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Bowmen earn hardware at end of turnaround season

Basketball: The Sherwood boys record their highest state tourney placing since 1982
by: DAN BROOD, THUMP — Sherwood’s Connor Rumpf (right) knocks over Thurston’s Jonny Wymore on his way to the hoop.

EUGENE - They've certainly come a long way.

To put it in specific terms, the Sherwood High School boys basketball team went from an 0-3 start to Northwest Oregon Conference play to a trophy-winning performance at the Class 5A state tournament.

There's only one thing that may have made it even better for a Bowmen - that would be a win in their final game of the season.

Still, despite a 66-42 loss to Thurston in the tourney third-place game played Saturday at McArthur Court, the Bowmen were still happy that they weren't going home empty handed as they claimed the tournament fifth-place trophy.

'We were hoping to play on the last day of the state tournament. That was one of our goals,' Sherwood senior Travis Lutes said after Saturday's game. 'We're not happy with how it ended, it wasn't our day, but we're happy to be bringing home a trophy.'

Unranked Sherwood, which was the No. 3 team from the Northwest Oregon Conference, finished its season with a final record of 17-12. More importantly, the fifth place finish at the Class 5A boys state tournament marks the school's best finish since the 1982 Sherwood squad won the Class AA state tournament consolation trophy.

'To go from 0-3 and 2-4 starts in league to finishing fifth in state is pretty impressive,' Sherwood coach Brian Burke said. 'No one, outside of this group, thought we'd be here.'

'Winning a trophy means a lot to us,' Sherwood junior Colin Wester said. 'We got a lot better during the season. We played better as a team. It was definitely a fun season.'

The Bowmen, who defeated Mountain View and fell to Jefferson earlier in the state tournament (see related stories), found themselves facing a quick deficit in Saturday's third-place game against No. 6-ranked Thurston.

The Colts, led by 6-foot-7, University of Oregon bound-senior Drew Wiley, jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the game was even two and a half minutes old.

Sherwood, with Lutes scoring four points and with seniors Connor Rumpf and Elliot Loucks each sinking a three-pointer, was able to close the gap to 17-13 by the end of the first quarter.

The Bowmen got even closer early in the second quarter. Senior Ian Donovan sank a three-pointer from the top of the circle to cut the Thurston lead to 17-16.

But the Colts answered back in a big way. With junior Maddie Boehm driving to the hoop for a pair of baskets, and with senior Tim Autele connecting on a three-pointer, Thurston went on a quick 11-0 run to up its lead to 28-16 with 3:55 left in the second quarter.

Sherwood, which got a 12-foot jumper by Donovan and another basket on a drive by Lutes late in the period, found itself facing a 33-20 halftime deficit.

Thurston then all but put the game away in the third quarter. The Colts outscored Sherwood 17-4 in the opening 5:18 of the period to up their lead to 50-24. Rumpf converted a three-point play and Lutes went 2-for-2 from the foul line late in the quarter, but the Bowmen still found themselves trailing 55-29 going into the final stanza.

Sherwood, to its credit, kept battling throughout the fourth quarter. Senior Chad Miller sank a short-range jumper, junior Chase Thorson made a free throw and Donovan buried a three-pointer from the left corner to make the score 61-36 with 4:26 left to play. Rumpf and Donovan each scored baskets toward the end of the contest, making the final score 66-42.

'They're very good,' Burke said of Thurston. 'And we looked tired.'

'Thurston is a very good team with a lot of good players,' Lutes said. 'We kept battling, but it's not our day.'

Donovan was Sherwood's top scorer in the third-place game with 12 points. Rumpf added 11 points and Lutes scored 10. Senior Kole Krieger pulled down a team-high five rebounds.

Sherwood made 14 of 39 shots from the field and 10 of 16 free throws.

Wiley led the way for Thurston with 18 points. He scored 12 of those points in the first half. Senior Michael Akins scored 12 points.

The state tournament third-place game marked the final high school contest for Sherwood seniors Lutes, Donovan, Krieger, Rumpf, Miller, Loucks and Jordi Tabert.

'The seniors meant a lot to us,' Wester said. 'They gave us some great leadership. We're going to have some big shoes to fill.'