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Crusaders edge Cats, get second

Jesuit's 50-48 win lifts the Crusaders to second in the Metro League
by: MILES VANCE, UNDER PRESSURE — Jesuit’s Brenton Spickerman tries to get off  a shot while being pressured by Westview’s Terrell Wallace during the Crusaders’ 50-48 home win last Thursday at Jesuit High School.

BEAVERTON - Metro League basketball was front and center in last week's regular season finale between Westview and Jesuit's boys.

As usual, the game was close - there were six ties and 13 lead changes - it was meaningful - the winner took second place and the loser third - and it wasn't decided until Jesuit's Spencer Beyrle sank two foul shots with three seconds left to give his team a 50-48 victory at Jesuit High School.

The victory sent Jesuit into a Wednesday playoff match-up against Centennial after the Valley Times' press deadline, while Westview hosted Sheldon yesterday. With wins in those games, the Crusaders would either host Clackamas (likely at 7 p.m.) or play at North Medford at 6 p.m. Saturday, while Westview would either host Gresham or play at Grant Saturday.

'Earlier in the year I missed some free throws that could have won us some games and I just didn't want that to happen again,' said Beyrle, a senior who finished with 10 points. 'I wanted to knock it down for the team. I was telling myself 'You're going to make it.''

'It was another Metro League basketball game. It's that way every night,' said Jesuit coach Gene Potter. 'We just told the kids 'Every possession is a championship possession because you never know what's going to happen in the game.''

Westview, meanwhile, remained confident of its chances in the playoffs and satisfied with its level of play against Jesuit.

'I thought we all played pretty well. We just had a tough break at the end,' said Westview sophomore Garrett Jackson, who led all scorers with 18 points. 'We're feeling really good. We feel like we played pretty well.'

'If we play together like we always do, things will come out on the upside. I think it's our turn to come out on top now,' added Wildcat senior Terrell Wallace, who finished with five points and nine assists. 'We'll come back, keep our heads up and come out the next game.'

Jesuit, which played without sophomore starting guard Stephen Holt - who missed the game due to illness - started fast against the Wildcats, getting a three-pointer and five points from Brenton Spickerman to lead 11-6 midway through the opening period - its biggest lead of the game.

The Wildcats answered in kind, however, ripping off 10 points in a row - six by Jackson and four from Wallace - to pull ahead 16-11 late in the first quarter for their biggest lead of the game.

From there, however, the two teams entered a punch-counterpunch battle for the next 2-1/2 quarters, with neither team leading by more than three points until Westview ripped off five straight and grabbed a 48-44 edge on Wallace's foul shot with 3 minutes, 4 seconds left in the game.

But Jesuit's Michael Hart came back with one free throw, and Spickerman - who led his team with 16 points - followed with a three-pointer from the left corner that tied the game at 48-48 with 2:17 left on the clock.

Westview had its chances in the final minutes, but saw Jackson, Andy Poling (14 points) and Wallace all miss shots from the field and Poling miss the front end of a one-and-one free throw attempt with 1:54 to go.

Jesuit then worked the clock down inside 10 seconds before Hart drove down the lane, drew the Westview defense to him and dished to Beyrle on the right block. Beyrle was fouled by Westview's Tim Coons with three seconds to go, converted both his free throw attempts for the final 50-48 margin, and Wallace's desperation attempt was off the mark.

'Mike had a great drive to set that up. I'm glad we could deliver,' Beyrle said.

'I thought our team showed a lot of pride and I thought we played with everything that we got,' Spickerman said. 'They're a really good team, but I just thought we came out with a lot of energy and … it was a dogfight to the end.'

For the game, Jesuit hit 20-of-48 shots from the field (including five three-pointers), 5-of-9 free throws and committed just seven turnovers. Spickerman hit 7-of-13 shots with two three-pointers in the win, and Kyle Wiltjer added 10 points.

Westview made 18-of-45 shots (including two 'threes') and 10-of-17 free throws while committing 10 turnovers. Jackson hit 9-of-12 shots for the Wildcats.