West Linn drains 13 3-pointers in its first game since Les Schwab Invitational

by: VERN UYETAKE - Hayden Coppedge had 17 points and a solid all-around game in West Linn's 77-61 victory over Tigard Tuesday. The Lions are now ranked No. 3 in the state by the OSAA.The West Linn boys basketball team knocked off a dangerous Tigard squad on the road Tuesday 77-61, topping the Tigers for the second time this year.

The Lions had a lights-out shooting performance and fended off a handful of Tigard runs as their strong performance in the Les Schwab Invitational carried over against a team that could very well be a contender by the end of the year.

“They've played a really tough schedule and they're still getting guys back from football. They're going to be a team to beat,” coach Eric Viuhkola said.

West Linn got started quickly, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers in the early going to build a 14-6 lead. The Lions would go up 22-14 at the end of the first quarter as Anthony Mathis had the hot hand early.

West Linn's defense carried the day in the second quarter as it forced contested shots from the Tigers. Tigard could only muster eight points in the period as the pace slowed down slightly and West Linn led 34-22 at the break.

In the third quarter, Ryan Shearmire caught fire. He drained all three of his 3-point attempts and hit his first five shots from long range as the Lions threatened to push the lead to 20.

Tigard would stay in the contest, however, closing with a late 6-0 run to bring the advantage back down to 10 points.

“We got into a little foul trouble and we got tentative. I wasn't really happy with our defense in the second half but we were shooting so well that we were just trading baskets,” Viuhkola said.

West Linn would all but seal the game in the early moments of the fourth quarter, countering with a 6-0 run of its own.

Point guard Payton Pritchard found the open man all night to the tune of 14 assists and also had a strong layup to extend his team's advantage.

“We missed a few shots that normally go down otherwise Payton might have had 20 assists. When he's making the easy play it opens everything up for him,” Viuhkola said.

Tigard could never cut into the deficit significantly in the final quarter and the Lions came away with another solid victory after having a week off.

“It's been good to go through what we have this year. We've played a lot of basketball already and we know that to reach our goals this year we have to be a lockdown defensive team,” Viuhkola said.

Mathis had 24 points in the game and Shearmire added 23. Hayden Coppedge also scored 17 in what Viuhkola said was one of his best games.

West Linn will close out the preseason with a pair of tough games against Westview and Grant before opening league play against Clackamas next week.

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