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Top-ranked Royals fight back to beat Blue Jays

CLASS 2A BASKETBALL - Jesse Severson drills a trio of 3-pointers in second half
by: David Ball, Portland Christian guard Shawn Evans looks to pass the ball away, while Portland Lutheran's Scott Burris applies defensive pressure.

No. 1-ranked Portland Christian got off to a sluggish start, but bounced back in the second half to race past Portland Lutheran 59-43 on Tuesday night.

The host Blue Jays built a 16-8 margin in the second period when Scott Burris blocked a 3-point attempt and dove out of bounds to swat the ball ahead. Teammate Abel Araya chased it down and drew a foul on his way to the basket.

'We were the aggressors in the first quarter,' Blue Jays' coach Chad Rush said. 'We came out really focused, and going against the No. 1 team gave us that extra motivation.'

But the Blue Jays' engine ran out of gas at that point, as Lutheran went 10 minutes without a field goal. Portland Christian moved in front 19-17 at halftime when Elijah Monnes beat the clock with a 12-foot jumper.

The Royals kept it rolling by scoring eight points in the opening minute of the second half, highlighted by Jesse Severson with back-to-back 3-pointers.

'They were outworking us in the first half, but we came out fired up after halftime,' Severson said. 'We scored those quick eight points and that got us over the edge - it gave us a lot of confidence.'

Severson drilled another long bomb at the end of the period to give the Royals an insurmountable 16-point lead going into the fourth quarter. Monnes led Portland Christian with 13 points in the Northwest League opener.

In girls action, Portland Christian held off a second-half charge to beat the Blue Jays 43-37, clinching the victory when Darcy Cornell swished a 3-pointer for a nine point lead with 2:14 to play.