High school sports round-up: St. Paul downs East Linn Christian 74-67 to place a program-best fifth in final season as member of Tri-River Conference

ST. PAUL -- Although there wasn't much riding on the outcome, you wouldn't have known it by the way the St. Paul and East Linn Christian Academy boys basketball teams played in the regular season finale Feb. 8.

Perhaps smarting from the 56-55 loss the Bucks handed them in their first matchup, the Eagles took it to the home team in the early going, leading by as many as 16 points in the second quarter. SETH GORDON - Sophomore post Alex Dela Cerda ducks past an East Linn Christian defender during St. Paul's 74-67 home win Friday night. The win clinched fifth place in the Tri-River Conference, the Bucks' highest in four years at the 2A level.

From that point forward, however, St. Paul caught fire from the perimeter and never really cooled down, turning in one of their most efficient offensive performances of the season to rally for a 74-67 victory.

"For a game that wasn't supposed to mean anything, both teams played really hard," SPHS coach Todd Swan said. "It was fun."

The Eagles used a 7-0 run to pull ahead 15-7 midway through the first quarter, then stretched their advantage to 32-16 by opening the second quarter on a 15-4 binge.

Swan called a timeout to snap his team out of the daze it seemed to be in.

St. Paul got more aggressive offensively, especially from the perimeter, as it sank four three-pointers in the final 3:43 of the second quarter, fueling a 15-4 run that made it 36-31 at the break.

"They're a great team and they wanted to beat us after how last time ended on a last-second shot, but we finally turned it around," senior Campbell Smith said. "We knew we could play good basketball and just started doing it."

It took the Bucks nearly four minutes to pull level with the Eagles in the third quarter, but a trio of three-pointers, including two by Jaidyn Jackson, powered St. Paul to a 9-4 run that gave the home side a 55-51 lead entering the fourth.

Back-to-back buckets by Alex Dela Cerda and Campbell Smith gave the Bucks a 62-55 lead with 5:26 to play, then the Eagles (8-16, 3-9) made it tougher on themselves when an assistant coach was assessed two technical fouls for arguing with the referees and was ejected from the game.

St. Paul made two of the four ensuing free throws to push the lead to nine points, but didn't really put the game away until Jackson and Justin Herberger scored consecutive fast-break layups to make it 68-55 with 3:51 to go.

"There were a couple of games that we could have won that kind of knocked us out of the playoffs, but we rebounded well and played good ball," Campbell Smith said. "Now we're going into 1A on a really high note."

Jackson led the way with 16 points, but three other players also scored in double figures, as Campbell Smith and Herberger had 14 apiece and Holden Smith finished with 11. Dela Cerda also had eight points in the win.

The Bucks (14-10, 5-7) finished one game behind Regis (16-9, 6-6) for the final spot in the district tournament and sits at No. 15 in the OSAA rankings, its highest-ever finish.

"Being the smallest 2A school and going 14-10, that's pretty cool," Campbell Smith said. "Two years ago we were going to get beat by 40 no matter what and now we're competitive and beating teams."

Boys basketball

C.S. Lewis Academy 69, Oregon School for the Deaf 30 — The Watchmen exploded for 21 points in the second quarter to stake a 24-point lead by halftime. Jacob McClatchey posted careers highs with 17 points and 18 rebounds.

Crosshill Christian 78, C.S. Lewis Academy 49 — The Eagles scored the last six points of the first half to go up 41-26 and never looked back. Micah Grobey scored 25 points and grabbed nine rebounds for CSLA.

Falls City 63, C.S. Lewis Academy 43 — Grobey posted a double-double with 24 points and 11 rebounds Monday night, but the Mountaineers (14-9, 10-4 Casco League) prevailed to relegate the Watchmen (14-10, 8-6) to fourth place. C.S. Lewis will face fifth-place Livingstone Adventist Academy in the district tournament at 3:45 p.m. Friday at Corban University in Salem.

Girls basketball

C.S. Lewis Academy 45, Oregon School for the Deaf 44 — Cali Mault scored 21 points to lead the Watchmen to their first Casco League win of the season Feb. 6. Jamie Wooding added 10 points for CSLA.

Crosshill Christian 42, C.S. Lewis Academy 19 — The Watchmen got nine points from Mault and six from Ally Trowbridge, but couldn't get over the hump after a slow start Feb. 8.

Falls City 29, C.S. Lewis Academy 24 — Despite the loss, coach Lucas Jepson characterized the performance as the Watchmen's best overall performance of the season. Trowbridge led the offense with 13 points and Wooding added eight blocks for CSLA (2-18, 1-13).

Tigard 56, Newberg 21 — The Tigers fell on the road Feb. 6.

Canby 61, Newberg 29 — The Tigers (4-18, 2-12) saw their losing skid stretch to 11 games Friday night.

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