch of home games.

"We got a lot out of this tournament, a lot of confidence,"

"The whole tournament we made some big strides," West Linn coach Eric Viuhkola said. "The final wasn't how we want to play, wasn't West Linn basketball, but the effort and toughness was there. We got a lot of confidence here, and know we can play with anyone in the state. We're in the mix."

West Linn's resume of wins included a semifinal victory over Wheeler High, which entered as the No. 2 ranked team nationally. The Lions also beat Jefferson, the defending Class 5A champion, which now plays at 6A.

Simmons, a 6-foo-8 point guard, showed off the skill that have him on the way to Louisiana State as the nation's top prospect - and widely seen as an NBA draft pick in 2016. He hit 10-of-15 shots, most off dunks, or from under the basket, and had all four of the Eagles' blocks. Along with Simmons, Montverde featured two other front-line players 6-9 or taller.

Despite being overmatched on paper with just one player taller than 6-6, West Linn battled for rebounds and gave up just six total points to 7-foot senior Doral Moore and 6-9 freshman E.J. Montgomery. The Lions also forced Simmons into five turnovers.

The Eagles' size though, showed off when the Lions had the ball and were forced or content to take 3-point shots - 37 of their 57 field-goal attempts were 3-pointers. Pritchard attempted 15, but made six to help keep the team in the game.

Pritchard was named to the all-tournament team, along with Simmons, who was named MVP after averaging 28.3 points in four games.






West Linn wins another nail-biter, takes state

A third narrow victory earns the Lions a 45-41 win over Central Catholic
March 9, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

Another game, another chance to dive on the floor for West Linn Saturday night.

And, it worked again. Sparked by determined effort, the Lions beat Central Catholic 45-41 to win its second state title Saturday at the Rose Garden.

Anthony Mathis and Ryan Shearmire both scored 15 points to lead West Linn, which knocked off tournament favorite Lake Oswego with a one-point win. The Lions beat Grant by one point in the closing seconds

Austin Dyer led the Rams with 19 points.



The Democrats rallied from an eight-point first half deficit to win their first state title since 2010 at Matthew Knight Arena Saturday.

Victor Sanders led all scorers with 22 points and Jefferson his 23 of its 27 free throw attempts to tame the Lancers, who got 13 points each from Keidren Johnson and Andrew Smith.


Savage night for boys favorites

Both Jesuit and Lake Oswego go down to upsets in 6A tourney
March 8, 2013 / By Cliff Pfenning, Oregonsports Journal

No one saw this final coming.

A last-second turnover and outstanding defensive effort Friday propelled West Linn and Central Catholic past the overwhelming Class 6A boys basketball favorites and into the championship game at the Rose Garden.

West Linn scored with 21 seconds to take a 37-36 lead then held off the Lakers in the final seconds to reach the finals for the third time in school history.

Central Catholic hit an amazing 16 of 18 free throws and got a combined 25 points from Mitchell Franz and Deante Strickland on the way to a 45-37 upset of four-time defending champion Jesuit in the final game of the day. The Rams hit just 31 percent of their shots from the field, but held the Crusaders to just 29.5 percent and will play for its second title as well.

Central Catholic won its only title in 1994.

Anthony Mathis had 10 points to lead West Linn, which also got eight points and eight rebounds from Ryan Shearmire, who hit the go-ahead basket on a short jumper. Mathis and Shearmire, along with Jarrod Howard and Hayden Coppedge played all 32 minutes for the Lions.

West Linn won its only title in 1997.

Lake Oswego got a 20-point performamance from likely Player of the Year Calvin Hermanson, who was the tournament MVP last year when the Lakers lost in the final.

Jesuit got an 18-point performance from Khyan Rayner, but the Crusuders made just one of 14 three-point attempts in the game.

West Linn and Central Catholic met twice this season - both times in December - with each team winning once.


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