Robinson sparks Union past Evergreen, to league title

Post scores 17 points as Titans hold off Evergreen

By Paul Valencia, Columbian high school sports reporter

Published:

 

Isaiah Robinson is almost always dominant on defense. That's his specialty for the Union boys basketball team.

When he gets it going on offense, well, watch out.

Robinson put on a championship-worthy performance Wednesday night, leading the Titans to the outright championship in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League.

The 6-foot, 8-inch post scored a team-high 17 points, had the dunk for the go-ahead basket in the final minute, blocked four shots, and pulled down eight rebounds as Union rallied to beat Evergreen 54-50 in the final game of the regular season. Union ended up 9-1 in the 4A GSHL and will host Battle Ground in the district championship game Monday night.

Evergreen fell to 7-3 and into third place. The Plainsmen were hoping to win this game, tie for the league title, then face Union again for the district crown. Instead, Evergreen will host Camas in loser-out game that will determine the No. 3 seed to the bi-district tournament.

The Plainsmen were in position to do everything they wanted Wednesday when Jahmil Johnson and Greg Washington connected on back-to-back 3-pointers midway through the final quarter, giving Evergreen a 45-40 lead.

Union would pull within one before Evergreen's Robert Franks' three-point play with 2:15 to play made it 48-44.

The Titans, though, would score the next 10 points to win the game, to take the title for themselves.

Derrick Derryberry and Micah Paulson made back-to-back baskets to tie the game 48-48. After a missed shot by the Plainsmen, Union guard Austin Brown found Robinson with an entry pass, and Robinson slammed it home for a 50-48 lead with 52 seconds to play.

Robinson, who finshed 8 of 10 from the floor and scored 13 of his points in the second half, called it one of the best games of his career.

"This is huge. I was talking to my coach about it in practice. If I get the ball, take my time, slow the game down. Don't force it," Robinson said of his offensive game. "On defense, contest everything in the paint. No easy shots."

After an Evergreen miss, Derryberry made two free throws with 11 seconds to play to make it 52-48. Evergreen chose to try for a drive and a layup. Robinson waited and timed it perfectly, swatting away that strategy. Paulson then made two free throws for a six-point lead.

"I had high expectations when I came here, and the guys had the same high expectations," Union first-year coach Blake Conley said. "This was one of our goals. Feels good to get it. To have a comeback win against a good team like Evergreen, that's a good way to win a league title."

Paulson finished with 13 points. Riley Hawken, who has already set Union's single-season rebounding record, had 11 against the Plainsmen.

Franks led Evergreen with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Jahmil Johnson made three 3-pointers and finished with 12 points.

Johnson scored nine points in the first quarter, leading Evergreen to a one-point lead. Union would take a two-point lead at the half. It was a one-point Union lead going into the fourth. The biggest lead of the game was seven by the Plainsmen early in the first quarter. It was never more than a five-point difference until 11 seconds were left in the game.

Close all game, the Titans -- led by Robinson -- made more plays in the clutch.

UNION 54, EVERGREEN 50

UNION -- Derrick Derryberry 7, Micah Paulson 13, Austin Brown 6, Isaiah Robinson 17, Riley Hawken 4, Spencer Martin 0, Skillful Davis 2, Cameron Cranston 5, Stephan Ammentorp 0, Denis Kirichenko 0. Totals 20-45 (5-9) 9-14 54.

EVERGREEN -- David Martin 0, Connor Finnegan 3, Jalen Ballard 5, Jahmil Johnson 12, Robert Franks 20, Greg Washington 7, Chris Chamberlain 3, Kobey Eaton 0. Totals 17-49 (6-17) 10-15 50.

Union 11 13 14 16--54

Evergreen 12 10 15 13--50

JV -- Union won. C -- Union won.