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Soaring higher, farther

Southridge creates its best season ever and finishes fourth at state


PORTLAND — At some level, it made perfect sense.

After a season that measured 99 days from start to finish, spanned parts of five months and included games against 40 different teams, the Southridge and Sunset boys basketball teams ended up playing each other in their 2013 finale.by: MILES VANCE - IN THE GARDEN - Southridge senior Caleb Dozier leans back to try and loft a shot over Sunset senior Adam Mead during the Skyhawks' 60-58 win for fourth place on Saturday at the Rose Garden.

And for the third straight time this year, it was the ninth-ranked Skyhawks who ended up on top, squeaking past the No. 10 Apollos 60-58 at the Rose Garden on Saturday to finish fourth at the Class 6A state tournament. The win, Southridge’s second straight at the tournament, ended its season with the best finish in school history and a 17-11 overall record.

“I’m just going to remember finally making it here as a senior and all the close games, and the way we went out against a Metro team,” said Southridge senior Caleb Dozier, who had 16 points and six rebounds in the victory, including the buzzer-beating game-winner. “And I’m glad we could bring a legacy back to Southridge and give it a reputation as one of the top teams.”

“It was the best a Southridge team ever finished so we get to put something on the banner in the gym,” added senior guard Caleb Herzberg, who added 13 points in the win.

The Apollos, meanwhile, won the sixth-place trophy — their first since finishing fourth in 2010 — and ended their season at 17-12.

“It’s tough. It’s my last year,” said Sunset senior guard Joe McFerrin, who had 19 points and five assists in the loss. “It’s hard on all of us, but we went out with a fight and I’m proud of all the guys.”

“We didn’t perform as we would have liked in the Metro League, but we came together, came out hard and got where we are today,” added Apollo senior Daniel Duitsman, who had eight points and six rebounds against Southridge.

There were some highs and lows for both teams in this one, but this was a game that wasn’t settled until the final tick of the game clock. The Skyhawks led by as much as six points in the first quarter, the last time at 14-8 when Kevin McClean rebounded his own miss and scored with 1 minute, 1 second left in the first quarter.

The Skyhawks pushed their lead to 18-8 on back-to-back hoops by AJ Monterossi early in the second frame, and then to 26-12 midway through the period when Caleb Dozier drilled a three-pointer. But this game was no blowout — Sunset answered with an 11-2 run powered by McFerrin’s five points (including a “three”) and Duitsman’s three-pointer with 41 seconds left in the half.

Southridge pushed its edge back to 10 points — at 33-23 — when Caleb Herzberg buried a “three” with 5:11 left in the third, but again, the Apollos would not go away. Tyler Gutierrez carried the load in that ensuing stretch, scoring seven points in 3:16 and cutting Southridge’s lead to 35-34 with 1:23 to go in the third.

The Skyhawks closed the third on a 4-0 run to take a 39-35 lead into the fourth quarter, then extended their lead to 47-40 when Monterossi hit in the key with 2:47 left on the clock. But Sunset rallied yet again, with McFerrin hitting 7-of-8 free throws and scoring nine of his 19 points in the final 2:16 of the game, and Jeff Bieber knocking down two “threes” in the final 59 seconds, the second of those a bank from the top of the key set up by McFerrin that tied the score at 58-58 with 21 seconds left.

Sunset then knocked the ball away from the Hawks and out of bounds with two seconds left to seemingly set up overtime, but Monterossi inbounded the ball to Dozier under the hoop and he connected in traffic to win the game.

“It’s only fitting to come down to the wire and hit a buzzer-beater,” Dozier said. “They’re a really good team and everyone says it’s hard to beat a good team three times and we did it. It was fitting. It came down to the wire and the best team won today.”

For the Apollos, who battled into the tourney with four straight wins after staggering through a five-game losing streak, winning a trophy meant everything.

“When we lost those five games in a row, we knew we had to come together and be tough as a team and try and turn it around,” McFerrin said. “We went to practice and we worked hard and we got here and finished out the season well.”

Monterossi led Southridge with 19 points and four assists, and McClean had seven. For Sunset, Gutierrez scored eight points and grabbed five boards.

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



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