- Associated Press - Sunday, March 16, 2014

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - West Linn freshman Ryan Shearmire cut the postgame interviews short.

“Sorry, I want to be with my guys,” he said before he rushed back into the scrum of players celebrating the Lions’ 67-56 victory over Sheldon Saturday night for the OSAA Class 6A state championship.

“We knew we were going to win the whole time,” he said before bowing out.

Sophomore Payton Pritchard had 21 points and 10 assists and seven rebounds for the top-seeded Lions (25-4), who led by as many as 14 points in the game. Anthony Mathis added 21 points.

The team dogpiled on the Moda Center court following the final buzzer.

Nick Nestell and Logan Davis each had 13 points for seventh-seeded Sheldon (21-7). Mitch Hebert added 11.

The Lions, who capped the season with a 20-game winning streak, earned their third overall state title. Last season they held on to defeat Central Catholic 45-41 for their first championship since 1997.

Sheldon was making its third trip to the championship game since 1997, when they also fell to West Linn. Following Saturday’s lost, coach Dan Clark gathered his team in a solemn circle of congratulations for coming so far.

“Our goal the whole season was to get here and be the upset team,” Justin Hebert said. “It’s tough right now. I’m proud of our team.”

The Irish went up 15-8 early on Davis’ layup, but West Linn came surging back to tie it at 15 on Hayden Coppedge’s 3-pointer, and the Lions took the lead when Anthony Mathis added his own 3.

Kevin Edwards closed the half with a 3-pointer to give West Linn a 31-24 advantage at the break.

Pritchard hit a pair of free throws to put West Linn up 35-25 in the third quarter, but Sheldon narrowed it to within 35-31 on Mitch Hebert’s jumper. The Lions responded with a 7-2 run to pull back in front 42-33.

Anthony Mathis‘ jumper pushed the lead to 47-36, before his 3-pointer made it 56-44 in the final quarter. Pritchard’s jumper gave the Lions a 58-44 lead with 6:16 to go.

The Lions made 10 of 18 3-point attempts and shot 46.5 percent from the floor for the game, compared to 34 percent for the Irish.

“Defense was where we won it,” West Linn coach Eric Viuhkola said afterward. “We made it hard on them.”

Sheldon defeated South Salem 76-54 in the semifinals to advance. West Linn beat Jesuit 65-46 to advance.

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