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PREPS: Rams can't stick with Lions

Central Catholic hung with West Linn for most of their Class 6A quarterfinal game Thursday. With 6:30 remaining in the third quarter, the eighth-seeded Rams trailed the No. 1 Lions 30-28.

But defending state champion West Linn played too well and fundamentally sound for Central Catholic to get over the hump. The Lions built a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter and held on for a 74-63 win at Moda Center.

“They’re really good, there’s no question,” Central Catholic coach Dan Munson said. “When they got the lead and we started missing shots, you have to try to speed things up a little bit, and unfortunately we didn’t convert. We missed a lot of good looks early.

"They’re physical, they’ve been here, they got into us and then you’re playing from behind. It’s hard to play from behind against a team that knows how to win like they do.”

Central Catholic headed into the consolation bracket, where it will face South Medford at 9 a.m. Friday.

“We have to come out strong and be ready to play,” guard Deante Strickland said.

The Lions moved into the semifinals, where they will face Jesuit at 3:15 p.m. Friday. Jesuit downed South Medford 42-36 on Thursday.

West Linn shot lights out all afternoon, connecting on 23 of 42 (.548) from the field.

The Lions also took advantage of their opportunities at the free-throw line, hitting 23 of 26 (.885).

Anthony Mathis led WL with a game-high 31 points. Payton Pritchard added 21, and Hayden Coppedge scored 10.

Central Catholic went 24 of 60 (.400) from the floor and got 16 points from Strickland.

“I loosened up my arms a little bit,” he said. “I got a lot of shots up before the game, and I just felt good.”

Central Catholic also got good production from its bench, with Ben College scoring 14 points and Ryan Nall adding 13.

“We had a lot of energy coming off the bench,” Nall said, of himself and College. “That helped out a lot.”

After Central Catholic cut the lead to 30-28, West Linn stemmed the tide.

“We had a couple of defensive breakdowns,” Munson said. “The ball screen gave us some problems at times. We were inconsistent, and you can’t beat a team like that that way.”

The Lions gave themselves an insurmountable lead on the last breath of the third quarter when Anthony Mathis threw up an off balance five-foot desperation shot just before the horn sounded. The ball banked in, putting West Linn up 47-37.

In the early stages of the game, West Linn constructed a 12-6 lead, but the Rams turned to a fullcourt press and got within 14-11 by the end of the opening quarter.

Central Catholic took off the press in the second quarter, but still hung with West Linn. Heading into intermission, the Rams trailed 28-24.