West Linn boys beat Beaverton, falls to Crespi
The West Linn boys basketball team didn't get everything it wanted at last week's Les Schwab Invitational.
But the Lions came pretty close.
West Linn went 2-2 in the elite 16-team tournament — held at Liberty High School from Dec. 27 through Saturday — beating two solid Oregon teams while losing competitive contests against two of the LSI's three out-of-state powers.
This tournament "will make everyone better," said West Linn senior wing Jalen Thompson. "These are our biggest games of the year until the playoffs."
"Going to Kentucky last week and playing amazing teams here is going to set us up perfectly for (the playoffs at the end of the year)," added senior post Keishon Dawkins.
The Lions opened with a 77-52 win over Oregon City on Dec. 27, fell to eventual tournament runner-up Mater Dei 71-59 on Dec. 28, beat Beaverton 79-63 on Friday, then fell to Crespi 85-65 in Saturday's fifth-place game. For more on the Lions' games against Oregon City and Mater Dei, see the accompanying stories.
West Linn 79, Beaverton 63: Still stinging from their loss to Mater Dei a day earlier, the Lions came out determined to win on Friday — and win they did.
West Linn got seven first-quarter points from Thompson and another four from Drayton Caoile to push ahead 19-10 late in the first quarter, then kept the hammer down in the second.
There, the Lions outscored the Beavers 20-10 in the first 5 minutes, 19 seconds of the quarter and boosted their lead to 39-20 on a Max Michelon layup assisted by Thompson.
Beaverton closed within 12 points twice in the third quarter — the last time at 54-42 on a Jake Estep jumpshot — then cut the West Linn lead to 54-44 on a John Oleson layin 17 seconds into the fourth period.
But the Lions made sure Beaverton got no closer, with Michelon scoring seven points in the final period and Micah Garrett adding another five.
For the game, West Linn put five players into double figures, with Garrett and Thompson finishing with 15 each, followed by Michelon with 13, Dawkins with 12 (and eight rebounds) and Caoile 11 (with six assists).
For Beaverton, Estep led all scorers with 29 points, but no other Beaver had more than Isaac Rosenthal's seven.
Crespi 85, West Linn 65: Playing their fourth game in four days — and their second against a Southern California power — the Lions again held their own against a tough opponent.
West Linn trailed 18-11 at the end of the first quarter, closed within 27-24 on a Bryson Crockett three-pointer with 3:03 left in the second period, and trailed just 35-27 at the half.
The Lions kept battling in the third period, but never gained much ground, cutting their deficit to 39-30 on a three-point play by Crockett early in the half, and to 56-46 on a Caoile steal and layup in the final minute of the quarter.
West Linn was still within 77-65 when Thompson buried a three-pointer with 1:44 left in the game, but couldn't make further inroads against Crespi, which was led by Brandon Williams' 32 points, six rebounds and seven assists.
Crespi also got 15 points and 10 rebounds from Kyle Owens, and 10 points from Taj Regans in the win.
For West Linn, Crockett finished with 20 points, four rebounds and three assists, Dawkins had 16 points and five rebounds, Caoile added 13 points and six assists, and Thompson scored 11 points.