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Beavers hang on to beat Spartans

Beaverton gets 31 points from Ryan Meehan, survives Hillsboro comeback
by: MILES VANCE, UP AND OVER — Beaverton senior David Mabry soars over Hillsboro’s Kyle Meeuwsen during the Beavers’ 69-65 win at Hillsboro on Friday night.

HILLSBORO - Beaverton's boys basketball team went old school in its non-league matchup on Friday, battling former Metro League foe Hillsboro in another memorable contest at Hillsboro High School.

The Beavers dominated Friday's game for three quarters against the Spartans (3-1), now a member of the Class 5A Northwest Oregon Conference, taking a 23-point lead into the fourth quarter at 55-32. But Hillsboro got 15 fourth-quarter points from senior guard Nick Schultens and cut the Beavers' lead to as little as three points at 65-62 before Beaverton pulled away at the free throw line to win 69-65.

'I think the first couple of 'threes' (Shultens) hit were open, ... but the last few he just hit 'em in people's faces,' said Beaverton senior David Mabry, who finished with 11 points. 'He couldn't miss. He was on fire and there really wasn't anything we could do about that.'

'Schultens got hot,' said Beaverton coach Jason Maki. 'Shooters like that, once they get hot, it doesn't matter who's there.'

In all, Schultens scored 20 of his team-high 24 points in the second half, but Beaverton countered with another big game from its leading scorer, junior wing Ryan Meehan. Meehan poured in a game-high 31 points and played a big role in his team's fourth-quarter success at the foul line. There, Meehan hit four straight chances, and as a team, the Beavers converted 10 straight in the final 1 minute, 10 seconds to salt their win away.

'They could play 6A with anybody. They're a tough team,' Meehan said of the Spartans. But 'once we got in our groove, we were playing pretty well together.'

'We've had a lot of fun games out here,' Maki said. 'I remember Taylor Barton out here making free throws down the stretch and this was kind of reminiscent of that.'

In the first three quarters Friday night, Hillsboro just couldn't match Beaverton's size and inside play. The Beavers got all 20 of their first-quarter points from Mabry (8), Meehan (8) and Pita Fusitua (4), their three tallest starters, to lead 20-9 with the Spartans trying to stay close behind Kyle Meeuwsen's five and four from Mike Abraham.

Beaverton then built its lead as high as 19 points in the second quarter, with Meehan scoring nine straight points and boosting the edge to 35-16 when he rebounded a Spencer Gambee miss, took it back outside and knocked down a three-pointer with 3 minutes, 4 seconds left in the first half.

Hillsboro cut the gap to 38-25

at the break thanks to five free throws and a Schultens 'three,' but the Beavers got right back after it in the third quarter and outscored the Spartans 17-7 to take a 55-32 lead into the final period. Meehan went for six in the period, Fusitua added four and Brett Walker drained a three-pointer in the frame.

The Spartans chipped away at the Beavers' edge for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter, getting two 'threes' from Jeremy Lorence, but still trailed 59-48 after Drew Perry's jumpshot from the free throw line with 2:02 left.

'You have to credit them. They were flying all over the place,' Maki said of the Spartans. 'The most aggressive team usually wins, and I think tonight, we were usually the aggressors, but in the fourth quarter, they definitely were.'

Then it got really interesting.

Lorence hit again from long range, then added two free throws, and then Schultens took over with a three-pointer, three free throws and two more 'threes' on consecutive possessions in a span of just 55 seconds, the last of those bombs cutting the Beaver lead to 67-65 with four seconds left.

The Beavers were rock solid at the four line, though, hitting 10 straight in that final 1:10, with Cam Rier, Brad Noonan and Kyle Meacham hitting two each to go with Meehan's four.

'Rier and Noonan hadn't played the entire game and they came in and they made them,' Maki said. 'That's what Rier does and Noonan's a Noonan. He can come in and do that.'

For the game, Fusitua added 10 and Steven Finau six for Beaverton. Lorence finished with 15 and Meeuwsen 14 for the Spartans.

Beaverton added a 69-63 win over Gresham on Tuesday to improve to 3-1 overall.