West's rally not enough to knock off defending champions

by Jarrid Denney, Corvallis Gazette-Times

March 11, 2020

There were plenty of moments Wednesday when West Albany's boys basketball team could have simply folded and decided it wasn't their day.

Matched up against the defending state champions, a Wilsonville team that hasn't lost a game in over three months and has yet to lose to a 5A opponent this season, West found itself in a deep hole early as the Wildcats unleashed an offensive barrage.

And yet, with five minutes to go, the Bulldogs had the Wildcats on their heels and trailed by just eight points have falling behind by 16 a few minutes earlier.

"We just kind of got mad," West guard Austin Stanaway said. "We don't wanna lose. We didn't want to give up and we just tried to get it as close as we could."

The Bulldogs ultimately fell short and lost 61-42 in the 5A quarterfinals at Gill Coliseum. Wilsonville shot 75 percent from the field (24-of-32) and out-rebounded the Bulldogs 18-17.  But for a two-minute stretch midway through the fourth quarter, West went on an 8-0 run to make if 48-40 and force a Wilsonville timeout.

"We continued to compete until the very end," West coach Derek Duman said. "Our guys made a run like we knew we could. It just wasn't quite enough. We were one basket away from me calling a timeout and getting us to catch our breath... I would have loved to see us down six with three minutes left, I think it would have been a fun finish."

West got a team-high 14 points from junior forward TJ Zimmerman, including eight in the second half. With just under five minutes to go, he made a difficult, one-footed fadeaway over two Wilsonville defenders to cut the Wildcats lead to 48-40.

Koby Ruiz then stole a pass to get the ball back for the Bulldogs, but West failed to score on its next two shots. From that point, Wilsonville closed out the game on a 13-2 run.

"That's a really good basketball team," Duman said. "They're a really good program. That's why they've been in the state championship for five consecutive years."

Wilsonville's Dakota Reber slammed home a massive dunk on a lob from Keegan Shivers on the first play of the game, and that set the tone for the Wildcats. They started on a 9-0 run and led 31-18 by halftime.

Reber scored a game-high 20 points, and Gabe Reichle had 15 points, four assists and four steals.

"They can all shoot the ball," Stanaway said of Wilsonville. "They crash the boards. They're big. When they go down low, they can just score from everywhere."

The Bulldogs will now shift their focus to the consolation bracket, where they have a chance to take fourth place in their first trip to the state tournament since 2014. For a team features four juniors in its starting lineup, the rest of the week could be a valuable learning experience for West.

"This season has been really important," Duman said. "Even more important is tomorrow morning. That's where we're gonna see the character of our kids. We had to do that earlier this year, wake up and play early in the morning. We really responded well. I expect our kids to do that again tomorrow."

The Bulldogs will face No. 8 Crook County at 9 a.m. at Gill Coliseum Thursday. The Cowboys lost 70-47 to No. 1 Churchill earlier on Wednesday.

Wilsonville 61, West Albany 42

WILSONVILLE    19 12 11 19 - 61

WEST ALBANY  09 09 09 15 - 42

WEST ALBANY (20-6) - TJ Zimmerman 7-15 0-0 14; Justin Henderson 3-5 1-2 7; Luke Killinger 2-4 2-2 7; Austin Stanaway 2-4 0-0 6; Koby Ruiz 3-10 0-0 6; LJ Carmichael 0-0 2-2 2; Zach Reese 0-0 0-0 0; Michael Cale 0-3 0-0 0; Justin Whittier 0-0 0-0 0; Brayden Campbell 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 5-6 42.

WILSONVILLE (22-5) - Dakota Reber 8-10 3-5 20; Andrew Classen 6-6 3-3 16; Gabe Reichle 6-7 3-5 15; Keegan Shivers 3-7 0-0 8; Logan Thebiay 1-2 0-0 2; Cason Dougall 0-0 0-0 0; Riley Scanlan 0-0 0-0 0; Kellen Hartford 0-0 0-0 0; Chase Hix 0-0 0-0 0; Hiro Kondo 0-0 0-0 0; Finlay Dunn 0-0 0-0 0; Tristan Davis 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 24-32 9-13 61.