The West Linn boys basketball team shows its strength in 87-60 win.
A multiplicity of weapons.
Nothing, perhaps, can better describe the West Linn boys basketball team.
The Lions proved as much in their opener at the 2022 Les Schwab Invitational, an 87-60 rout of Barlow at Liberty High School on Monday, Dec. 26.
While Oregon commit Jackson Shelstad was saddled with foul trouble all night — he picked up three fouls in the first quarter and added his fourth just before halftime — it didn’t matter a bit. Shelstad, a senior point guard, still finished with a team-high 21 points, while senior guard Adrian Mosley added 19 points, senior guard Sam Leavitt had 17, junior guard Max Juhala added 16 and senior forward Mark Hamper another 10.
“After the first six games, I feel like everything has just started jelling more together, especially on defense,” said Mosley, who hit 8 of 14 shots including one 3-pointer and made 2 of 4 free throws, along with three rebounds, five assists and a steal. “There’s just a lot of communication and getting familiar with each other. I feel like we all know each other’s personalities a little bit better than we did at first.”
The balanced attack, ball movement and defense all played key roles in the win over Barlow.
“With more practice and more games, I think I’m just going to get better and better,” said Hamper, who hit 4 of 8 shots from the field including two “threes,” along with a game-high eight rebounds, three assists and a steal. “I’ve only practiced twice this whole season so I’m still just getting back into it, but … I’ve got great teammates and they’re giving me good looks.”
“We did a really good job on defense to start off,” said Juhala, who hit 5 of 7 shots from the field including three 3-pointers and a 3 of 5 foul shots, along with two rebounds and five assists. “We had really good energy … (and) transitioning to offense, we did a good job moving from defense to offense.”
Barlow sophomore guard Jalen Atkins led all scorers with 27 points on 9 of 20 shooting from the field including three 3-pointers and a 6 of 7 day at the foul line, along with three rebounds, three assists and three steals. Sophomore forward Mason Bierbrauer added 15 points on 6 of 9 shooting from the field with one “three” and a 2 of 2 day at the foul line, along with five rebounds and one block.
Next up, the Lions face Tualatin — the reigning Class 6A state champions and a team that beat West Linn in the 2022 Class 6A state semifinals — in the second round of the LSI at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28.
“We’re looking forward to that one big time,” Hamper said. “Just revenge from last year. We can’t wait for that one.”
While the Lions started fast on Monday — they led 10-0 early and kept the Bruins off the scoreboard for the first 2 minutes, 20 seconds of the game — they didn’t get rid of Barlow quickly.
After their early double-digit deficit, the Bruins rallied with a 14-7 stretch that cut their deficit to 17-14 when senior Jake Stump scored on a drive up the left baseline with 1:07 to go in the first quarter.
But the Lions closed the quarter with a 5-0 run — including a Juhala “three” set up by Shelstad and a Leavitt basket assisted by Hamper — for a 22-16 edge at the end of the first.
West Linn kept the heat on in the second quarter, too, outscoring the Bruins 17-6 in the first 4:49 of the period and pushing ahead 39-22 when Leavitt scored on a drive with 3:11 to go in the half.
Hamper and Mosley did most of the damage in that span, with each hitting a “three” and scoring five points, while Shelstad added a 3-pointer of his own.
The Lions took that 17-point lead into halftime — at 47-30 — and didn’t let up in the second half, either. After the Bruins edged within 56-42 when Bierbrauer scored on a putback with 5:09 to go in the quarter, the Lions stitched together a 16-6 run that gave them a 72-48 lead at the end of the period and essentially put the game out of reach.
Along the way, Leavitt hit a “three” and scored five points, while Mosley added four and Juhala a 3-pointer of his own.
In the fourth quarter, the Bruins got no closer than 76-57, while the Lions saw their lead crest at 85-58 when Juhala buried another “three” with 2:06 left in the game.
“I think we’re a defensive-minded team,” Mosley said. “That was our game plan, trying to take two guys out of it and make all the other players beat us and I feel like we did a good job of that.”
“We were really moving the ball well,” Juhala added. “Guys like Mark getting open looks for me and stepping up and hitting shots was big for all of us.”
For the game, Shelstad hit 9 of 17 shots from the field including three 3-pointers, along with seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Leavitt hit 8 of 13 shots from the field including one “three,” along with three rebounds, three assists, two blocks and two steals.
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