In a brutal battle where blows were almost exchanged, Maarty Leunen scored 19
points to help Redmond (OR) HS turn back Tualatin (OR) HS, 51-39, and advance
to the Final Four of the Oregon State Tournament.
"It was really physical," said Leunen. "The refs let us play. It's a good
environment like that; it lets the players decide, not the referees."
And that's what Redmond's players did, as they used a run late in the third
quarter to open up what had been a very tight ballgame. With Redmond holding a
slim 22-21 lead at the 4:46 mark of the period, senior guard Matt Fladwood
broke away and hit consecutive three-pointers, and a steal and ensuing dunk by
Leunen closed a 8-0 Panther run. Tualatin could never recover, getting no
closer than six points the rest of the way.
But before Redmond was able to make their move - the second game in a row that
they took control late in the third - they had been shackled by Tualatin's
tight trapping defense. In the first half, Redmond could never get into a
solid offensive flow, as Timberwolf defenders were in their face at every turn.
No Redmond shot went undefended, no pass went uncontested.
"Tualatin completely stagnated our offensive flow," said Redmond head coach
Kelly Bokn. "It was very physical underneath; it was like a bloodbath in
If it weren't for the fact that Tualatin had troubles scoring as well (thanks
to tough Redmond defense), the Panthers would have found themselves in a hole
at halftime. Instead, they held a slim 18-17 lead. But once they got rolling
late in the third, they found enough offense to put the game away.
Not enough can be said about Tualatin's tremendous defensive play however. The
Timberwolves frustrated Redmond to the point where a few Redmond players almost
got into it with their defenders, and a technical foul was called on the
Panthers late in the fourth quarter.
"We definitely got emotional there and lost our cool a little bit," said Bokn.
"They just put extreme pressure on us and we didn't get it to go our way. Our
kids have been under that kind of pressure before; we shouldn't have had that
happen. But it's a good learning experience."
And a win is a win, and Bokn was happy with their performance.
"Our kids just really battled, and I'm really proud that they overcame a very
strong defensive effort by Tualatin," he said.
Leunen shot 7-for-12 from the field on his way to his 19 points, which included
a pair of fast break dunks. He also grabbed a few rebounds. Clearly, Bokn
couldn't be happier he's got the versatile big man on his side.
"He's definitely our X-factor," said Bokn. "He was able to free himself up and
get some easy baskets and make some nice plays. Leunen's in a red uniform,
thank God, and that's what gave us a little cushion there."
Fladwood added 11 for the Panthers, shooting 3-for-4 from three-point range.
Tualatin, which only shot 34.2 percent as a team for the game, was led by Sean
McGrath with 10.
Redmond moves on to the Final Four on Friday night and faces Clackamas (OR) HS.
Jed Tai is a Senior Writer with Hoopville.com