But they are still No. 2 in the state in the OSAA RPI rankings

by: JOHN LARIVIERE - Clackamas junior Markus Golder gets hammered as he attempts to take the ball to the basket in last weeks game with West Linn.Last week was quite a week for Clackamas High School’s boys basketball team.

After getting blown out by top-ranked West Linn earlier in the week, the Cavaliers bounced back to win a nailbiter at Lake Oswego, 43-42, on Friday.

And even with the loss to West Linn, the Cavaliers (17-4, 5-2) remained ranked second in the state. With three league games remaining, the Cavaliers entered play this week two-games back of West Linn (17-4, 7-0) and in second place in the TRL standings. They were two games up on third-place Lake Oswego (11-9, 3-4) and Lakeridge (15-6, 3-4).

Last Friday’s win at Lake Oswego gained the Cavaliers their first sweep over the Lakers since the 2009-10 season. They won another nailbiter from the Lakers, 55-54, in a Jan. 24 game played at Clackamas.

The Cavaliers led most of the way in last Friday’s barnburner with the Lakers. They were up 11-6 at the end of the first period, 25-19 at halftime and 29-25 heading into the final period.

Lake Oswego junior guard Jazz Johnson nearly led the Lakers to a come-from-behind win, hitting two three-point baskets inside the final 40 seconds of play.

But Cole Scruggs and Keaton Bankofier were both ice at the charity stripe at crunch time, and the Cavaliers survived the Laker comeback effort.

Andrew Gutwig (12 points) and Markus Golder (10 points) headed the Cavalier offense. Johnson and Max Dinesen scored 17 and 15 points respectively to lead the Lakers.

A slow start proved costly for Clackamas boys on Feb. 11, as the second-ranked Cavaliers met their match in top-ranked West Linn, losing to the Lions for the second time this season, 80-61.

The Lions showed up at Clackamas ready to play and forced turnovers on Clackamas’ first five possessions.

With his team trailing 8-0, Clackamas senior post David Reese scored his team’s first basket on a lay-up 2-1/2 minutes into the game.

The Cavaliers had five more turnovers in the first quarter, and the scoreboard read West Linn 25, Clackamas 12, at the end of period.

Clackamas regrouped in the second quarter and, for a time, it appeared that the Cavaliers would make it a game.

Clackamas went on a 10-2 run. and when Cole Scruggs and Keaton Bankofier hit back-to-back 3-pointers near the midpoint of the second period, it was a five-point game, with the Cavaliers trailing 29-24.

But the Cavaliers then turned cold from the field, as point guard Mitchell Fink went to the bench with his third foul.

Four straight free throws by West Linn senior guard Hayden Coppedge made it 35-27 West Linn.

And any momentum that the Cavaliers had was lost just after the horn ending the first half, when Clackamas junior Markus Golder — apparently demonstrating his frustration — hung from the rim.

The officials dinged Golder with a technical, West Linn sharpshooter Anthony Mathis went to the free throw line and coolly sank two free throws, and the Lions entered the locker room up 10 points, at 37-27.

Two fast-break buckets by Mathis, a fast-break bucket by Ryan Shearmire and a jumper by Payton Pritchard to start the second half made it 49 West Linn, 29 Clackamas; and the game was in the bag. Clackamas never got closer than 13 points the rest of the way.

Mathis (25 points) led a balanced Lion attach that saw five players score in double figures. Pritchard was huge, with 12 assists and 10 points.

Mathis (6 steals) headed up a West Linn defensive effort that led to 18 Cavalier turnovers.

Golder (20 points), Andrew Gutwig (12 points) and Bankofier (10 points) paced Clackamas in scoring.

The Lions were 31-of-65 from the field (.476) — with five 3-pointers, and 13-of-14 from the free throw line.

The Cavaliers were 21-of-42 from the field (.500) — with six 3-pointers, and 13-of-20 from the free throw line.

It was the 11th win in a row for the defending state champion Lions, whose only loss to an Oregon opponent this year was in early December to Jefferson, the top-ranked team in Class 5A.

“We gave them a big lead in the first quarter,” said Clackamas senior guard Cade Wilkins. “And when you’re playing a good team like West Linn, you can’t do that.... We’ve got to do a better job of taking care of the ball.”

Clackamas was to host Oregon City on Tuesday. The Cavaliers close out the league season, hosting Lakeridge (15-6, 3-4) this Friday and playing Canby (8-11, 1-6) on the road next Tuesday.

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