Comeback attempt falls just short for WL boys

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN West Linn freshman Anthony Mathis drives against a Wilsonville defender in Tuesday’s 70-69 loss to the Wildcats. Mathis had a solid game and helped lead a fourth-quarter comeback that came up just short.

The West Linn boys basketball team made a handful of second-half comeback attempts but couldn't quite get over the hump in suffering its first loss of the season on Tuesday 70-69 to Wilsonville.

A lull early in the third quarter was the Lions' undoing as the Wildcats capitalized on West Linn's cold shooting spell to build a double-digit advantage.

But the Lions would continue to fight, cutting the lead to one point on three separate occasions in the fourth quarter including when Mitch Cokley's three-pointer banked in at the buzzer.

Ultimately the Wildcats' hung on, dropping West Linn to 3-1 on the year.

It was a hard-fought battle with rival Wilsonville, one of the top teams in 5A this year. The Wildcats executed their offense well all evening, leading to multiple easy buckets.

Wilsonville led 19-13 after the first quarter but the Lions stormed back to take the lead in the second quarter, getting solid play from freshman Anthony Mathis.

The Wildcats would knock down a jumper at the halftime buzzer to tie the game 29-29 at the half.

West Linn applied heavy pressure on Wilsonville's guards for much of the game but the Wildcats didn't have much trouble with it in the early going.

The Wildcats shot the ball very well to start the third quarter and quickly built up a 43-35 lead as the Lions went cold.

West Linn got three-pointers from Hayden Coppedge and Devon Hawkins to stop the bleeding but Wilsonville continued to maintain its lead, pushing it to 12 points, by getting good looks close to the basket.

The Lions' pressure finally started to get to Wilsonville at the end of the third quarter, causing a pair of turnovers. A late hoop from Cokely made it a 52-47 game with on period left.

Mathis scored a quick hoop in the fourth quarter to cut the lead to one but Wilsonville then tightened up its defense.

The Lions could only muster contested shots and the Wildcat lead swelled to nine again.

Again, West Linn would get an answer from Mathis as he converted a three-point play and drained a three-pointer on an assist from Cokley to make it 62-59 with three minutes to play.

A steal and basket from Cokley made it 65-64 Wilsonville but the Lions couldn't get the key hoop to give them the lead.

After Wilsonville knocked down one of two free throws, a bad turnover led to an easy hoop for the Wildcats, putting them up by four.

On the team's final possession, Cokley tried to draw a foul on his three-point shot that went in but didn't get the whistle.

The loss follows a tough 47-43 win over Tigard last week as the Lions used a strong defensive effort to hold off the pesky Tigers in the second half.

West Linn will host Southridge this Friday and play in the Lakeridge tournament next week.