Westview's boys feel that they're beginning to turn the corner on the court
by: JONATHAN HOUSE, GET AFTER IT — Westview’s Garrett Jackson (left) fights for a rebound with Mark Morris’ Jeray Key during the Wildcats’ win at the Les Schwab Invitational.

HILLSBORO - Needless to say, it's been a difficult preseason for the Westview boys basketball team.

The Wildcats had lost five straight games heading into the Les Schwab Invitational at Liberty High School and added another in last Wednesday's first round with a wild 60-56 setback to Enumclaw, Wash. That changed Thursday, however, when Westview beat Mark Morris, Wash., 43-32 before falling to Metro League foe Jesuit 49-46 on Friday and closing strong with Saturday's 70-68 victory over Central Catholic.

'Every game, we were in it,' junior Tim Coons said of the losing streak. 'We just couldn't put 32 minutes together. We played a solid 28 to 29 then things would fall apart at the end of the game.'

Thursday's win reversed that with Westview shutting out Mark Morris in the fourth quarter. And the Wildcats left the elite 16-team tournament encouraged after rallying in Saturday's finale to beat Central Catholic, a team they lost to earlier this season.

'It was a big boost for us to leave the Les Schwab 2-2 with the win over Central Catholic,' Westview coach Pat Coons said. 'We played good teams and have played so many teams close, so to come back from eight points back in the second half and control the end of it was a real confidence booster for our kids.'

Four Wildcats scored in double figures against the Rams, led by Hayes Garrity's 14 points. Garrett Jackson (13 points), Andy Poling (12) and Terrell Wallace (11) added to a full team effort.

'Most importantly, it was a real balanced win for our guys,' Coons said. 'A bunch of kids played well and walked away feeling they had played a complete game.'

Tim Coons drained a pair of key three-pointers in the second half when the Wildcats shot 60.7 percent as a team, including 4-of-9 behind the arc. Westview improved to 4-7 on the season with the victory.

'We hope that sets the tone for what's coming up,' coach Coons said. 'The kids know they're a good team even though their record is under .500. We just needed to get over the hump.'

The Wildcats finally did as much with Thursday's win against Mark Morris. Hayes had a team-high 11 points and Poling scored 10 and pulled down 10 rebounds to help Westview snap its six-game slide.

'We were really sick of losing,' Garrity said. 'We were really hungry. We had to come out and play as hard as we could to win.'

Still, the Wildcats shot just 26.7 percent from the floor and trailed 21-17 at halftime.

'We looked like we'd roll over and die in the first half,' Tim Coons said. But 'we came out pumped up in the second half.'

'I really thought we had to come out hard on offense, but it was our defense that sparked us,' Garrity said. 'We really buckled down and got it together.'

And how. Mark Morris shot just 4-of-22 in the second half, with all its field goals coming in the third quarter before being shut out in the final period.

Westview took a 24-21 lead on Poling's three-point play with 5:39 left in the third and headed into the final quarter tied 32-32 after Garrity's baseline jumper

Coons buried a three-pointer from Poling for a 35-32 lead and the Wildcats turned up the defensive pressure in blanking the Monarchs during an 11-0 fourth quarter.

'I'm happy about the win,' Tim Coons said. 'We were done feeling sorry for ourselves.'

You couldn't blame Westview for feeling as much after Enumclaw drained a half-court shot at the buzzer to send Wednesday's opener into overtime. There, Enumclaw took just two shots, but hit both and 5-of-7 free throws while the Wildcats went 2-of-6 from the floor in the 60-56 loss.

Poling led Westview with 17 points to go with 14 rebounds. Garrity chipped in 13 points, while Coons hit a pair of three-pointers and finished with 10 points.

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