Streaking West Linn runs string to eight, drops rival Oregon City, 72-61
West Linn's Micah Garrett scored 14 of his game-high 25 points in the second half, leading the Lions to a 72-61 Three Rivers League home win over the Oregon City Pioneers.
Jackson Shelstad added 21 points and Bryson Crockett chipped in nine points to help the league-leading Lions (12-5, 5-0 Three Rivers) run their winning streak to eight games.
"That felt good," Garrett said. "We're on a streak right now, so it feels really good getting wins.
"We knew coming in that Oregon City is a rivalry game, so we just wanted to come out with intensity and play hard. That was the main goal — just come out with intensity."
Andre Best finished with a team-high 18 points for the Pioneers (9-7, 0-4), who are still searching for their first league win.
"There's no margin for error against a team like West Linn," Pioneers coach Aaron Newkirk said. "You have to play a very disciplined game for 32 minutes to have a chance, and we didn't do that.
"A lot of that, we just had a few breakdowns and West Linn is just so talented, they put you up against it when you make a mistake."
The Lions played with the lead almost the entire game, answering all of Oregon City's runs with some big runs of their own.
After Best hit a pull-up jumper in the lane to cut West Linn's lead to 25-24 midway through the second quarter, the Lions went on a 13-2 run in the final 3:45 of the period to take a 38-26 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, Oregon City's Alex Newkirk hit three consecutive 3-pointers and Best banked in a short jumper during an 11-0 run that lifted the Pioneers within three points, 44-41, with 3:05 left.
West Linn countered with a 7-5 run to close the quarter with Garrett, the 6-foot-3 senior guard, scoring all seven points for the Lions to push the lead to 51-46.
"We just had step it up," Garrett said. "Oregon City was catching up, getting a lot of open looks, and we just had to step up our defense and make a few switches, and it worked."
Another 9-2 West run to open the fourth quarter ended with Garrett knocking down a shot in traffic to make it 60-48 with 5:24 remaining.
Oregon City got no closer than six the rest of the way.
Colton Young finished with seven points off the West Linn bench and Parker Durbin added two points and a team-high nine rebounds for the Lions, who maintained a half-game lead over Lake Oswego atop the league standings.
"I think we're playing really well," Garrett said. "We're working really, really hard at practice and that translates over to the games."
Oregon City's Lucas Hanson reached double figures with 15 points, and Alex Newkirk, starting in place of injured Dalton Welch (ankle), finished with 12 points on four 3-pointers in the second half.
"West Linn has good players and they did a great job," Aaron Newkirk said. "We were in a little funk the last couple weeks, but I think we climbed out of that. Even though this was a loss, it was a better effort."
At the same time, the Pioneers are off to their worst start in league play since the 2012-13 season when they went 0-6 to open Three Rivers League play.
"That's not the concern, really, because at the end of the day, the league doesn't really matter," Aaron Newkirk said. "We've got to think about the next game and we've got to think about keeping our power ranking where we need it to be so we can qualify (for the post-season).
"None of our players saw us starting this way, but we have a choice to make now. What are we going to do with the last month of the season? Tonight's game was something we can build on and we've got to have that same approach against Lakeridge on Friday."
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