West Linn knocks off OC and Clackamas, overcoming a pair of slow starts

by: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Ryan Shearmire avoids a charge while putting up a lay-in during West Linn's win over Clackamas on Tuesday.After a lackluster first 12 minutes of play, the West Linn boys basketball team stormed past Clackamas at home on Tuesday with an 82-66 win, keeping the Lions within striking distance of Lake Oswego for the league lead.

The fired-up Cavaliers hung with the Lions for the first half, keeping West Linn's offense in check and jumping out to a seven-point lead midway through the second period.

After the Lions led 16-14 following the first period, Clackamas opened the second quarter on a 13-4 run.

Ryan Shearmire had some early success for West Linn, hurting the Cavaliers both inside and outside and would finish with a game-high 26 points.

The Lions rallied from their deficit quickly. Hayden Coppedge sparked the rally with two strong drives to the basket, followed by a Shearmire three-pointer.

Another drive from Coppedge late in the quarter put West Linn back on top 30-29 which would be the score at halftime.

The Lions kept their momentum going after the break and were incredibly active on both sides of the ball.

Jarrod Howard gave West Linn a spark with a big steal and then back-to-back three-pointers as the Lions opened the second half on a 12-4 run.

Clackamas did succeed in getting the Lions into some foul trouble but West Linn still led 57-47 with one quarter to play.

The Lions effectively put the game out of reach with their play in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

West Linn was aggressive and attacked the rim, converting a trio of three-point plays to spark a 15-6 run, ballooning the lead to more than 20 points.

The Cavaliers refused to go away, however, getting the lead down to 11 at 75-64 with a little over two minutes to play in the contest.

But, on West Linn's next possession, Anthony Mathis drained a big three-pointer to all but put the game away.

The victory followed a 64-49 win over Oregon City on Friday that mirrored Tuesday's contest.

The Pioneers jumped out to a five-point lead after the first quarter and led by two at the half before the Lions righted the ship coming out of the locker room.

West Linn clamped down on defense, holding Oregon City to just six points in the third quarter and then caught fire in the fourth period, scoring 23 points to put the game away.

Mathis had the hot hand for the Lions with a game-high 28 points.

The Lions move to 5-1 in league and remain ranked No. 5 in the state by the OSAA. West Linn takes on Lakeridge at home this Friday. The Pacers are currently third in the league and took a lead into the fourth quarter against the Lions in the teams' last meeting.

Friday's game will also be a Night With the Lions where youth players get free admittance by wearing their uniforms.

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