West Linn boys show off skill, power and toughness in latest victory at state.
Last night’s West Linn boys basketball game — the Lions’ 89-69 semifinal win over Lincoln — was, to put it in soccer terms, “chippy.”
In other words, it was a typical high-stakes contest in the Class 6A state tournament between two great teams that didn’t want to lose.
While I’ve already written about that game, written about the Lions’ championship matchup against Tualatin, posted an expansive slideshow and shared even more photos on my Smugmug site, there were some leftover nuggets of information from last night I’d like to share.
• West Linn senior guard Jackson Shelstad dealt out a couple classic ankle-breaker moves against the Cardinals, the first sending a Lincoln defender to the floor and setting up a Shelstad pull-up jumper that beat the buzzer at the end of the first half. The second one resulted in a stepback 3-pointer from the top of the key and boosted the Lions’ lead to 62-38 with 3 minutes, 44 seconds left in the third quarter.
• Lions senior Adrian Mosley, a 6-foot-2 guard, got it done inside and out against Lincoln, hitting a couple early “threes,” throwing down two dunks and nearly adding a third.
Mosley’s first jam came after Shelstad made a steal and set up Mosley in the final second of the first quarter. Next, Mosley threw down a big two-handed jam assisted by senior Sam Leavitt that boosted the Lions’ lead to 50-33 with 6:41 to go in the third period. And finally, Mosley rebounded a Leavitt miss on the left baseline and went up for a big one-handed slam attempt before being fouled by 6-10 Lincoln junior Evan Heisler.
• Speaking of dunks, Leavitt got in on the act, too. With the Lions leading 69-50 in the final minute of the third quarter, Leavitt picked off a Lincoln pass near midcourt, took the ball to basket and threw down a right-handed hammer dunk to make it 71-50.
• Regarding the physical nature of the contest, the Lions have made it clear they won’t back down to anyone. They banged against the taller Cardinals — the Lions’ tallest starter is senior forward Mark Hamper at 6-3, while Lincoln features 6-6 senior Moroni Seely-Roberts, 6-8 senior Malachi Seely-Roberts and the 6-10 Heisler — all night long. On their side of the equation, the Cardinals double-covered Shelstad as often as they could and knocked him to the floor several times during the game.
• One of the results of the physical play was high emotions that led to technical fouls. First, Mosley and Moroni Seely-Roberts got tangled up early in the second quarter, shoved each other and both were assessed technical fouls.
Later, with West Linn up by 21 in the game’s final three minutes, Hamper — who tried to play peacemaker with Mosley earlier in the game — got whistled for a technical foul of his own.
Hamper explained the unrest this way: “We’ve just got so many alphas on this team,” he said. “We never back down from a fight and we’re all there for each other. If a guy is going to come at one of us, all five of us are going to come at that one guy so it’s truly a family over here and we just play together and we play super hard.”