METRO BOYS BASKETBALL: Beaverton 52, Glencoe 49

In their final year in the Metro League (for the next four years, at least), the Hillsboro schools appear to be gaining ground on the traditional Beaverton powers.

One week after Liberty upset Beaverton and two weeks after Glencoe gave Jesuit a scare in a four-point loss, the Crimson Tide took the Beavers right to the wire in their own house.

Jake Estep led all scorers with 21 points and secured a key offensive rebound late that led to a pair of free throws as the Beavers staved off Glencoe’s upset bid with a 52-49 win Wednesday night.

A close game from start to finish, Beaverton appeared to be pulling away in the final period, opening up a 50-42 lead on Estep’s layup following a long inbounds pass from Mike Gooding with 3:10 to play. But Glencoe responded with seven straight points, capped by Daniel Warner’s inside basket following a baseline inbounds pass from Sam Gerber, pulling Glencoe to within 50-49 with 1:11 left on the clock. Warner was fouled on the play, sending a Tide player to the free throw line for only the second time in the game. But the 6-5 senior was unable to complete the three-point play as John Oleson rebounded the miss and was fouled. Oleson missed the front end of one-and-one free throws and Glencoe’s burly 6-5 senior post Matt Hancock appeared to have the rebound secured. But Estep came across the lane to snatch the ball away before Hancock could grasp it.

Following a Beaverton time out, the Beavers spread the floor and went into a stall before Estep was fouled and hit both free throws with 46.1 seconds remaining. Now down three, Glencoe had time to score quickly and foul to get the ball back, but the Tide could not fashion an open shot against a Beaverton defense that appeared lackluster and uninspired at points during the contest. Finally with time winding down, the Crimson Tide had no choice but to look for a three-point shot, having connected on 6 of 13 during the game. But Beaverton clamped down on the perimeter and Sam Gerber was forced to launch a contested heave with the 6-5 Estep in his face. The shot fell short of the rim and the Beavers breathed a big sigh of relief.

Three-point shooting was key as the Beavers hit 8 out of 10 from downtown, led by Estep and Oleson, who combined to go 7-for-7 from beyond the stripe. Estep was limited to just 11 shots against a Glencoe defense that played primarily zone, but often matched up 5-8 defensive stopped Ruben Gallardo against the Metro League’s leading scorer. On a night where few fouls were called and few shots were taken, Gallardo was allowed to play physical against Estep, who had very few opportunities inside of 20 feet, but cashed in on every chance he got from beyond.

Oleson finished with 13 points on 5 of 9 shooting from the field. The Beavers needed the threes to mitigate a horrendous performance at the foul line, where they were just 6 for 14. Estep was 5 for 6 from the line with his teammates combining to lay seven bricks in 8 attempts.

Both teams shot over 50 percent for the game. Leading four Glencoe players in double figures was Gerber, who went 5-for-8 in scoring 11 points. Gerber three times was able to cut through the Beaverton defense on dribble penetration, scoring twice with the right and finishing once with the left hand. Another Gerber bucket came after his own defensive rebound, when he dribbled the length of the court with four Beaver defenders in front of him, all with their backs turned, leading to an uncontested layup.

Glencoe led 23-17 with 3:10 to go in the first half, but the Beavers closed the half with five straight points, while forcing three Tide turnovers.

The lead changed hands five times with two ties in the third quarter alone, Beaverton tying the game on a buzzer-beating baseline jumper by Moses Okullo after Evan Baldonado’s three had given Glencoe the lead. The Beavers took the lead for the final time when Estep opened the fourth quarter with his fourth trifecta. An 8-0 run gave them their largest lead before Glencoe’s final comeback fell short.

Beaverton shot an improbable 79-percent from the field (11-14) in the second half, including a perfect 4-for-54 from downtown. The Beavers shot 59-percent (19-32) for the game, while Glencoe, playing a very patient, methodical halfcourt game, shot consistently over 50-percent for the night, finishing at 53-percent (21-40). Despite the foul line struggled, the Beavers outscored the Tide 6-1 at the charity stripe.

Estep added a game-high seven rebounds and Isaac Rosenthal dished out six assists for the Beavers. Warner scored eight of his ten points in the second half, going 5-for-6 from the field while leading the Tide with five rebounds. Hancock, Glencoe’s leading scorer on the season, was limited to three points and two total shots from the field after battling first-half foul trouble. Gallardo and Baldonado each had 10 points and two steals.

In other Metro League boys basketball action Wednesday night: Century 51, Liberty 43; Southridge 71, Sunset 57; Jesuit 81, Aloha 47