Sherwood boys get defensive in win over Vikings
Defense and 3-point shooting.
For the Sherwood High School boys basketball team, it's been a potent combination.
And — here's the bad news for the rest of the Pacific Conference — the Bowmen seem to be getting better and better at both of them.
Sherwood, excelling on the defensive end of the court, and sinking six second-half 3-point baskets, pulled away to get score an impressive 57-32 win over Forest Grove in a key Pacific Conference contest played Friday at Sherwood High School.
"It went really well," said Sherwood junior guard Caden Davis, who scored a game-high 15 points. "We started off a little slow. It was a back-and-forth game. But our defense was great the whole night, and our shots started falling in the second half. It was really fun. The crowd was into it."
"It was great, especially in the second half," said Bowmen senior guard Jamison Guerra, who turned in a strong overall performance. "We got our shots falling, and we clamped down on defense. It really does start on the defensive end for us, because we want to get out on transition, and set up our shooters."
With the win, Sherwood improved to 2-0 in Pacific Conference play (8-6 overall), putting the Bowmen alone in first place in the conference standings.
"That's great for us," Guerra said. "A league win is a league win, and if we can come by one, that's huge. Around the state, league wins all count the same, because you're all trying to get in the playoffs."
"That's very big," Davis said. "They (Forest Grove) are one of the best teams in our league, so, if we can beat them, I think we can beat any team in this league."
Forest Grove moved to 1-1 in Pacific Conference games (6-8 overall), putting the Vikings in a tie with Century and Liberty for third place in the conference standings.
"They're an amazing shooting team, arguably the best shooting team in the state, so any time you play a team like that, it's hard to get covers on them," said Forest Grove senior guard Guy Littlefield, who led the Vikings with 10 points. "I think we did a good job early on, offensively, getting stuff. I think, defensively, our intensity was high. There were just moments where we let it get out of hand."
Forest Grove got off to a strong start to the conference contest. The Vikings, getting a 3-pointer by senior Roman Miller, and three straight points from Littlefield, took a 10-7 lead with 2 minutes and 19 seconds left to play in the first quarter.
Sherwood, with Davis sinking a 3-pointer, and with junior Zack Ariza scoring on a last-second layup, both coming off assists from Guerra, tied Forest Grove, at 12-12, at the end of the opening period.
The Bowmen started to turn up the defensive pressure in the second quarter. Forest Grove was able to score just five points in the period, while the Sherwood defense helped force the Vikings into committing seven turnovers.
Meanwhile, the Bowmen got a 3-pointer by Davis, two baskets from junior Clay Peden, and they ended the period with two straight hoops by Guerra, giving Sherwood a 25-17 halftime lead.
Forest Grove tried to rally early in the third quarter. Littlefield opened the scoring in the period with a 3-pointer, and Viking junior James Irvine followed with a basket on a short-range bank shot, trimming the Bowmen lead to 25-22 with 5:02 left in the quarter.
But Sherwood — and Davis — responded in a very big way.
Davis sank three straight 3-point baskets, all off assists from Guerra, coming in a game span of 1:06, to quickly up the margin to 34-22.
"It was a spark for everyone," Davis said of his scoring spree. "Everyone did a good job spreading the floor, and getting me those shots, and I just happened to knock them down."
Sherwood ended the period with a last-second 3-point basket by senior Nate Merrill, coming off yet another Guerra assist, giving the Bowmen a 41-29 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Sherwood then kept up the intensity in the final stanza. The Bowmen limited Forest Grove to just three points in the period. Meanwhile, Ariza scored seven points in the quarter, and sophomore Bjorn Bergstrom added a 3-pointer, helping Sherwood, which scored the game's final 11 points, close out the 57-32 victory.
"We did a really good job stopping their best player, and our defense worked really well the whole game," Davis said.
Davis sank five 3-pointers on his way to scoring a game-high 15 points. Ariza came off the bench to score 11 points for the Bowmen.
Guerra came close to getting a triple-double, with eight points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.
"He's the key. He's the leader," Davis said of Guerra. "He helps find me, he helps find Asher (Krauel). He keeps everything together. Other teams have to worry about him, which opens things up for everyone else."
"That's what I've got to do on a nightly basis," Guerra said. "That's a role I'm willing to step into. I've got to find those guys when they're hot."
Peden scored six points. Krauel had four points and five rebounds. Senior Blake Jensen, Merrill and Bergstrom had two points apiece.
Sherwood, as a team, made 22 of 50 shots from the field (including 13 of 24 in the second half), with nine 3-point baskets, and four of seven free-throw attempts.
"Being able to rely on anyone to knock down that shot from the outside is really helpful for our offense," Guerra said.
For Forest Grove, Littlefield had five rebounds to go with his team-high 10 points. Junior Braden Hudgins added seven points for the Vikings. Miller and Irvine each scored six, and senior Ryan Kribs had three.
Forest Grove, as a team, made 12 of 38 shots from the field, with five 3-pointers, and three of eight free-throw attempts.
"This team, I'm so proud of them," Littlefield said. "There have been some ups and downs, but, through it all, we're sticking together, and I think we're growing. We're ready for every single league game, and the next time we play these guys, we'll get them."
Both teams will be back in action on Tuesday. Sherwood will travel to McMinnville and Forest Grove will host Newberg in Pacific Conference games set to start at 7 p.m.
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