PORTLAND – The McMinnville boys basketball team followed a formula during its 10-game winning streak entering Saturday’s Class 6A state playoff second-round game at Sunset High School: score points and bunches and play just enough defense to keep opponents at bay.
On Saturday, however, it was the Apollos who put the Grizzlies on their heels.
No. 6 Sunset shot 11-of-13 from the floor in the first quarter and 58.8 percent in the game (30-for-51), punching its ticket to the state quarterfinals at No. 11 McMinnville’s expense in an 83-71 victory.
“They shot the ball really well, got off to a great start,” Mac coach Willie Graham said. “We never really got them stopped.”
Apollos guard Taylor Harris scored 12 of his game-high 24 points in the game’s first six minutes. Six-foot-8 Sunset post Tyler Gutierrez scored 21 points, outdueling Vince Boumann of the Grizzlies (18 points, 10 rebounds), and guard Glenn Tanguy had 18 points (4-of-6 three-point shooting).
Gage Gubrud led McMinnville (19-6) with 22 points, and point guard Tanner Autencio filled up the stat sheet with 12 points, eight assists and six rebounds for the Grizzlies.
Sunset (19-6) controlled matters from the outset, leading 20-6 after six minutes of play. McMinnville junior Matthew Long came off the bench and hit consecutive three-pointers – six of his 10 points in the game – to keep the Grizzlies within striking distance of the Apollos.
“Matt’s been big,” Graham said. “These last three games, he comes in ready to make plays.”
McMinnville cut its deficit to 10 points in the second quarter and trailed 38-26 when play was halted with 1:17 remaining. Someone vomited near the Sunset student section, spilling their guts onto the sideline and the court. After a lengthy delay to clean up the mess, the Apollos scored seven points on their final three possessions and took a 45-28 lead into the halftime locker room.
“That was the killer right there,” Graham said.
Sunset extended its lead to 55-32 in the third quarter, holding the Grizzlies without a field goal for four minutes. McMinnville came back to within 12 points late in the fourth quarter but never reduced its deficit to single digits.
The game was the last for seniors Gubrud, Boumann, Bryce Anderson, Drew Spence and Victor Ostling. Reserve post Kyle Brooker played extended minutes but did not score, and juniors Walter Stahl, Riley McAnally, Joey Chapman and Zane Stellflug and sophomore Jacob Powell each took the court late in the fourth quarter. Junior guard Cameron Fox, who missed the state playoffs after suffering a shoulder injury, watched from the sideline in dress clothes.
“No matter how the season turned out, we had great guys,” Graham said. “Everybody would love to get to the Moda Center, but this would’ve been a really fun team to get there with.”