West Linn boys basketball bounces back to finish third at state
The West Linn boys basketball team wasn't going to go out on a loss.
Jackson Shelstad wasn't going to let them.
Shelstad, a junior point guard who has committed to the University of Oregon, put the Lions on his back in third-place game of the Class 6A state tournament on Saturday, March 12.
With the Lions leading Mountainside just 30-29 at halftime of their game at the Chiles Center, Shelstad just flat took over. In a span of 6 minutes and 41 seconds, he absolutely torched the Mavericks, knocking down 9 of 11 shots in that span — including six 3-pointers — and scoring 24 of his game-high 33 points to beat Mountainside 77-50.
"It was a lot of fun, especially because the first half I couldn't really get anything going," Shelstad said. "But the main thing was we just wanted to come out and have fun, and get the win."
With the win, the Lions secured third place and finished its year at 22-4 overall.
"We wanted to have fun and you saw a lot of us smiling out there today. And that was the goal. We wanted to end the season with a win," Shelstad said. "
"I wish we would've finished the championship, but super proud of our team. We came a long way from the beginning of the season and got a lot better towards the end of the year. I love the guys on the team and there's a lot of hard workers and guys that want to get better."
Senior Zeke Viuhkola added 19 points, three rebounds and one assist, while fellow senior Peyton Durbin added 14 points, one rebound, one assist and one steal.
Tualatin 56, West Linn 49
You knew it was going to be like this.
Back and forth. Intense. Gritty.
After two intense regular-season battles, you almost knew that the Friday, March 11, state semifinal between the Tualatin and West Linn boys basketball teams was going to be a war — and it was.
In the end, the top-ranked Timberwolves took over down the stretch to beat No. 5 West Linn 56-49 in the Class 6A semifinals at the Chiles Center.
"They hit some big shots," said Shelstad, who led his team with 19 points (on 7 of 21 shooting from the field, including five 3-pointers), along with four rebounds, three assists, one blocked shot and two steals. "They have a lot of good guards. They can score in a lot of different ways. I tip my hat to them. They came through in the clutch and hit the big shots. They hit a lot of big shots."
"Coming down the stretch, I just feel like Tualatin made the bigger plays," said Durbin, who finished with five points (on 1 of 3 shooting from the field and a 3 of 4 day at the foul line), along with two rebounds, one assist and one steal. "We didn't lock down and lock in, and at the end of the day, they just hit more shots than us."
With the win, Tualatin's 15th straight, the Timberwolves improved to 25-2 overall after winning the Three Rivers League.
Junior guard Josiah Lake led Tualatin with 20 points (on 7 of 12 shooting from the field, including three 3-pointers and a 3 of 4 day at the line), along with eight rebounds and one assist.
In a game that included six ties and 10 lead changes, with no team leading by more than three points until the Wolves took over down the stretch, the team that made the most plays in the game's final minutes was going to win — and on this day, that team was Tualatin.
Indeed, West Linn led 37-34 going into the fourth quarter and was still up 43-41 when Shelstad took a pass from junior Mark Hamper and buried a "three" from the right wing with 4 minutes, 23 seconds left in the game.
But the Timberwolves — and specifically Lake — took over there.
Lake started by hitting two foul shots to tie the score, spun into the lane for a layin on Tualatin's next possession, then took a pass from senior Malik Ross and drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key to give his team a 48-43 lead with 2:55 left on the clock.
West Linn tried to crawl back into contention with a pair of Durbin foul shots and a pull-up by Shelstad that cut the deficit to 50-47 with 2:50 to go, but the Wolves wouldn't relent.
Senior Noah Ogoli scored on a drive to push the edge back to 52-47 with 1:44 left, and from there, the Timberwolves sealed their win at the foul line, hitting four of seven free throws — including two by senior Kellen Hale — in the final 1:11 to win.
"Coach (Eric Viuhkola) came in said we did everything we should have," Durbin said. "We worked our (tails) off and he didn't ask anything else of us."
For Tualatin, Ross added nine points, four assists and two steals, while Ogoli added nine points of his own along with three rebounds, one assist and one block. For West Linn, Hamper finished with 15 points, seven rebounds, two assists and one steal.
— Wade Evanson contributed to this story
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