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Lions hold off Central Catholic in 6A boys final

West Linn prevailed over Central Catholic 45-41 in a tight game and scrambling finish, and the Lions captured the Class 6A boys basketball title Saturday night at the Rose Garden.

Central Catholic finished the season with a 24-5 record.

West Linn, which had knocked off No. 1-ranked Lake Oswego in the semifinals, was 23-6.by: MILES VANCE - Central Catholic's Mitchell Franz shoots over Jesuit's Sean Milligan during his team's 45-37 win over Jesuit in the semifinals of the Class 6A state tournament at the Rose Garden on Friday night.

Austin Dyer led the Rams with a game-high 19 points.

For the Lions, Anthony Mathis and Ryan Shearmire each had 15 points.

West Linn shot horribly in the first quarter, and Central Catholic was able to take the early lead. The Rams were on top 11-9 after one quarter, with the Lions hitting 3 of 12 from the field, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

The Rams weren't much better, and they also were cold through most of the second quarter.

West Linn wound up with a 19-17 advantage at the break, despite making 3 of 8 free throws and 7 of 23 (30.4 percent) from the field. The Rams were 6 of 22 (27.3 percent) from the floor in the opening half, going 1 of 9 from beyond the arc (West Linn was 2 of 8). Central Catholic made 4 of 5 foul shots.

Dyer led the Rams with nine first-half points, while Shearmire had 11 for West Linn.

Each team had 17 rebounds, and Central Catholic had six turnovers to five by the Lions.

West Linn seized a 25-17 lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter. The Rams responded with some good defense and inside shots to get within 25-23.

West Linn halted the moment and had a 40-30 lead midway through the final quarter.

The Rams were down 43-35 going into the closing three minutes, then hit a rebound basket and forced a turnover. Another jumper made the score 43-39.

West Linn hit a free throw with 1:11 to go, and Dyer made a putback just inside the final minute to pull the Rams within 44-41.

The Lions called a timeout with 56.4 seconds to go, then had to call another one at the 46.4-second mark when they couldn't get the ball across halfcourt.

Central Catholic then forced a jump ball, with the possession arrow going to the Rams.

CC missed a 3 and a rebound opportunity, though, and fouled as West Linn came up with the ball with 24.5 seconds left.

Shearmire missed a 1-and-1, and the Rams rebounded.

Then came a wild possession, with Central Catholic missing a couple of shots, the ball bouncing around loose, and finally the Rams being called for a fall.

Shearmire made the first of a 1-and-1 with 3.2 seconds remaining, West Linn rebounded the miss on his second attempt, and the Lions ran out the clock.