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Crusaders foul out in finale

Jesuit's hopes at the LSI get derailed in the tourney finale


by: MILES VANCE - ON THE ATTACK - Jesuit sophomore wing Ryan Bay soars to the basket during the championship game of the Les Schwab Invitational against Lake Oswego at Hillsboro's Liberty High School.

HILLSBORO — The stage was set.

The Jesuit boys basketball team had accomplished every task set in front of it at the start of the 2012-13 season. The Crusaders had won 10 straight games to kick off the year, then carried that success right into the annual Les Schwab Invitational, posting victories over nationally-ranked powers Archbishop Mitty and Gonzaga College in the quarterfinals and semifinals.

All that remained was to win once more in the LSI, claim their school’s second-ever LSI championship and accelerate into Metro League play with a ton of momentum.

But Lake Oswego had other ideas.

The Lakers, a team Jesuit had beaten eight straight times over the past three seasons, recovered from a slow start in Saturday’s championship game at Liberty High School, outscored the Crusaders 54-27 over the final three quarters and ran away with a 62-43 victory and their first-ever Schwab title.

“They outsmarted us. They played a defense we hadn’t seen before, and by the time we figured it out, it was too late,” said Jesuit senior guard Khyan Rayner, who won tournament MVP honors. “They’d already gone on a couple runs and it was too late.”

“We just have to be more patient on offense and we have to learn what to do against their switching man-zone thing that they do,” added senior wing Sean Milligan, who won the tournament’s Mr. Hustle award. “I hope the next time we can prepare a little bit better and get the victory.”

As painful as Saturday’s loss was — it marked LO’s first win over the Crusaders since Dec. 20 of 2007 — the Crusaders knew they’d done some great things at the LSI too, notably their win over Archbishop Mitty, the 15th-ranked team in the nation, in their Dec. 26 quarterfinal, and their semifinal victory over No. 21 Gonzaga on Friday.

“It’s kind of hard to look past the moment, but beating two nationally-ranked teams to get to the finals, I don’t think it will set in for a couple days because of this loss, but I think that was great experience for our younger guys,” Rayner said. “Those were the best teams we’ll see all year so they got that experience early in the year and that will make us better in March.”

Jesuit started fast on Saturday night, getting three quick three-pointers and grabbing a 12-4 lead when Rayner knocked down a jumpshot with 3 minutes, 17 seconds to go in the opening quarter.

But that was pretty much the end of the offensive highlights for the Crusaders. Lake Oswego used its switching, pressure defense to slow the Jesuit attack, got a big first-half performance from Daniel Verburg (he had 10 of his 17 points in the first two quarters) and began to reel the Crusaders back in.

The Lakers took their first lead at 22-21 on a layin by Colin Caslick late in the first half, carried a 25-23 lead into the break, then took over with a 16-8 scoring edge in the third quarter to push ahead 41-31. Jesuit got no closer than nine points in the fourth quarter, with LO’s Calvin Hermanson scoring six of his team-high 20 points in the final period and Verburg adding five more.

As much as LO’s defense, Jesuit’s foul trouble played just as big a role in its final defeat. Rayner and Milligan both picked up two fouls in the first half and spent key time on the bench, as did senior guard Xavier Coleman, who picked up three fouls in the first half and fouled out with 4:58 left in the game.

“It is hard being in foul trouble. We were all kind of in that position,” Milligan said. The referees “did a good job of controlling the game because last night did get out of hand, but unfortunately, we’re kind of a physical team so that gave us a lot to deal with. But we should have played through that and made more shots and figured it out.”

Jesuit 61, Gonzaga College 57

Gonzaga, out of Washington, D.C., led the Crusaders 44-43 when Jordan Abdur-Ra’oof threw down a dunk 45 seconds into the fourth period of their Friday contest, and were still up 57-56 when Kris Jenkins nailed a three-pointer with 47 seconds left in the contest.

But Gonzaga wouldn’t score again, while Jesuit answered with a Coleman layup, two foul shots by Henry Mondeaux and another free throw by Rayner in the final 34 seconds to pull away.

“With out of state teams, it’s easy to play them with one-day preparation because we don’t know them and they don’t know you,” said Milligan, who finished with six points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Rayner led the Crusaders with 22 points and three steals, while Ryan Bay knocked down 5-of-7 shots to finish with 13 points and Coleman had eight. The Villanova-bound Jenkins led Gonzaga with 27 points and 16 rebounds.

Jesuit 76, Archbishop Mitty 72

Jesuit’s quarterfinal match-up on Dec. 27 was even closer, with the Crusaders needing a 13-9 edge in overtime to dispatch San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty 76-72.

Rayner, who led all scorers with 32 points, hit six straight free throws in the final 31 seconds of overtime to seal the win, not to mention 16-of-17 from the line for the game.

“They were really pressuring up top and they were really pressuring off the ball too, so it easy to take them to the basket baseline,” Rayner said. “I got that three or four times in a row and they just weren’t figuring it out.”

“Khyan’s a good foul shooter so just getting him open, executing our plays, that was the biggest thing and he came through for us,” added Coleman, who added 12 points in the win.

Besides those players’ efforts, Milligan got his team started at the beginning of the game by scoring 11 of his 19 points in the game’s first quarter.

“Most teams always (focus) on Khyan because they know he’s our best scorer and so that provides opportunities for our other guards and other players,” Milligan said. “So I just decided to come out and do a little offense.”

Those efforts helped offset the success of Mitty star Aaron Gordon, who finished with 17 points, 13 rebounds and five assists. Mondeaux played a big defensive role and used all five of his fouls against Gordon, who hit just 3-of-14 from the foul line.

Jesuit 77, Sheldon 39

Jesuit left nothing to chance in its LSI opener against Sheldon on Dec. 26, using a 58-21 scoring edge over the game’s final three quarters to leave the Irish in the dust.

Rayner went for 26 points in that one, while Milligan tacked on 16 and Coleman and Jordan Blue added eight each.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to www.milesvance.exposuremanager.com.




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