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Skyhawks dump Grant for first win at state tourney


Southridge gets big games from Dozier, McClean, Monterossi

PORTLAND — It had been a long time since the Southridge boys basketball team had even reached the state tournament.

A long, looonngg time. So long, in fact, that when the Skyhawks last reached the tournament in 2003, there were 10 teams in the Metro League, four athletic classifications in the state, and 16 teams in the tourney itself.by: MILES VANCE - CHALLENGING - Southridge's AJ Monterossi goes up against Grant's Alondre Augustus during his team's March 7 win at the Rose Garden.

And that big gap — the 10-year gap between Southridge’s first and second state tournament appearances — made it even more important that the Skyhawks made the most of their chance on the state’s biggest stage.

They made sure they did just that in the March 7 consolation semifinals, speeding past fourth-ranked Grant 64-53 at the Rose Garden. The ninth-ranked Skyhawks, the Metro League runners-up, dropped their first state game to Lake Oswego, then beat Sunset to finish fourth with an overall record of 17-11. For more on those other two games, see the story below and the story on Page A12.

“It felt good to come back” after losing to Lake Oswego, said junior guard AJ Monterossi, who had 15 points, two assists and a steal against Grant. “They’re a team that likes to pressure, and the fact that we stayed poised and didn’t let it affect us was what really sealed the deal for us.”

“We’re just trying to get as much out of it as we can while we’re here,” added senior post Kevin McClean, who added 15 points, six rebounds, three assists and two steals in the win. “After last night’s loss, I think we came out a little slow, but we found our chemistry and we were moving the ball and scoring and playing good defense.”

The Generals, the runners-up from the Southwest Conference, started quickly in Friday’s first quarter, getting five points in less than a minute from Terrell Penney (including a three-pointer) to grab an 11-6 lead with 2 minutes, 38 seconds left in the period.

McClean made sure Grant didn’t get further away, though, hitting a jumpshot on his team’s next possession, making a steal and hitting another short jumper assisted by Alex Beekman, then making another steal and converting one of two free throws to tie the game at 11-11 with 1:44 remaining in the stanza.

Grant’s Darren Kennedy hit a late shot to make it 13-11 at the end of the first, but the Skyhawks’ defense began to take hold in the second. There, Southridge held the Generals to just four points on 1-of-4 shooting from the floor and forced four turnovers, an effort that opened the door for a 10-4 scoring edge highlighted by Beekman’s two hoops, the last of those a buzzer-beater that gave his team a 21-17 lead at halftime.

Grant edged within 21-19 at the start of the second period, but Southridge took off after that, scoring 16 of the game’s next 18 points to push in front 37-22 midway through the quarter. Monterossi and McClean each hit twice in that stretch, Caleb Herzberg nailed a three-pointer, and Caleb Dozier capped the run with a layin and a “three” of his own for that 15-point lead.

Grant got no closer than nine points in the third quarter and no closer than 11 in the fourth, and then not until Khayman Burton hit in the final minute to make it 61-50. The Skyhawks held the Generals at bay with seven fourth-quarter points from Monterossi, five more from Dozier and two each by Justin Calo, Herzberg, McClean and Griff Christensen.

“I think we’re one of the best teams at pushing the ball up fast and we’re hard to guard,” Monterossi said. “When we’re all sharing the ball and helping out, it’s just a thing that can’t be stopped.”

“They fought hard, but we definitely took it to ‘em,” McClean added.

Dozier finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and Calo and Herzberg had five each. Bryce Canda led Grant with 20 points and 11 boards, and Penney added 13 points in the loss.

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