Sherwood boys battle strong, but fall to Grant
PORTLAND — The Sherwood High School boys basketball team battled all season.
The Bowmen battled their way to the Pacific Conference championship. They battled their way to just the third 20-win season in school history. They battled their way to the second round of the Class 6A state playoffs.
And, in that second-round postseason game, the Bowmen certainly seemed to battle — with everything they had.
But that battle wasn't quite enough.
The Sherwood squad saw its season come to an end with a 69-57 loss to defending Class 6A state champion Grant in a state playoff second-round game played Friday at the Marshall Campus.
"That's a really good team, and we definitely feel like we could play with them, and we showed that tonight," Sherwood junior point guard Jamison Guerra said after the game. "We played our hearts out."
"It was expected," Sherwood senior wing Braden Thorn said of the Bowmen's tenacity. "We were going to do that no matter what."
"The theme tonight was to compete, and leave it all on the floor," Sherwood coach Rahim Tufts said. "And we definitely competed. We were physical. There were just a couple huge momentum swings. But we left it all out there. The guys did what we asked them to do."
With the win, Grant, the Portland Interscholastic League co-champion, and the No. 6 team in the final OSAA power rankings, improved to 21-6 on the season. The Generals also advance to play in the Class 6A state tournament. They'll face either Jefferson or Southridge in a tourney quarterfinal game Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the University of Portland's Chiles Center.
Sherwood, the Pacific Conference champion, and the No. 11 team in the power rankings, finished its season with a final overall record of 21-6.
"We had a lot of successes," said Sherwood senior Ryan Sandilands, who came off the bench to score a team-high 17 points in Friday's game. "We got the league title, of course, and that was pretty exciting. I wish we could have gone a little farther, and that's tough. But Grant's really good. They're a solid team."
"It's not a bunch of individuals, but guys who came together and accepted their roles, and thrived in their roles, whether they didn't play in the game, played five minutes, or played 31 minutes, like a lot of our guys do," Tufts said. "It was just a special group of kids. Outside of the wins, it's more about their character. They're phenomenal community members, citizens and students. It's an honor to coach them."
"It was a ton of fun, playing with my brothers," Thorn said.
"This season meant a lot to me," Guerra said.
The Bowmen showed they were ready to early in Friday's playoff game. Sherwood, getting 3-point baskets from senior Tyler Hix, Thorn and sophomore Asher Krauel, grabbed an 11-9 lead with 4 minutes and 24 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Grant, with senior guard Aaron Deloney converting a 4-point play, rallied to take a 19-16 lead at the end of the opening period.
The Generals added to their lead in the second quarter. Junior LaQuandre Taylor scored eight points in the period for Grant, helping the home team up its lead to 36-26 at halftime.
That put the Generals in a position of being able to all but put the game away early in the second half. But Sherwood would have nothing of that. In fact, the fired-up Bowmen came roaring back in a big way in the third quarter.
"At halftime, we got a little yelled at in the locker room, and that got a little flame going in our stomachs," Sandilands said. "We came out there and punched them in the face, figuratively, and we had that push going for us."
Sherwood junior post Blake Jensen opened the third quarter with back-to-back baskets, coming off assists by Krauel and Hix, to trim the margin to 36-30 with 5:10 left in the period. The Bowmen got even closer. A pair of 3-pointers by Sandilands made the score 41-37 with 2:51 left in the period.
Jensen followed that up with a layup, getting the Bowmen within two, at 41-39, with 2:30 remaining in the quarter.
"We knew it wasn't over," Thorn said. "We were going to keep going."
"We did a nice job," Tufts said. "We just settled down on the offensive end. We cut down the turnovers, and got it to Jensen. The guys were ready to go."
Grant answered back, ending the period with a 7-0 run, which included a 3-pointer by junior Emanuel Steward, giving the Generals a 48-39 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Grant then scored the first four points of the final stanza, pushing the margin to 52-39 with 5:52 left in the game.
But, again, the Bowmen came battling back. Guerra sank a 3-pointer and Sandilands made a pair of 3-pointers, including a crazy 27-foot bank shot, to trim the lead to 57-48 with 3:03 left to play.
Sherwood, and Guerra, who scored seven points in the final 2:31 of the game, kept battling, but the Bowmen couldn't get any closer, as Grant closed out a 69-57 victory.
"We didn't want to get blown out," Sandilands said. "Our goal was to come in and get them scared a bit, and get that win. We just came up a little short."
Sandilands made five 3-pointers on his way to scoring 17 points.
"I have to thank my teammates, Jamison and Asher and Blake and Braden for finding me," he said. "I was just knocking down the shots after they gave me perfect passes."
Jensen scored 11 points, while also having seven rebounds and three assists. Guerra scored 10 points, all coming in the fourth quarter, while also having five rebounds and three assists. Hix had eight points and six rebounds. Thorn had eight points and seven rebounds. Krauel scored three.
Sherwood, as a team, made 20 of 56 shots from the field, with 12 3-pointers, and five of 11 free-throw attempts.
Deloney led all scorers with 21 points. Taylor added 20 for the Generals, and senior Ty Rankin scored 12.
Grant, as a team, made 21 of 47 shots from the field, with seven 3-pointers, and 20 of 27 free-throw attempts.
The loss marked the final high school game for Sherwood seniors Caden Snelling, Hix, Sandilands, Cade Chidester, Isaac Day, Thorn, Charlie Bulfinch and Jacob Schweitzer.
"This is a family, and I'm going to miss them," Guerra said.
Good things could be ahead for the Bowmen, who have the potential to return a strong group, including starters Guerra, Krauel and Jensen.
"I'm excited about what we can do next year," Guerra said. "It's a long ways off, and there's a lot of work we need to do, but I'm excited."