The Sunset boys now get another shot at 11 champ Southridge

CORVALLIS — Sunset's boys water polo team went through the wringer during the West Metro League regular season.

The Apollos battled defending state champion Southridge tooth and nail, fought 2012 co-champ Lincoln for all they were worth and got tested too by Beaverton along the way. So by the time they got to Friday's Oregon High School State playoffs at Osborn Aquatic Center, they were ready.

Sunset proved that twice on Friday, opening the playoffs with a 14-10 win over Lakeridge, then adding a 14-11 victory over Sheldon in the first round of the state championship tournament later in the day. That success helped the Apollos advance to the state semifinals, where they'll face Southridge at 7:20 p.m. Friday at Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center.

Sunset 14, Lakeridge 10

Sunset got a shock in its state playoff opener when the Pacers, the second-place team from the Pacific Conference, raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first quarter.

The Apollos didn't p[panic, however, answered with a 6-0 edge in the second quarter, extended that edge to 11-7 after three periods and held on to win by four.

In that decisive second quarter, the Apollos got a great 1-2 punch from Grant Johnson and Ben Lewis, with Johnson three times in the quarter, Lewis connecting twice and Braden Esping adding one more.

Lakeridge tried to answer with two third-quarter goals from Ethan Troftgruben, but Sunset would have none of it, getting three scores in the period from Braden Martinez and two more from Lewis to hang on.

For the game, Lewis led Sunset with five goals, Martinez added four and Johnson three.

Troftgruben led Lakeridge with five scores while teammate Matthew Berman added three.

Sunset 14, Sheldon 11

Fourteen was the magic number for the Apollos again against Sheldon, with Sunset putting together an 8-3 edge in the second half to pull away and win.

Sunset and Sheldon took turns punching and counterpunching through a 5-4 first quarter that saw the Apollos pull ahead thanks to two goals each by Lewis and Johnson. Nathaniel Klump led the Irish with two in that period.

But Sheldon stepped up to take the second quarter 4-1 and carried an 8-6 lead into the half, with Noah Miller scoring twice for the Irish and Lewis getting Sunset's lone goal.

The Apollos' defense cracked down in the second half, though, with goalie Sean O'Brien making six saves in the second half and opening the door for Sunset's scorers to break the game open. They did that with a 4-2 edge in the third that featured two scores each from Martinez and Johnson, then used a 4-1 fourth quarter to put the game on ice. Esping and Johnson scored twice each in the final period.

Johnson finished with six goals while Lewis and Martinez had three each. Klump and Miller had three each in the loss.

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