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Unheralded Bowmen storm to quarterfinal victory

Boys basketball: Sherwood opens the state tourney by scoring a 52-44 win over Mountain View
by: JAIME VALDEZ, BUZZER BEATER — Sherwood senior Travis Lutes drives to the basket for a layup just before the third quarter expires. The Bowmen beat Mountain View 52-44.

EUGENE - The Sherwood High School boys basketball team entered the Class 5A state tournament in a definite underdog role.

Well, those underdogs went out and earned themselves a spot in the state tourney semifinals.

The unranked Bowmen earned a spot in the tournament final four by running to a 52-44 win over Mountain View of Bend in a tourney quarterfinal game played March 12 at McArthur Court.

'So far, this is our biggest win of the season,' Sherwood senior Connor Rumpf said after the victory. 'No one expected us to do anything here, so this is exciting.'

'That was awesome,' Sherwood coach Brian Burke said. 'The kids showed a lot of poise and confidence. They really believe in themselves.'

Sherwood, the No. 3 team out of the Northwest Oregon Conference, improved to 17-10 on the season with the victory. Mountain View, the No. 2 team from the Intermountain Conference fell to 15-11 on the season with the loss.

Sherwood started strong in the tournament quarterfinal contest. Rumpf set the tone early, sinking a three-pointer off a pass from senior post Kole Krieger on the team's first possession.

'That felt good the whole way,' Rumpf said with a smile.

The Bowmen, getting baskets by Rumpf, senior Ian Donovan and junior Colin Wester, ended the first quarter on a 6-0 run, giving them a 14-10 lead going into the second quarter.

Sherwood kept rolling in the second quarter. Senior guard Travis Lutes scored on a drive and senior Ian Donovan nailed a three-pointer from the right side to up the lead to 22-15 with 6 minutes and 19 seconds to play in the period.

But, even with Rumpf hitting a pair of three-pointers, Mountain View cut the lead to 27-24 at halftime.

The Cougars continued to battle back in the third quarter. They tied the game at 35-35 on a put-back basket by senior post Nick Ridling coming with 53 seconds left in the period.

Sherwood regained the lead, at 37-35, when senior Lutes scored on a buzzer-beating drive to the basket, giving the Bowmen a two-point cushion going into the fourth quarter. The wouldn't trail the rest of the way.

Sherwood, on a pair of free throws by Rumpf and one each by senior Elliot Loucks and Lutes, scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to up its lead to 41-35.

The Bowmen then opened up a 46-39 lead on a pair of free throws by Krieger with 1:26 left to play.

Wester and Lutes each went 2-for-2 from the foul line in the final minute of play to wrap up the 52-44 win.

'This is our biggest win so far this season,' Donovan said. 'Coming in, we knew we'd have to play well. We played well as a team. That was the big thing. Going up against bigger teams motivates us. We feel like we can compete with anyone in the state.'

'This is huge,' Krieger said. 'Even though we're smaller, we can take on the bigger teams. It's all teamwork. Our motto is 'Us.''

Rumpf led a balanced Sherwood scoring attack in the victory with 13 points, with 11 of those points coming in the first half, when he made three of four shots from three-point range.

'We played like a team,' Rumpf said. 'We played good team defense tonight. That was the key to the game.'

Wester scored 12 for the Bowmen while Lutes and Donovan each added 10.

The Bowmen also outrebounded the taller Cougars by a 36-21 margin. Rumpf led Sherwood with eight rebounds while Wester and Krieger each had seven boards.

'It's all about effort getting to the ball,' Donovan said of the rebounding advantage. 'We try to play harder than the other team does.'

Rumpf led Sherwood with four assists and Donovan had three steals.

Meanwhile, on defense, Krieger and Elliot Loucks helped limit Sean Dart, Mountain View's standout 6-foot-7 post, to 12 points.

'It's a lot of work,' the 6-2 Krieger said. 'And it takes a lot of trust in your teammates. A lot of teams are bigger and have more talent, but we work harder. Everyone on this team plays their hardest all the time.'

Sherwood, as a team, made 17 of 38 shots from the field and 13 of 19 free throws. The Bowmen had just six turnovers.

'We did a lot of the little things,' Burke said. 'I felt like we made the extra passes. For this group, this is really special.'

Dart's 12 points led Mountain View. Brady Brent added 11 points for the Cougars.