By Jeremy McDonald
JEFFERSON, Ore.– If Regis can harness this game, bottle it up and take it to the 2A State Playoffs, they could make a run at it.
It took every ounce of effort by the Rams, by the Lions to set-up probably a classic once we look back on this season. Both teams pushed physicality, it challenged both teams mentally as both embark on the 2A State Playoffs this upcoming weekend.
Diego Aguilar’s And-One had pushed the Lions lead to 63-59 during the early going of the fourth quarter only to see the Rams rally to take a 67-64 lead off an Isaiah Koehnke three-pointer.
“It was definitely a tough game, we knew it was going to be tough going into it. It was tough all the way through. Close game, we just got to take it as a learning experience and just learn from this,” Aguilar describes. “Learn how to box our guys out better, learn to make a better play. We just got to go over a few of our mistakes and correct them. We just got to use (this game) to fire us up and know that we don’t want to feel down like this again and just keep our heads up high and keep pushing forward.”
Each shot felt like a body shot in a Heavyweight Boxing match from the 1920’s and 30’s. The two schools’ student sections erupted with excitement and support of their squad that are separated by 14 miles.
Down 67-64 Jefferson answered. Eventually taking a 68-67 lead with 2:10 left beforeGrant Goesch handed Regis the lead back with 1:52. Zach Wusstig recovers from a missed shot with 90 seconds left with a steal and the go-ahead shot at the 1:13 mark as the pressure mounted as the game came down to one last play with 2.9 seconds left.
Jefferson led 73-72, but it was Regis ball and they called timeout on their side of the court. Jason Koehnke was designing what would be the game-winner to their hard-work up to this point of the season.
“It was everything we prepared for all season and it feels so good to come out here, do it and execute. This whole game was a battle, it went back-and-forth. We all traded shots, but we just kept our heads up and everything went super well for us. We’re super excited that we won it,” Goesch said. “Both sides had a huge student section, it’ll prepare us for especially the first round at home. It helped us a lot.”
The play was designed to Goesch. Starting from the Regis bench, Goesch set the pick-play, turned and received the ball. Took a step and was met by Eli Stelly who was trying to sell the offensive foul as Goesch went up for the lay-in. Making the shot, buzzer went off and no foul to be called as Regis took the top-seed out of the Central Valley Conference into the 2A postseason.
Goesch finished with a team-high 27 points and Nick Woods added another 17 points for Regis, who’ll host Mannahouse Christian of the Portland Metro Area on February 26. Jefferson’s Aguilar finished with 16 points, Jace Aguilar led the game with 35 points. Wusstig had 13 points for the Lions, Jefferson host Bonzana of Southern Oregon on February 26.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald