EUGENE — Cold shooting and early turnovers proved too much for Eagle Point to overcome in its state quarterfinal matchup with West Albany on Thursday.
The Eagles, who won a school-record 21 games this season, fell to the Bulldogs 56-41 at Matthew Knight Arena after making just 14 of 61 field goals (23 percent) against West Albany during the first day of the Class 5A boys basketball state tournament.
Eagle Point struggled with the Bulldogs' perimeter pressure early and found itself in a 14-4 hole by the end of the first quarter. The Southern Oregon Hybrid champions narrowed West Albany's lead down to five points midway through the third quarter, but the Bulldogs (21-5) weathered the Eagles' comeback attempt and outscored Eagle Point 16-10 in the fourth quarter to earn a semifinal showdown today with top-ranked Jefferson High of Portland. The Eagles (21-4), who are making just their second state tournament appearance in 35 years, play Wilsonville at 9 o'clock this morning in the consolation round.
"We didn't attack the basket well in the first half," said Eagle Point coach Bryan Wood, whose team trailed 29-17 at halftime after recording more turnovers (nine) than field goals (six). "Knowing our team, we have to attack the basket and we didn't do that. It cost us."
Senior guard Jorge Quintero led the Eagles with 15 points while fellow seniors Cesar Chavez and Kramer Edwards added 10 points apiece. Quintero and Chavez, Eagle Point's two leading scorers this season, were not particularly efficient against West Albany, co-champions of the Mid-Willamette Conference with Crescent Valley, as they went a combined 8-for-36 from the field.
"Things didn't go our way tonight," said Quintero, who also posted a game-high six steals. "Our shots were not going in. We couldn't get anything going."
Bulldog sophomore point guard J.J. Stewart led all scorers with 14 points, while junior forward Isaiah Edwards added 13 points and seven rebounds. West Albany's 6-foot-8 senior forward Nate Sherwood was limited to just 11 points, but the versatile big man dished out a game-high four assists and grabbed six rebounds in the Bulldog victory.
"For that kid, 30 (points) is not an uncommon number," Wood said, praising the defensive effort of Austin Holmes on Sherwood. "Austin did a great job on him. He didn't hurt us. They beat us, but it wasn't him."
Nerves seemed to get the best of both teams early as West Albany led 4-2 with less than three minutes left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs, who harassed Quintero and Chavez whenever — and wherever — they had the ball, ended the opening period on a 10-2 run to grab a 14-4 lead, forcing the Eagles to play catchup the rest of the game.
"Those guys are outstanding players," West Albany coach Todd Zimmerman said about Quintero and Chavez. "We felt like we had to pay particular attention to them. We did a really nice job of keeping them from getting into anything sustained."
Trailing 29-17 at halftime, Eagle Point gave the Bulldogs a scare early in the third quarter when Chavez, who had just two points in the first half, got hot. The Eagle standout knocked down two 3-pointers and a layup in a three-minute span and all of a sudden Eagle Point was only down 31-26. The Eagles never got any closer, though, and West Albany went on a 10-4 run late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
"We've got to focus on the next game," Quintero said. "We can't let a loss bring us down. We've still got another game, hopefully two more. "» We want to bring back a medal for our community."
WEST ALBANY (21-5)
JJ Stewart 5-7 2-2 14, Isaiah Edwards 5-8 3-3 13, Nate Sherwood 5-10 1-3 11, Brady Young 4-5 0-0 8, Cody Lahoda 2-6 0-0 4, Ben Potter 1-1 1-2 3, Zach Heagy 1-2 1-2 3, Cooper Getsfrid 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Smith 0-0 0-0 0, Joe Burchfiel 0-0 0-0 0, Joey Roos 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Gehrett 0-2 0-0 0. Totals: 23-41 8-12 56.
EAGLE POINT (21-4)
Jorge Quintero 5-20 5-8 15, Cesar Chavez 3-16 2-2 10, Kramer Edwards 4-7 2-3 10, David Barber 2-7 2-2 6, Bryson Baker 0-2 0-0 0, Peyton Dole 0-0 0-0 0, Austin Holmes 0-7 0-0 0, Ra'eed Sowell 0-0 0-0 0, Wyatt Hunter 0-0 0-0 0, Lucas Morris 0-2 0-0 0, Desmond Jones 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-61 11-15 41.
West Albany 14 15 11 16 — 56
Eagle Point 4 13 14 10 — 41
3-point goals—West Albany 2-10 (JJ Stewart 2-3, Nate Sherwood 0-3, Cody Lahoda 0-2, Austin Gehrett 0-2), Eagle Point 2-14 (Cesar Chavez 2-6, David Barber 0-2, Jorge Quintero 0-6). Fouled out—West Albany-None, Eagle Point-None. Rebounds — West Albany 36 (Isaiah Edwards 7), Eagle Point 31 (Austin Holmes 6). Assists—West Albany 8 (Nate Sherwood 4), Eagle Point 4 (Jorge Quintero 2, Cesar Chavez 2). Total fouls—West Albany 16, Eagle Point 15. Technical fouls—West Albany-None, Eagle Point-None.