Westside takes 6th
Westside Christian played in three close games at last week's state tournament and finished with a 1-2 record, good enough for sixth place overall. Just making it to Salem was worthy of celebration as the team was 4-20 last year but the Eagles made it clear early on that they intended to make some noise.
In the team's first game of the tournament, Westside squared off against top-ranked Regis which only had one loss this year and it was at the hands of the Eagles.
The game turned early in the third quarter when Regis went on a 16-7 run to go ahead by double digits. However, the Eagles scored the last five points of the quarter to get within striking distance.
It was a nerve-wracking final quarter but the Eagles were never able to get over the hump. Regis would go on to win the state title. Wade Moyer had 28 points in the game to lead the Eagles.
'Both teams are similar and we felt we matched up better with Regis than any other team in the tournament. I think we believed in our hearts that we were going to beat them,' coach Craig Burgess said.
In the consolation bracket, Westside first took on Umatilla and the Eagles were, once again, mired in a close battle. Umatilla used a strong second quarter to take a nine-point lead at the half.
However, the Eagles weren't fazed. After the break, Westside rallied to play some of its best basketball, cutting the lead to three points. Westside tied the game late but a foul was called against the Eagles with no time on the clock. However, Umatilla missed both free throws which sent the game into overtime. In the extra period, the Eagles pulled away for the thrilling 71-67 win.
Then, in the consolation championship game, Westside took on Harrisburg and fell behind again in the first half. This time the Eagles couldn't rally, falling 61-49. Moyer had 28 points in that game and was named to first-team all-tournament.
'I'm so proud of what this team was able to do. The first thing one of our guys said after the tournament was 'State in '09,'' Burgess said.
Westside Christian also won the tournament's sportsmanship award and four of its five starters will return next season.