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Boys basketball: Wilsonville goes four-for-4A with rout of Estacada in preseason finale

Malvar scores 18 points to lead Wildcats in 36-point win


by: JEFF GOODMAN / PAMPLIN MEDIDA GROUP - Zach Malvar pushes the ball in transition during the Wilsonville boys basketball teams win over Estacada in its preseason finale at home Jan. 8. The senior finished with a game-high 18 points.Asked to assess the Wilsonville boys basketball team’s first 10 games, coach Chris Roche, Sam Bullock and Zach Reichle all gave ‘B’ grades.

In the final game of the nonleague slate, the ‘B’ might as well have stood for “blowout.”

Fresh off three days of tournament play in Idaho, the Wildcats thumped Estacada 75-39 at home Jan. 8 in a meeting of former conference counterparts.

Wilsonville reached the 70-point mark for the fourth time this season, held an opponent below 50 for the eighth time and finished its preseason with a 7-3 record. Its regular season begins with road games against Milwaukie (Jan. 14) and Sandy (Jan. 17).

The rout of Estacada gave the Wildcats a perfect 4-0 record against Class 4A teams for the second year in a row. They clobbered Yamhill-Carlton, Scappoose and Siuslaw in their first three games this season.

Last year, Wilsonville’s average margin of victory against the aforementioned 4A teams was 13.5 points. It was a whopping 31.75 this season.

The first 10 games revealed promising signs as well as potential obstacles for a program that placed fourth at the OSAA tournament last year.

“We had some pretty good efforts, but right now we’re pretty inconsistent,” sophomore point guard Sam Bullock said. “We need to be able to get a good effort every single night.”

Against Estacada, the Wildcats were imperfect but still imposing.

Senior wing Zach Malvar scored a game-high 18 points, draining two three-pointers and creating several transition opportunities with his aggressive perimeter defense. He even flirted with a dunk on a lob play in the second half.

Freshman wing Zach Reichle added 14 points, and sophomore wing Tyler Hieb finished with 11 despite not scoring from the field after halftime.

Sophomore forward Jack McNulty and senior wing Tyler Martin each chipped in nine, including respective baskets to beat the second- and third-quarter buzzers.

Wilsonville wrested control with stingy man-to-man defense and had little trouble scoring. It closed the first quarter on a 7-2 run, gave up just seven points in the second quarter, started the second half with a 13-2 surge and finished the game with a 36-point lead — its largest of the night — on a three-point play by junior Wyatt Fennell.

It was the kind of dominant performance that the Wildcats weren’t able to put together in Coeur d’Alene, where they lost two of three games against out-of-state opponents.

“We didn’t really do well on the road — we didn’t impose our will,” Reichle said. “We didn’t play D. We went against zone and didn’t attack the gaps, didn’t do what we do.”

Wilsonville certainly imposed its will against the Rangers (3-7). After surrendering the first points of the game on a drive by Estacada sophomore Mitch Nation, the Wildcats pulled even on a putback by Hieb and never trailed again.

Malvar gave Wilsonville its first double-digit edge with a three late in the first quarter. The lead exceeded 20 on Reichle’s close-range shot early in the second half and ballooned to 50-20 on Bullock’s fast-break layup moments later.

Meanwhile, Bullock said, the Wildcats did a better job in the second half of keeping Alec Barstad out of the key. The Rangers senior finished with a team-high 12 points.

The game reunited Wilsonville and Estacada for the second-straight season. Both schools were members of the old Tri-Valley League before the Wildcats jumped to 5A and landed in the Northwest Oregon Conference before the 2006-07 campaign.

Of course, Wilsonville didn’t come close to taking its lopsided win as a sign that it has peaked. Far from it.

That much was clear when the Rangers scored an uncontested layup on an inbounds play from the sideline, leading Roche to call a timeout.

“We have a lot to improve on,” Reichle said. “We could’ve done better. Even though they’re a 4A team, we try to take the same approach.”

Added Bullock: “It’s always fun playing against the best teams in the state, but every game counts the same so we take every game seriously. We’re just always trying to find ways to get better.”

For updates, follow Jeff Goodman on Twitter.

***

AT A GLANCE

Wilsonville 75, Estacada 39

Jan. 8 at Wilsonville High School

                        1          2          3          4          F

Estacada          11        7          9          12 — 39

Wilsonville      20        17        20        18 — 75

Estacada (39): Alec Barstad 12, Willie Blankenship 7, Mitch Nation 6, Kris Kelly 6, Marshall Cantele 4, Andy Avants 2, Sam Blankenship 2.

Wilsonville (75): Zach Malvar 18, Zach Reichle 14, Tyler Hieb 11, Tyler Martin 9, Jack McNulty 9, Sam Bullock 5, Wyatt Fennell 3, Kaden Ogles 2, Nate Christensen 2, Keenan McClellan 2.



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