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Finishing with a flourish


Sunset wins its final two games at the Schwab, eyes Metro

by: MILES VANCE - FOCUSED - Sunset junior Michael Kerns goes in for a layin during his team's Dec. 27 loss to Jefferson in the 2012 Les Schwab Invitational at Liberty High School in Hillsboro.

HILLSBORO — The Sunset boys basketball team definitely got its money’s worth at this year’s Les Schwab Invitational tournament.

The Apollos opened play in the four-day tournament at Liberty High School with a game against eventual champion Lake Oswego, met Jefferson — Oregon’s top-ranked Class 5A team — in round two, then closed out play with back-to-back wins over Tigard and Clackamas.

“It’s a great tournament, very state tournament-like,” said Sunset junior forward Michael Kerns. “We just want to keep building as a team and getting better as a team.”

Lake Oswego 59, Sunset 39

The Apollos got a look at the tournament’s best team in its Dec. 26 opener, and they held their own very well with the state’s top-ranked Class 6A team for the first half.

Indeed, the Apollos trailed just 12-8 after one quarter, closed within 16-13 on a Tyler Gutierrez foul shot midway through the second period and were down by only six points, at 26-20, at halftime.

But the talented Lakers, led by Calvin Hermanson’s 20 points and 16 more from Colin Griffin, put together a 33-19 scoring edge in the second half to pull away. That stretch was highlighted by a 15-2 run in the third quarter that included six points by Hermanson and extended the LO lead to 41-26.

Sunset cut the gap to 12 points on a Joe McFerrin III three-pointer at the end of the third quarter but got no closer the rest of the way.

“We just need to prepare and we need to be ready to go every game,” said Kerns,

For the game, Taylor Harris led the Apollos with 12 points and three steals, while McFerrin added nine points and four rebounds, and Gutierrez seven points and five boards. For LO, Hermanson went for 20 points, five rebounds and three steals, and teammate Connor Griffin added 16 points, seven rebounds and four steals.

Jefferson 61, Sunset 42

Sunset gave the Democrats a good run in the first round of consolation play on Dec. 27, but saw talented Jefferson edge away in the second half to win by 19 points.

“They’re real physical, and in the first half we weren’t taking it at them,” said Gutierrez, who finished with a game-high 23 points and eight rebounds in the loss. “We were just kind of backing down and we needed to go at them a little bit more.”

“Like Tyler said, if we played more physical, if we brought it to them earlier in the game, it might have been a different game,” said Kerns, who added six points, three rebounds and two assists.

The Demos, though, got big games from Silas Melson (21 points) and Victor Sanders (16 points, three steals) and defended well enough to win. For the game, Sunset shot just 27 percent from the field, including a 1-of-14 day from three-point range.

Sunset 58, Tigard 52

The Apollos picked up their first win of the tournament on Friday, and they did it by beating Tigard for the second time in December.

Tigard held the upper hand early, leading 17-12 late in the first period before Sunset got going. But the Apollos took their first lead at 20-19 on a short Adam Mead jumpshot early on the second quarter, and used a 22-12 edge there to lead 37-29 at the half.

Tigard drew back within 37-36 on a Will Schaer layup early in the third period, but the Apollos held firm, closed the quarter on an 8-3 run that included five Gutierrez points, then put the game away in the fourth. McFerrin had five points in the final period to keep the Tigers at bay.

“We just wanted to get a win,” Gutierrez said. “That’s all we can do at this point is play our best and do what we do.”

For the game, Gutierrez went for 29 points and 10 rebounds, while Harris added seven points and three rebounds. For Tigard, Evan Garrison had 22 points and Bryan Berg 11 more.

Sunset 71, Clackamas 63

The Apollos closed out the event with a second straight win, this time dropping Clackamas 71-63 thanks to four players in double figures. Jeff Bieber led the way with 18 points and five rebounds, but he had plenty of help. Gutierrez went for 16 points and six boards, McFerrin had 12 points, four rebounds and seven assists, and Daniel Duitsman came off the bench for 10 points.

Now, the team just wants to take its momentum and carry it into Metro League play, which kicks off on Jan. 15.

“We can definitely keep improving and keep playing well for the Metro League season,” Kerns said.

Taylor Stinson led the Cavaliers with 21 points while teammate Aaron Alhstrom added 19 more.