The Sherwood High School boys basketball team had reason to celebrate.
After all, the Bowmen, after running to an 85-43 win at Glencoe on Feb. 27, completed a perfect Pacific Conference season. And, after that victory, wearing brand new black-and-red t-shirts, barring the phrase, "back to back," the Sherwood squad was rejoicing in its second straight conference championship.
But, while they were celebrating, the Bowmen also know that that they have other — bigger — aspirations.
"That's awesome," Guerra said of the perfect conference record. "But we've got bigger goals ahead of us. The Chiles Center (site of the Class 6A state tournament) is always the goal, and that's what we want to do with this group, but it all starts on Wednesday, with that first round."
"This was awesome," Sherwood senior post Blake Jensen said. "We want to go all the way, that's our goal. We're just looking one game ahead, and we want to keep moving."
With the loss in the Feb. 27 conference finale, Glencoe finished its season with a 3-9 mark in Pacific Conference play, and an overall record of 7-17. Sherwood, the No. 14 team in the final OSAA power rankings, improved to 12-0 in conference play (18-6 overall) with the win. The Bowmen also advance to play in the Class 6A state playoffs. They'll host Gresham in a state playoff first-round game on Wednesday, starting at 7 p.m., at Sherwood High School. Sherwood, after coming up one game short of reaching the state tournament last year, when it fell in a second-round playoff contest at Grant, is looking to take that next step this year.
"Last year is definitely motivation," Guerra said. "We want to get to the Chiles Center, and I definitely think we can get there."
"Losing to Grant last year wasn't a great feeling," Jensen said. "We want to use that energy and keep going this year."
Sherwood, throughout the season, has shown its ability to win games behind its pinpoint shooting from 3-point range. But, in the victory at Glencoe, the Bowmen got the ball inside over and over, and turned that into a potent offensive attack.
"We pass it around, try to get our offense moving, and the shots open up," Jensen said.
"If teams want to take away the 3-ball, we're more than comfortable taking the ball into the paint," Guerra said. "All of our guys can score in the paint and all of our guys can hit the threes."
For the game, Sherwood made 34 of 62 shots from the field, mostly from inside, while still sinking seven 3-point baskets.
The Bowmen got off to a fast start in the conference finale. Trailing 3-1 early, Sherwood went on an 11-0 run, which included two baskets by Guerra, a 3-point play by sophomore post Baydon Kullowatz, and hoops by junior Asher Krauel and Jensen, giving the Bowmen a 12-3 lead with 4 minutes and 7 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Jensen ended up scoring seven points in the opening period, which ended with Sherwood holding a 20-11 lead.
The Bowmen then opened the second quarter with a 10-2 run, which included six points from junior post Zack Ariza and four by junior wing Clay Peden. Krauel and Kullowatz each added a 3-pointer in the period, as Sherwood cruised to a 44-18 halftime advantage.
Sherwood junior Caden Davis sank a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter, and Krauel scored five points in the period, as the Bowmen pushed the margin to 65-25 at the end of the quarter.
Substitutes played the entire fourth quarter for Sherwood, but there was no letdown. Sophomore wing Bjorn Bergstrom scored eight points in the period, and Peden added seven, as the Bowmen closed out the 85-43 victory.
"We're really deep, and that's part of what makes us so special," Guerra said. "We've got a really good group of guys."
"Our second string is really good, and they bring a lot of energy," Jensen said.
Guerra, a four-year starter for the Bowmen, who recently moved into the state's all-time top 10 list for assists, had 10 points and five assists in his final league contest.
"These last few games, with Senior Night, have been special," Guerra said. "And I'm glad I get to do it with these guys. I wouldn't want to do it with anyone else."
Peden led a balanced Sherwood scoring attack in the win with 13 points. Jensen scored 11, all coming in the first half. Krauel had 10 points and three steals. Ariza scored 10 points off the bench. Kullowatz had eight points and six rebounds. Davis and Bergstrom each scored eight points.
"Tonight was fun," Guerra said. "It's always nice to finish league with a win like this, and we got these awesome t-shirts."
"Oh yeah, it was tons of fun," Jensen said.
Glencoe senior Grayson Landon led all scorers with 22 points.
Gresham, the No. 4 team out of the Mt. Hood Conference, and the No. 19 team in the OSAA power rankings, brings a 16-8 record into Wednesday's state playoff game at Sherwood.
The Bowmen, if they win Wednesday, will either play at Jefferson, or host Sandy, in a Class 6A state playoff second-round game on Saturday.
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