By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.—Westview’s athleticism proved to be problematic for West Salem Tuesday night to open the Class 6A First Round.
The Wildcats athleticism helped them create a 15-point lead during the second quarter only to see it reduced to 11 by halftime after a Kieran Pruett three-pointer to close out the first half with Westview leading 42-31 in their 67-51 win on the road.
Their 49-47 loss to Jesuit Friday fueled the ‘Cats in the playoff opener against the Titans as they started off on fire to start the game, nearly matching Friday’s point total in the opening half alone.
“Coming off a tough game against Jesuit, it was important for us to come and play great. We felt like we needed to win that game, we should have won that game,” said Westview’s Kobe Newton. “We just came out with a different energy, a different energy. Obviously shot a little better and it went well from there.”
Newton finished with 24 points for the Wildcats as they draw top-seed Lake Oswego Friday in Lake Oswego, a game in which they’ll need to come out just as strong if they hope to stun the top-seed in 6A.
“Defense. That’s going to be a defensive game, both team’s…we consider ourselves one of the better defensive teams in the states, so do they,” starts Newton. “So I feel like it’s going to be a battle of two defensive teams. So whoever stays the most together, plays the best team defense I think will come out of that one.”
The Lakers won 79-41 over Franklin Tuesday night.
West Salem wasn’t going to back away from the athletic team in front of them as the young team that features one senior in Justin Scoggin slowly began to chip away behind sophomore post Holden Whipple.
Whipple scored all 10 of his points in the third quarter as the Titans got to within three of Westview and were within five after three before the Wildcats pulled away for good in the fourth quarter.
“I just feel like coming together and just pushing each other and knowing what we had to do to get back into the game. Just trying to push my teammates and doing whatever I could to put ourselves back into position to be back in the game,” said Whipple. “I feel like once Westview recovered from out strong start, I feel like things got put back together for them. They decided to start taking care of the ball and doing whatever they could to control the game too and they did a good job getting us back out of our rhythm.”
West Salem stunned a few people this season with their inexperience and turning that into a second-place finish in the Mountain Valley Conference, four-games behind South Salem, as they slowly picked up valuable experience entering next season.
“We’re in a spot finishing second in league, no one expected us to be here which is cool (after) turning over 11 guys from Varsity (last year),” said Kieran Prutt. “So it’s very cool to see where we’re at, but I felt like we could have gone a lot farther than we did. But I’m looking forward for next year. We got a really good team, I feel like we’re going to be competing for a trophy next year.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald