Sunset now hosts Tualatin on Friday for a shot at a state tournament berth

CEDAR MILL — Sunset's regular season included some dramatic ups and downs.

The Apollo boys basketball team acquitted itself well in the Les Schwab Invitational, then started Metro League play at 3-1.

But Sunset hit a five-game skid in league after that and admittedly was MILES VANCE - TO THE HOOP - Sunset senior Tucker Hutchinson tries to make a layin over Thurston's Brendin Quinn during his team's Tuesday playoff win over the Colts at Sunset High School.

Now, however, the Apollos seem to be back on the upswing. The finished league play with a win, and now have put together back-to-back playoff wins, first beating McNary in a Class 6A Play-In game, then pounding Thurston 67-48 in the first round of the Class 6A state playoffs at Sunset High School on Tuesday.

Sunset is now one game from a berth in the Class 6A state tournament — that game a 7 p.m. contest against Tualatin on Friday night. The 10th-ranked Apollos' Tuesday win lifted their season record to 15-10, while No. 27 Tualatin — a 92-83 winner over No. 6 Sheldon on Tuesday — enters at 16-8. No. 23 Thurston finished its year at 12-13.

“We went through a little bit of a slump in the Metro League, but we're back, ready to go,” said Sunset senior Adam Mead, who had 11 points in the win over Thurston. “We're playing well and I think we can do great things.”

“We know it's the playoffs and we know each (game) could be our last, so we're just playing as hard as we possibly can,” added senior Tucker Hutchinson, who led his team with 12 points on Tuesday.

The Apollos started fast on Tuesday night, racing out to a 15-6 lead at the end of the first quarter thanks to three-pointers from Joe McFerrin III, Jonathan Willes and Hutchinson. Brendin Quinn scored all six points for Thurston in the opening period.

The second period was tighter, with Sunset extending its lead by just a point to 28-18 at the half, and senior Daniel Duitsman doing most of the heavy lifting for the Apollos, scoring seven of his 10 points in the frame. Caleb Wilson took over for Thurston in the second quarter, hitting two “threes” and scoring eight of his game-high 23 points.

The Apollos kept the pressure on in the third quarter and the Colts simply could not keep pace, watching Sunset extend its lead to 47-29 behind a late 7-0 run that included a Jeff Bieber three-point play, a Bieber free throw and then a Hutchinson “three” set up by Duitsman with two seconds left in the clock.

Mead and Hutchinson just kept rolling in the fourth quarter too, with Mead knocking down 4-of-6 shots in the final quarter while Hutchinson hit three of his final four shots from the floor.

“We have to look at this game and gain some confidence from it, and know that we can play this way, but we know we can still play better,” Hutchinson said. “We'll have to work hard, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday. We know it comes down to practice and how hard we work.”

“I think this is a trampoline, and we just took the first jump and we're going to keep going,” Mead added.

Bieber finished with nine points and McFerrin eight in the win, while Quinn added 12 for Thurston.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to

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