Wow… just, wow. This was, by far, the most entertaining, competitive, and nail-biting game of the playoffs.
Behind the hot hand of star point guard Elijah Gonzales, the Clackamas Cavaliers upset the four-time defending champion West Linn Lions to advance to the state championship game.
Clackamas came out firing right out of the gate to the take the 14-4 lead, but West Linn quickly answered with a 12-2 run of it’s own to tie the ballgame at 16. When the first quarter ended, West Linn held the 21-19 lead.
Clackamas, however, never wavered. Gonzalez and company kept attacking West Linn. Everytime West Linn threw a haymaker, Clackamas threw one right back.
Threes answered threes. Dunks answered dunks. Play after play these two teams kept us on the edge of our seat.
Then, in the most befitting end imaginable, it came down to the final plays.
With just over a minute to go the Cavaliers led 70-68. After a few trips to the line, Clackamas held a 73-68 lead with just 45 seconds remaining. West Linn would drill a three pointer to cut the lead to just two points, but it was the last time the Lions would add points to the scoreboard. Clackamas locked down on defense, and hit key free throws to extend the lead, and pick up the win.
For the first time since 2012, when Jesuit beat Lake Oswego to win it all, West Linn will not play in the championship game. The Clackamas win also brings an end to West Linn’s quest to be the first team to ever win five straight state titles.
FINAL SCORE: Clackamas 78 – West Linn 71
Clackamas now moves on to face Jefferson in the state title game.
Points: Nolan Bertain, 17
Rebounds: Nolan Bertain and Keishon Dawkins, 8 each
Assists: Braden Olsen, 5
Points: Elijah Gonzales, 35
Rebounds: Matt O’Brien, 11
Assists: Matt O'Brien, 3