Next stop: the Rose Garden. The West Linn Lions (18-6, 8-2 Three Rivers League) battled tooth and nail with the Westview Wildcats (13-11, 6-4 Metro League) and emerged victorious 69-54 to advance to the Rose Garden for the OSAA State Playoff Tournament for the third year in a row.
The Lions started off slow, and were down in the first few minutes of the game. They persevered and the offense flowed. By the end of the first quarter, the Lions held a slim 21-19 lead.
The pace of the game stayed consistent through the second quarter. The grit and grind style of play created a low scoring game before halftime, but every shot kept the crowd on edge. With every basket, the student section erupted like the Lions had won the game. Even though the offense for the Lions didn’t score much, they played tenacious defense and by the halftime buzzer, the Lions led 33-31.
Shot after shot, the Lions were closer to smelling roses and moving on in the tournament. Netting 19 points, and again only allowing 12, the Lions were up 52-43 when the fourth quarter rolled around.
The pace picked up for the Lions offense and their lead slowly expanded. Westview was only able to score nine points against the Lions’ stellar defense. The student section began to chant “I smell roses” as the game reached its end. Then the buzzer sounded, and the Lions were Rose Garden bound.
The Lions were led by Ryan Shearmire, junior, who scored 16 points, as well as Anthony Mathis, sophomore, Jarrod Howard, senior and Payton Pritchard, freshman who finished with 15, 12 and 11 points, respectively.
The Lions take on the Grant Generals (19-4, 6-2 Southwest conference) March 6 at 3:15 p.m at the Rose Garden.