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West Linn boys roar past North Medford

One of North Medford’s main concerns heading into the Class 6A boys basketball state tournament was to not let second-seeded West Linn bolt out to an early double-digit lead as the Lions have done so often this year en route to a 21-4 record.

And in that vein, the Black Tornado accomplished its mission as it traded baskets early on with the four-time defending 6A state champions and gained a 10-9 lead with about 3½ minutes to play in the opening quarter.

Everything after that, however, was a different story.

Spurred by senior point guard Braden Olsen and 6-foot-9 forward Khalid Thomas, West Linn went on a 12-0 run to close the first quarter and kept the foot on the pedal to ultimately put the game out of reach by halftime up 55-22.

The Lions eventually won 89-59 in the last of the Class 6A boys basketball state quarterfinal games Wednesday at the Chiles Center in Portland.

“We did exactly what we were talking about doing,” said North Medford head coach Scott Plankenhorn. “We were ahead 10-9 and had the game not going exactly the way we wanted but still handling their pressure and getting what we wanted on offense and enough good things on defense.”

That’s when West Linn (22-4) switched its defense up, and the seventh-seeded Black Tornado (21-6) simply struggled to find an answer to it.

“They changed up to 1-2-2 halfcourt trap and that was enough to do it,” said Plankenhorn. “We never had an answer to it, at least not until it was way too late after that.”

The Lions’ 12-0 run to close the first quarter was built off that change, which forced eight turnovers in the final three minutes of the period. Thomas had three dunks in that span and eight points total, while Olsen added four points and consistently set his big man up, finishing with 11 of his 20 points and five of his seven assists in the first quarter.

The second quarter offered up more of the same as West Linn outscored North Medford 34-12 in the period, building a 30-point cushion with 2½ minutes to go in the first half.

Helping the Lions pull away were 13 first-half turnovers by the Black Tornado — compared to only two by West Linn — and the fact that they were a sizzling 21-for-34 from the field (61.8 percent) and 7-for-13 from 3-point range (53.8).

“They didn’t miss very many shots but there was not a whole lot of contention when they’re shooting breakaway dunks and breakaway layups and open 3-pointers,” added Plankenhorn. “They’re a very well-oiled machine.”

West Linn built its largest lead of 39 points at 71-32 with 3½ minutes to go in the third quarter on a three-point play by Olsen. The Lions closed the game shooting 34-for-62 overall (54.8 percent) and 10-for-26 (38.5 percent) from 3-point range, while North Medford was a respectable 23-for-52 from the field (44.2 percent) and outrebounded the Lions 34-29.

Still, 19 overall turnovers and the way they were bunched together proved too difficult to overcome.

“You’re not surviving anybody let alone a team ranked No. 2 in the state doing that,” said Plankenhorn. “It was a shame that happened but I’m happy with our guys, they didn’t quit and kept playing hard and kept competing and did some good things even when it was definitely out of hand.”

Black Tornado senior Brad Allen was 9-for-16 from the field and finished with 22 points and 13 rebounds while junior Kaison Faust shot 8-for-15 to net 18 points with five rebounds and three assists. Wyatt Baptiste added eight points but joined senior Tre Holmes in committing five turnovers apiece under trying conditions against the long-armed Lions.

“Brad and Kaison played really well,” said Plankenhorn. “They were still part of that turnover barrage but they definitely played well and did a lot of good things and attacked the rim. Brad showed his all-around game today and Kaison was a handful for them to guard, he was very aggressive.”

North Medford will need that and more if it is hoping to extend its trip in Portland in pursuit of a fifth state trophy in nine years. The Black Tornado will next face sixth-seeded West Salem (21-6) at 10:45 a.m. today in an elimination contest after the Titans came up short in their quarterfinal, 68-52 to No. 3 Clackamas.

In Wednesday’s other quarterfinals, top-seeded Jefferson cruised past No. 9 Grant 77-61 and No. 4 Beaverton topped No. 5 Westview 56-42 as each won for the fourth time this season over their opponent.

“Like I told the team afterwards, we’ve got to shake that one off,” said Plankenhorn. “It’s not a great situation what happened there but we’ve got to shake it off because we’re playing to either play again on Saturday (for fourth place) or get in a van to go home.”

West Salem took to the road to beat North Medford in its gym, 79-59, on Dec. 9.

“Hopefully we weren’t that team back then that we are now,” said Plankenhorn. “Hopefully we’re a different basketball team tomorrow because we’re going to need it. It’s going to be about who really wants to fight it and be here on Saturday morning.”

Rodney Hounshell equaled Olsen with 20 points, while Thomas finished with 16 points and five rebounds and Keishon Dawkins had 13 points, seven rebounds and three blocks for West Linn.

NORTH MEDFORD (21-6)

Brad Allen 9-16 3-6 22, Kaison Faust 8-15 1-3 18, Wyatt Baptiste 2-4 4-6 8, Kyle Barry 1-2 2-5 4, Quinton Rumrey 1-6 1-4 3, Garrett Parker 1-2 0-0 2, Tre Holmes 1-2 0-0 2, Dylan Ireland 0-1 0-0 0, Elias Spence 0-2 0-0 0, Jake O'Connor 0-0 0-0 0, Noah Tepa 0-1 0-2 0, Oscar Banuelos 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 23-52 11-26 59.

WEST LINN (22-4)

Rodney Hounshell 8-12 0-0 20, Braden Olsen 8-10 3-3 20, Khalid Thomas 7-7 2-3 16, Keishon Dawkins 4-9 3-4 13, Drayton Caoile 3-6 0-0 7, Andre Best 1-1 3-3 5, Jalen Thompson 1-4 0-0 3, Nathan Dombrow 1-1 0-0 3, Jake Luther 1-5 0-0 2, Aidan Scott 0-1 0-0 0, Micah Garrett 0-2 0-1 0, Nolan Bertain 0-4 0-0 0. Totals: 34-62 11-14 89.

North Medford;10;12;19;18;—;59

West Linn;21;34;20;14;—;89

3-point goals—North Medford 2-8 (Brad Allen 1-2, Kaison Faust 1-1, Quinton Rumrey 0-2, Garrett Parker 0-1, Tre Holmes 0-1, Noah Tepa 0-1), West Linn 10-26 (Rodney Hounshell 4-6, Keishon Dawkins 2-2, Drayton Caoile 1-4, Nathan Dombrow 1-1, Braden Olsen 1-2, Jalen Thompson 1-4, Micah Garrett 0-2, Nolan Bertain 0-4, Jake Luther 0-1). Rebounds—North Medford 34 (Brad Allen 13), West Linn 29 (Keishon Dawkins 7). Assists—North Medford 8 (Kaison Faust 3), West Linn 16 (Braden Olsen 7). Total fouls—North Medford 15, West Linn 21.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry