PENDLETON – Western Mennonite put on the kind of performance you would expect from the No. 1 seed in the OSAA Class 2A state tournament on Saturday.
It may have come a day later than they hoped, but the Pioneers concluded the season in style with a 60-48 victory over No. 6 seed Life Christian in the third-place game at Pendleton Convention Center.
Western Mennonite (25-6) showed its resiliency a day after a disappointing 53-33 loss to No. 4 seed Santiam in a semifinal matchup between Tri-River conference teams.
“It has a lot to do with coaching, putting games behind you,” said senior post Simeon Hess, who had 15 points and 10 rebounds in his final high school game. “Once they’re done, they’re over. It’s a new day.”
The Pioneers played like it was a new day, especially in the first half. Sophomore guard Keaton Hull set the tone with 14 first-half points, including four 3-pointers.
Hull, who finished with a game-high 26 points on 8 of 11 from the field, was coming off an 0 for 7 shooting game against Santiam.
“Last night we did a lot of one-on-one plays,” said Hull, whose dad Gary is the Pioneers’ head coach. “Today we were passing it a lot and we wanted to end on a good note for our seniors cause it killed us to see that.”
Hull was referring to the uncharacteristic poor shooting game against Santiam when the Pioneers shot just 27.7 percent overall, and 2 of 20 on 3-pointers. They were 8 of 14 from beyond the arc Saturday.
Western Mennonite, which won the state title in 2011, won a trophy in the state tournament for an 11th consecutive year.
“It’s a glad, sad day to play like we know we can and then somehow, you have those games (in the semifinals),” said Gary Hull, who watched his daughter Madison play for Western Mennonite in the 2A girls state championship game later in the evening.
“The thing is I’m so proud that they’re able to be resilient. It’s a true test of the great character of those guys.”
Bo Quinlan led Life Christian with 17 points. The Lions (23-7), who never got closer than nine points after trailing 33-17 at the break, placed fifth at state.
ghorowitz@StatesmanJournal.com, or Twitter.com/ghorowitz
WESTERN MENNONITE 60, LIFE CHRISTIAN 48
Life Christian: B. Quinlan 17, Z. Quinlan 10, Vasilyev 8, Ross 7, Lambert 5, Wooten 1, Woods, Porpora, Zhou, Burton. Totals: 15 12-19 48
W. Mennonite: K. Hull 26, Hess 15, Rush 4, Richardson 3, C. Roth 3, Williams 3, Nicoli3, M. Hull 2, J. Roth, Nofziger, Halgren. Totals: 17 18-24 60
Life Christian – 6-11-10-21 – 48
W. Mennonite – 14-19-15-12 – 60
3-point field goals: LIfe Christian 6 (B. Quinlan 4, Vasilyev, Ross); W. Mennonite 8 (K. Hull 5, Roth, Williams, Nicoli)