Willamette Wolverines overcome slow start to beat Sheldon Irish
EUGENE, Ore. - The Willamette Wolverines overcame a slow start to top the Sheldon Irish, 48-46, in a Southwestern Conference match up at Willamette High School on Tuesday night.
Owen Cross led the Wolverines with 19 points, while Cooper Arnold added three three-pointers in the victory.
For the Irish, Devante Bailey had a game-high 20 points, and Patrick Herbert added another 16 in the defeat.
Herbert propelled Sheldon to a hot start out of the gates, scoring the first six points of the game and forcing a quick timeout from Willamette.
"Just too many easy buckets was our biggest problem in the first half," said Willamette Coach Chad Carpenter. "I thought we did a pretty good job in transition defensively, but we were just letting guys run right down the middle of the lane."
Cross found his stroke midway through the first quarter, scoring 10 points in the half with the Wolverines trailing 27-22.
"Owen is a kid that we really look to to score the ball," said Carpenter. "He's a really good shooter, has a really good feel for the game. He's definitely someone that can get hot for us quick, and our kids recognize that and they feed off of it."
The Wolverines stepped up defensively in the third quarter, holding the Irish to just eight points while they went on a 10-2 run, propelled by two three's from Arnold to close out the quarter and make it a 35-35 game.
After trading buckets for much of the fourth quarter, Sheldon fell behind 48-43 with under two minutes left. Herbert got a layup to go despite being fouled, making it a two point game in the final minute.
Willamette was unable to convert on a pair of free throws, giving Sheldon a chance to win the game at the buzzer with a three-pointer, but it was airballed.
With the victory, Willamette improved to 8-8 (2-2) on the season, and Sheldon dropped to 8-7 (2-2). Up next, Willamette will face North Medford at home, while Sheldon will travel to Grants Pass.