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South falls flat after final rally.

Byline: Steve Mims The Register-Guard

South Eugene coach Dave Hancock took a little longer than the typical 10-minute cooling-off period following South's final loss of the season.

"That's a tough group to say goodbye to," Hancock said. "Some great seniors. For me it is easier because I look at the kids we have coming back, but it is tough to say goodbye to great kids."

Sixth-ranked Westview scored 13 straight points early in the fourth quarter to pull away from the fifth-ranked Axemen for a 62-49 win in a consolation game Friday afternoon at the OSAA Class 4A boys basketball tournament at McArthur Court.

The Wildcats advanced to face Benson in the consolation final today at 12:30 p.m. South Eugene ended its season at 25-4 after consecutive losses at state.

"It was a great season," said Trenton Newton-Jones, one of five seniors on the roster. "The underclassmen stepped up, and I love them for that. Twenty-five wins, that's the best of any team I've been on at South Eugene."

Newton-Jones scored 16 points to lead South Eugene, and his final bucket was a three-pointer to get the Axemen within 45-42 with 7:48 left in the game.

South then went scoreless for more than five minutes as Westview rolled off the next 13 points to take a 58-42 lead with just over two minutes remaining.

"We came to play in the third quarter, but in the fourth quarter we didn't," Newton-Jones said. "We ran out of gas I guess."

Cameron Marshall added 15 points and three steals for South Eugene, which shot 29.8 percent from the field.

Payton Brooks' game-high 20 points led Westview, which shot 56.4 percent. Six-foot-11 sophomore Andy Poling added 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Poling scored inside late in the first quarter to give Westview the lead for good at 11-9.

The Wildcats stretched the lead to 27-20 at halftime and led 37-25 in the third quarter before the Axemen started a rally.

Newton-Jones made a three-pointer and then got a steal and layup. Jamie Stimac added an inside bucket to cut the lead to 37-32 with 2:44 remaining in the third quarter.

Westview led 45-39 entering the fourth quarter before Newton-Jones made a three-pointer.

South had many memorable fourth-quarter rallies late this season, but this time they missed eight straight shots and committed four turnovers before Marshall broke through with a three-pointer with two minutes left.

"We made some poor decisions in the fourth quarter and panicked a bit," Hancock said. "We got it to three points, and then we made some turnovers because of bad decisions. When you are chasing points, you need everything to go right, and that is why you try not to get behind."

Newton-Jones, Stimac, Paul West, Daniel Hurwit and Joseph Blasher are the five seniors who helped the Axemen win the Midwestern League title for the third straight season. In addition, longtime assistant coach Bill Sharp will retire.

"This was a real special team," Hancock said. "It has been a long time since a South Eugene team won 25 games. They reached the final eight and we ran out of energy today, but that doesn't take away from the season."

CAPTION(S):

Payton Brooks scored 20 points and was all over the floor for Westview in the Wildcats' 62-49 victory over South Eugene in the consolation semifinals. "They reached the final eight and we ran out of energy today, but that doesn't take away from the season."- DAVE HANCOCK, SOUTH EUGENE COACH
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Title Annotation:Sports; The Axemen come back to make it close early in the fourth before a season-ending loss to Westview
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 11, 2006
Words:588
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