West Linn boys basketball shoots down Ida B. Wells 90-70
The Ida B. Wells boys basketball team came out firing on Tuesday, March 1.
The 28th-ranked Guardians, facing no. 5 West Linn in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs, knocked down four 3-pointers in the game's first five minutes and held the lead into the first minute of the second quarter.
But the Lions can bomb it from long range, too, and proved it big-time, hitting 15 "threes" and racing away to beat Ida B. Wells 90-70 at West Linn High School.
"It was a good to get a good start to the first playoff game," said West Linn junior guard Jackson Shelstad, who led all scorers with 36 points (he hit 14 shots from the field, including six 3-pointers), along with six rebounds and three steals. "I think this was a good start that we can (build on and) keep the momentum going."
"Overall, I think that it was a very good way to start (the) playoffs," said Lion junior guard Zeke Viuhkola, who added 12 points (on 4 of 7 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers and a 1 of 2 day at the foul line), along with four rebounds and four assists. "I definitely thought it was a good start against a good team that we can build off to keep going throughout the rest of the season."
With the win — the Lions' second straight and ninth in their last 10 games — West Linn improved to 19-3 overall after placing second in the Three Rivers League. Next up, the Lions will host No. 12 Jesuit — a 61-57 winner over Sherwood on Tuesday — in the second playoff round at 7 p.m. Friday, March 4.
Wells, meanwhile, lost for the second straight time and finished 9-17 overall after placing sixth in the Portland Interscholastic League.
"There's six PIL teams in the playoffs so we've played a lot of good teams already," said Wells junior Jonah Jones, who finished with eight points (on 4 of 10 shooting from the field), along with nine rebounds, two assists and one steal. "We thought we could compete with West Linn. It wasn't exactly what we wanted, but it was a good game."
"We were ready to fight," said Wells senior Leo Sewell, who finished with 11 points (on 3 of 9 shooting from the field, including two 3-pointers and a 3 of 3 day at the foul line), along with seven assists and one rebound. "The guys in our locker room, they always go 100%. Every day, we go hard. We had an opportunity."
The Guardians opened their long-range onslaught early, with sophomore Jacy Canalin hitting two "threes" in the first quarter, while Sewell and sophomore Nick DiGiulio each adding 3-pointers of their own to help Wells lead 12-7 in the first quarter and 16-12 early in the second quarter.
Shelstad kept his team close with seven points in the first quarter, while in the second, junior Mark Hamper scored four straight points to give West Linn the lead for good at 18-16 when he hit a pair of free throws with 6 minutes, 33 seconds remaining in the half.
The Lions kept the pressure on, too. From that five-point first-quarter deficit to halftime, West Linn outscored the Guardians 32-13 over a span of 11 minutes to take a 39-25 edge into the break.
"After that start, we just settled down and started playing our basketball (and) that let us get into a zone," Viuhkola said.
Nobody played a bigger role in that stretch than Shelstad, who scored 13 points on 5 of 7 shooting from the floor in a span of 7:30, including one "three" and two foul shots. Viuhkola was tough in that run, too, scoring seven points while Hamper added another four.
Wells got within 10 points once in the second half — at 42-32 when Canalin hit a pull-up 3-pointer with 5:32 left in the third quarter — but the Lions pulled away from there. Shelstad poured in 14 points in the third quarter, junior Blake Oltmans added six and both Hamper and junior Drake Gabel hit "threes" to push their team's lead to 67-51 at the end of three.
The Lions boosted their lead to a game-high 21 points at 79-58 when Shelstad hit a pull-up "three" and West Linn coasted home from there.
"(The key was) we started playing our ball and did a better job taking away their strengths," Shelstad said.
"We played our hearts out, but they hit so many 'threes,'" Jones said. "That was unbelievable."
"That's a really good team that we just went against and that's an experienced team and they have some really great players," Sewell said.
Hamper finished with 10 points, four rebounds, three assists and one steal. Canalin led Wells with 27 points (on 11 of 17 shooting from the field, including five "threes"), along with two rebounds.
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