Wildcats lose close WIT finale for second-straight year

by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP - The Wilsonville boys basketball team fell to Silverton in the finals of its home tournament Dec. 28. Above, Zach Malvar (left) and Tyler Hieb defend during a previous win over Siuslaw.Another appearance in the finals of the Wilsonville Invitational Tournament.

Another tightly contested game.

And another frustrating loss.

A year after falling to Thurston in overtime in the championship game of the annual event, the Wilsonville boys basketball team lost 53-50 to Silverton at home Dec. 28.

It was the first setback of the season for the Wildcats (5-1), who started the season with five dominant victories in a row.

Their streak began with routs of three Class 4A opponents in Yamhill-Carlton, Scappoose and Siuslaw.

Wilsonville started tournament play Dec. 26 with a 78-24 drubbing of The Dalles — a 54-point victory. The following day, the Wildcats logged a 66-43 win in the semifinals against Corvallis-Crescent Valley, which had defeated Redmond in the first round.

The victory Dec. 27 vaulted Wilsonville into the championship game of the eight-team tournament against Silverton (4-2), which advanced with narrow wins over Springfield and Portland-Cleveland.

Trailing 28-17 at halftime, the Wildcats engineered a 33-23 run in the second half to pull within 51-50 with 10 seconds to play. But they were unable to pull off a victory against the Foxes.

It was Wilsonville’s second-straight loss to Silverton, which prevailed 43-36 in last year’s preseason meeting.

In last year’s WIT, the Wildcats cruised past The Dalles and Eugene-Marist but fell to Springfield-Thurston in overtime of the finals, 60-58.

Wilsonville now heads to Idaho for a three-day tournament at Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene. It is slated to face Kent (Wash.) Kentridge (7-0) at 2 p.m. Jan. 2.

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