The Lions take the Cavaliers and Pacers best shots but emerge 2-0

The West Linn boys basketball team survived a scare against Lakeridge on Tuesday, needing a fourth-quarter rally to escape with a 63-54 victory.

The Lions struggled offensively after the first quarter and were out-hustled on the boards for much of the contest, allowing Lakeridge to build a five-point lead late in the third quarter.

But, with the game on the line, West Linn used stellar defense to mount a comeback, giving up just one field goal to the Pacers in the fourth quarter to get the victory.

The game started at a blistering pace with both teams filling up the net efficiently. Lakeridge hit six of its first seven shots with much of the damage coming in the paint while the Lions were hot from the outside.

West Linn knocked down six three-pointers in the first quarter, three by Payton Pritchard while Anthony Mathis had 10 first-quarter points to stake the Lions to a 24-18 lead.

Both teams traded threes to open the second quarter but then both offenses slowed down. The Pacer continued to control the paint and Lakeridge cut the lead to 37-36 at the break.

Lakeridge continued its strong play early in the third quarter as the Lions opened the second half with three consecutive turnovers.

Madison Pihl hurt the Lions for much of the game going off for 19 points and nine rebounds.

“We were really flat to start the second half especially with rebounding,” Viuhkola said.

As Lakeridge took the lead, West Linn looked for Ryan Shearmire who had been a non-factor in the first half.

Shearmire carried the Lions on offense in the second half and helped the Lions stay close, trailing only by three points with one period to play.

Mathis opened the fourth quarter by nailing another three-pointer to tie the game. Shearmire then started to take over again, scoring inside to give Wets Linn the lead.

Shearmire scored all of his 15 points in the second half and had three rebounds and a block in the fourth quarter.

“I thought Ryan played like a first-team all-state player in the second half. We wanted to really go inside to him and he was phenomenal,” Viuhkola said.

The Pacers turned to point guard Reggie Oliver for offense and his drives to the hoop were bottled up. Oliver went 0-for-6 in the final quarter and Lakeridge was held without a field goal until the final minute of regulation.

West Linn hit six of eight free throws to pad the lead and eventually pull away down the stretch.

“Every time we come in here it's a dogfight. They're scrappy and hard-nosed on defense,” Viuhkola said.

Mathis led the way with 16 points for the Lions while Pritchard and Shearmire each scored 15.

The win followed a tough victory over Clackamas in the league opener.

West Linn survived a hot shooting night by the Cavaliers to hold on for a 69-63 win.

Clackamas started the night hot and led 19-17 after the first quarter. West Linn would settle in and gain control of the game in the second quarter, cooling off the Cavaliers briefly to take a 35-32 lead at the half.

“They hit some really tough shots against us early and we did a nice job to withstand that,” Viuhkola said.

But Clackamas stayed in contention for the entirety of the second half, forcing West Linn to make big plays and hit free throws in the fourth quarter again.

Shearmire had 18 points in the game for the Lions and Hayden Coppedge had a nice shooting night with 16 points.

The Lions also knocked off Sprague 63-44 at the Rose Garden on Saturday, getting everyone playing time in a venue where the team hopes to be playing again in March.

West Linn will now gear up for a huge showdown at home on Friday against No. 1 Lake Oswego.

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