The Crusaders battle every day, but go 0-4 against states best

by: MILES VANCE - DRIVING FORCE - Jesuit sophomore guard Keara Vu races upcourt during her team's Friday loss to West Linn in the 2012 Nike Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego High School.

LAKE OSWEGO — The Jesuit girls basketball team knew there would be challenges in the 2012-13 season.

After all, the Crusaders feature just two seniors on this year’s team (not to mention five freshmen) and graduated three all-leaguers from its 2011-12 team. That would be challenge enough on most days, but Jesuit got even more of a test at last week’s Nike Interstate Shootout at Lake Oswego High School.

Facing a quartet of the state’s top teams — three of them ranked in Oregon’s top 17 — the Crusaders took their lumps, going 0-4 but learning an incredible amount along the way.

“All of us are just learning how to work better together,” said sophomore post Tarea Green, who averaged just under 10 points per game at Lake Oswego. “We’ve got a lot of new people so it’s hard, but we just need to keep working.”

“It’s hard, but it’s a learning experience,” added senior guard Sophie LeRoux. “We just have to focus on ourselves and get better from our losses and from our wins.”

Tigard 40, Jesuit 33

Jesuit opened tournament play on Dec. 27 with a hard-fought 40-33 loss to No. 7 Tigard, a game that saw the Tigers pull ahead 31-18 after three quarters, then hang on for victory as the Crusaders battled back in the final period.

Jesuit outscored the Tigers 15-9 in that final quarter, and left knowing they might have come even closer if they’d started their rally earlier. Green led the Crusaders with 15 points while teammate Alzena Henry — one of those five freshmen — added eight in the loss. Tigard’s Lexi Carter led all scorers with 17 points while Megan Risinger added another 10 in the win.

West Linn 47, Jesuit 42

Next up, Jesuit battled No. 17 West Linn on Friday and led through the first quarter and into the second before the Lions took control and walked off with a 47-42 victory.

The Crusaders took their last lead of the game at 19-18 on a Green free throw with 4:31 remaining before the half, but the Lions used a 7-0 run to push in front 25-19 at the break.

West Linn extended that edge to eight points in the third, but saw Jesuit rally for a 29-29 tie on Emily Allen’s putback. The Lions moved ahead again by as many as five in the fourth, saw the Crusaders come back again to tie — this time at 37-37 on LeRoux’s three pointer — before finally pulling away behind Sydney Kolasinski.

Green had 10 in the loss, Henry eight, Allen seven and LeRoux five, while Kolasinski led all scorers with 13 and teammate Morgan Haskin added 10.

Indeed, Jesuit very likely would have won if not for its 4-for-20 performance at the foul line.

“Normally, we hit our free throws and during practice we work on free throws a lot,” Green said.

“We’re a pretty young team, but that shouldn’t be an excuse,” LeRoux added. “If we would have made half our free throws, we would have won.”

Southridge 50, Jesuit 37

Saturday brought a non-league match-up against Metro League foe Southridge, a team that beat Jesuit twice in the regular season last year but that fell to the Crusaders in a league playoff seeding game. This time, though, it was the Skyhawks who again held the upper hand, outscoring the Crusaders 41-27 in the game’s first three quarters and holding onto that edge in the fourth to win 50-37.

The Skyhawks leaned on their senior trio of returning guards to forge their win, getting 13 points each from Kylie Dummer and Tupu Loo, and another eight from Hannah Rose to dump the Crusaders. Southridge led 12-8 after one quarter, boosted their edge to 28-21 at the half, then to 41-27 after three to take total control down the stretch.

“I think we have a lot of talent, it’s just playing together,” LeRoux said. “We just have to keep fighting and I think we’ll do all right.”

Allen led Jesuit with seven points against Southridge, while Le Roux had six and Jasmine Gross and Henry five each.

South Eugene 32, Jesuit 29

Points were tough to come by again in Sunday’s finale against South Eugene, and with Jesuit breaking into double figures just once — with 11 points in the final quarter — it just wasn’t enough in their 32-29 loss.

The Crusaders actually led 8-5 early on, but couldn’t hold that edge in the second quarter. The Lady Axes — led by McKenna Vanderkley’s 11 points in the game — answered with a 14-6 margin in the second and took a 19-14 advantage into halftime.

South Eugene then tacked on a 7-4 third quarter to make it 26-18 heading into the fourth and hung on to win by three as the Crusaders rallied from behind yet again.

Green led Jesuit in scoring again with 10 points, but no other Crusader scored more than four in the loss, which left the team’s season record at 3-8. Despite that, Jesuit’s players still believe they’ll be ready to compete in the Metro League.

“I think we’re going to have a good year,” Green said. “We just need to work hard at practice and be persistent and it will be good.”

“We just need to come out stronger and keep our mental composure,” LeRoux said. “We have a lot of height, we’re pretty big, but we only have two seniors so we have to be better leaders and play together.”

To see a complete photo gallery from this tournament, please go to

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