Willamette girls upset Springfield for 5A title

EUGENE — Willamette's Lexi Bando scored 23 points and the Wolverines brought a shocking end to the Mercedes Russell-era with a 48-41 upset of top-ranked Springfield in the Class 5A girls basketball championship game at Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday.

Autumn Baumgartner also had 12 points for Willamette (23-4), which lost to the Millers (24-4) in the 2012 title game.

Russell, Springfield's McDonald's All-American senior center, was held to 12 points and six rebounds in the final game of a standout prep career that included two state championships.

After falling behind 3-0 on a 3-pointer by Ashley Richey in the opening minute, Bando answered with back-to-back 3s from the corner on consecutive possessions and the Wolverines led the rest of the half.

Baumgartner and Bando added two more 3-pointers in the final two minutes and Willamette led 12-7 after one quarter.

Bando opened the second quarter with her fourth 3-pointer of the game and Baumgartner followed with a runner from the baseline as the Wolverines extended their lead to 17-10.

Springfield answered with five-straight points to cut its deficit to 17-15 with under four minutes to play in the half, but Kalani Kast ended the Millers' run with Willamette's sixth 3-pointer of the half and the Wolverines went into the break on a 7-2 run to lead 24-17.

Russell, who had 61 points combined in Springfield's first two tournament games, had just four points in the first half and took only four shots.

She finished 6-for-9 from the field but never made it to the free-throw line.

Bando, a junior guard, was 7-for-15 from the field, 5-for-7 on 3s and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.

Willamette led 37-28 with under 5 minutes to play when Springfield went on an 11-2 run ending with a layup by Russell that made it 39-37 with 2:07 left.

But Baumgartner was left alone in the corner on Willamette's next possession and she drained the open three-pointer for 42-37 advantage and the Wolverines scored their final six points from the free-throw line.

Class 6A Boys

WEST LINN 45, CENTRAL CATHOLIC 41 — At Portland, Ryan Shearmire and Anthony Mathis scored 15 points each and West Linn held on to beat Central Catholic in the Class 6A boys basketball championship game.

The unheralded Lions, who didn't even win their league, built an 11-point, fourth quarter lead, then survived numerous turnovers and missed free throws down the stretch to defeat the Rams.

Mathis, a sophomore guard, hit three 3-pointers, including two in the fourth quarter. Shearmire, a senior forward, also grabbed nine rebounds for West Linn (23-6).

Austin Dyer had 19 points and seven rebounds to lead Central Catholic (24-5).

Class 5A Boys

JEFFERSON 59, CHURCHILL 53 — At Eugene, Victor Sanders had 22 points and five rebounds and Jefferson rallied from a five-point deficit at the start of the fourth-quarter to defeat Churchill.

Silas Melson and Devaunte Paschal added nine points apiece and Hayden Hall scored all of his nine points in the final five minutes for Jefferson (24-4), which won its fourth state title in the past six years.

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