Wilsonville boys sweep opening weekend
Wilsonville's boys' basketball team made it known the weekend of Friday, Nov. 30 that they were still one of the best teams in the state. In the opening series of games, the Wildcats swept Ridgeview, Eagle Point, and Mountain View to start off the season 3-0. These games were a part of the Holiday Inn WIT hosted at Wilsonville High School.
Friday, Nov. 30 saw Wilsonville square up with the Ridgeview Ravens in the quarterfinals of the tournament. It was a one sided affair, as the home team got the W 103-43 after 32 minutes of play. Senior point guard Jack Roche went off in that game, scoring 26 points with 18 assists. The assists break the Wilsonville school record for assists in a single game, originally set by Connor Willis in 2006 with 14 assists against Madras.
"Wilsonville High has had a bunch of really good and talented players over the years," Wilsonville head coach Chris Roche. "So anytime you can crack the record book and set an all-time record, it's impressive. Jack had a really good game, pushed the tempo, and was a dual threat for us. And, of course, any record in basketball is a team thing, too. Jack definitely benefited from a bunch of teammates making shots."
Other solid performances included senior post Nolan Thebiay recording a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, and senior Zach Rivers with 5 of the team's 18 steals. Junior Dakota Reber had 14 points as well.
In the next game on Saturday, Dec. 1, Wilsonville again put on an impressive performance, this time besting Eagle Point 78-34. Junior Gabe Reichle led the team in scoring this time with 17 points, while Roche trailed by only two points. Roche again led with 8 assists, and Reber and Rivers each had three steals on the night.
On top of that, Rivers had 13 points and five assists.
"I thought Zach Rivers was pretty amazing tonight, especially considering he has only had 4 practices coming into this weekend," Chris Roche said. "Tonight, he was a real catalyst for us. He's longer and stronger, and he is a more assertive athlete overall this year. He played very good defense tonight, and he is taking the ball to the basket with authority, too."
In the final game of the weekend, Wilsonville took on 6A Mountain View on Sunday, Dec. 2 in a battle of 2-0 teams. Wilsonville won 57-45, but it was a lot closer than it appeared on paper. At the half, the Wildcats only led 30-29, and the game was tied up heading into the fourth quarter. However, Wilsonville outscored the Cougars 18-6 in the final stanza.
This time, senior Thebiay took the reins on scoring, notching 18 points and 7 rebounds on the night. Reber was next in line with 12 points, followed by Roche and Reichle with 10 apiece. On the other side of the ball, Mountain View's Chase McClain scored 24 points. Chris Roche was proud of the way his team's defense performed late in the game.
"I thought Gabe Reichle and Zach Rivers did a terrific job on McClain," Roche said. "Even though he scored, we made him work for those points (8/22 from field). Jack played a tremendous floor game, and was a major disruptor on defense while also doing a great job leading us. And then Nolan Thebiay was a monster inside for us."
Looking ahead to the teams next game against 6A West Linn, Roche knows that there is room for improvement, but knows that there is still time for his team to grow into a championship caliber team. After all, Wilsonville started its last season 4-6, before sprinting to the playoff finals.
"We have 1,000 areas we can improve if we want to do so, but tonight we took some steps in the right direction," Roche said after the Mountain View win. "Nothing huge, but some good stuff. Some things we can build on, maybe, if we want to work at it and we are hungry. We looked like a team tonight. We were urgent, and we did it together. It was fun to watch."