Wilsonville ‘tough enough,’ fights off Silverton for record fifth consecutive trip to 5A final
Posted Mar 8, 2019

Jack Roche had 12 points, four rebounds and four assists Friday in the Wildcats' 50-45 semifinal win over Silverton.(Photo by Leon Neuschwander)

By Bob Lundeberg for The Oregonian/OregonLive

CORVALLIS — Another year, another trip to the final for the Wilsonville boys basketball program.

In what’s become an annual tradition, the second-seeded Wildcats punched their ticket to the Class 5A state tournament championship game by holding off No. 3 Silverton, 50-45, Friday afternoon at Gill Coliseum. It’s the fifth consecutive final appearance for Wilsonville, a state boys record among all classifications.

“I’m happy for all the kids who played those five years, because that’s an amazing thing,” Wildcats coach Chris Roche said. “That’s impossible to do, and credit goes to every one of those kids.”

North Salem (1930-33), Jesuit (2009-12) and West Linn (2013-16) reached four consecutive title games. Wilsonville, which is 2-2 in the past four 5A finals, will break new ground Saturday when it takes on No. 1 Churchill at 3:15 p.m.

“It really means a lot,” Wildcats junior Dakota Reber said. “Obviously I haven’t been here for all five, but it just feels good to get back.”

A tight, defensive game throughout, Wilsonville (26-2) created a little separation early in the fourth quarter at 40-32 on back-to-back baskets from Reber and Zachary Rivers.

The cushion didn’t last long as Silverton (24-3) pulled within one on Levi Nielsen’s three-point play. A couple minutes later, Jonah Downey hit two free throws to put the Foxes up 43-42 — their first lead since 2-0.

“We just kept our heads cool,” Nielsen said of the comeback. “We knew there were going to be a lot of ups and downs, and coach (Jamie McCarty) said the more mentally tough team was going to win. And I felt like we were just as mentally tough, and a few things went their way.”

Wilsonville jumped back in front at 45-43 on Jack Roche’s layup while the Foxes, champions of the Mid-Willamette Conference, turned it over on consecutive possessions. Silverton’s Josiah Roth was then called for a technical foul with 29 seconds left during an inbound play, and Roche made both free throws to make it a four-point game.

Roth received the technical for pushing a Wilsonville player out of bounds. The Wildcats got to keep the ball after Roche’s free throws.

“It’s just a tough call because coach always wants us to really get up into people,” Silverton junior point guard David Gonzales said. “During out-of-bounds plays, he says it’s you versus them. If they score, it’s all on you. That’s the only time defense is directly on one person; other than that it’s a team effort. I think Josiah was just trying to get up in him, he wasn’t getting screened or picked. Tough call.”

Coach Roche saw things a bit differently.

“They pushed our guy with the ball out of bounds with two hands, so they have no choice but to call a T there. That’s the right call,” he said. “And we made the free throws, which was nice because we hadn’t made many.”

The Northwest Oregon Conference-champion Wildcats finished 11 of 23 at the line. Jack Roche’s only two makes — both of which rattled home — on seven tries came after the technical.

Reber (2 of 2) and Rivers (1 of 2) salted it away from the line, sending Wilsonville back to the final.

“Silverton is a tremendous team,” coach Roche said. “It was going to come down to if we were tough enough today, and we were.”

Reber (16 points, 10 rebounds) and Keegan Shivers (14 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three steals) controlled the paint as Wilsonville outrebounded Silverton 33-23. The 6- foot-6 Reber also had a couple dunks and grabbed three offensive boards.

“Dakota’s a big, physical player who can get his own rebounds, get everyone’s rebounds,” Nielsen said. “He’s a leaper, so it was fun to battle him, and he’s a lot stronger than I thought.”

Jack Roche finished with 12 points, four assists and four rebounds.

Downey paced the Foxes, who will play No. 4 Willamette at 1:30 p.m. Saturday for third place, with 16 points. Nielsen added 11 points and 11 rebounds.

Shivers knocked down a three-pointer and Jack Roche followed with a close-range basket, putting Wilsonville up 11-4 early. The Wildcats led 15-9 after one quarter, but Silverton trimmed it to 19-18 late in the half on two free throws by Downey.

As the Foxes dealt with significant foul trouble, Wilsonville held a 21-18 advantage at the break. Gonzales ended the half with three fouls while Nielsen and Downey had two apiece. Wilsonville’s Gabe Reichle, Nolan Thebiay and Reber also were whistled for two first-half fouls.

Reichle, Gonzales and Roth fouled out.

Silverton tied it at 23-23 on Drake Ulven’s three-pointer and went up 31-29 when Roth split the defense and finished a layup. Reichle put his team back in front with a three-point play and the Wildcats led 36-32 heading to the final period.

“We just had to get back to what we knew how to do,” Reber said. “Move the ball, change a few things on defense and we just executed.”



SILVERTON (24-3): Jonah Downey 4-12 8-13 16; Levi Nielsen 5-6 1-1 11; David Gonzales 3-7 0-0 7; Josiah Roth 3-8 0-2 6; Drake Ulven 1-3 0-0 3; Owen Cote 1-1 0-0 2; Grant Dunn 0-2 0-0 0; Tashaun Treat 0-0 0-0 0; Jordan McCarty 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 9-16 45.

WILSONVILLE (26-2): Dakota Reber 7-9 2-2 16; Keegan Shivers 5-8 3-6 14; Jack Roche 5-12 2-7 12; Gabe Reichle 1-4 3-3 5; Zachary Rivers 1-4 1-3 3; Sam Westing 0-2 0-0 0; Nolan Thebiay 0-2 0-2 0; Andrew Classen 0-0 0-0 0; Grant Irby 0-0 0-0 0; Cason Dougall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-41 11-23 50.

Silverton..................... 9 9 14 13 - 45 Wilsonville................... 15 6 15 14 - 50

Three-point goals--Silverton 2-12 (David Gonzales 1-3; Drake Ulven 1-3; Josiah Roth 0-1; Grant Dunn 0-2; Jordan McCarty 0-2; Jonah Downey 0-1), Wilsonville 1-9 (Keegan Shivers 1- 1; Jack Roche 0-5; Gabe Reichle 0-1; Zachary Rivers 0-1; Sam Westing 0-1). Fouled out-- Silverton-Josiah Roth; David Gonzales, Wilsonville-Gabe Reichle. Rebounds--Silverton 23 (Levi Nielsen 11), Wilsonville 33 (Dakota Reber 10). Assists--Silverton 5 (Jonah Downey 2), Wilsonville 10 (Jack Roche 4). Total fouls--Silverton 21, Wilsonville 14.