Jesuit shows why its No. 1
Jesuit's victory in the Les Schwab Invitational clearly established what the rest of the state must compete with to win the state title Ñone solid team.
The top-ranked Crusaders can shoot from the floor, have a variety of players who can sink 3-point shots, rebound well, don't commit many turnovers and play with poise. All of the above helped them go 4-0 during the 16-team tournament at the Chiles Center last week.
Jesuit beat Lake Oswego 64-42 in the final before more than 3,000 fans.
'This is a great win for us,' Jesuit senior Dan Nugent says. 'And it's a team win. A lot of teams focus on how one particular player does, but we have a lot of guys who can come through.'
Nugent says the Crusaders (7-0) want to play at tournament level all season.
'We set goals at the beginning of the season, and one of them was to go undefeated,' he says. 'We remind ourselves every day that we can't let down.'
Jesuit beat Marist, Aloha, fifth-ranked South Salem and the Lakers in succession, using a 19-0 run in the second half to vault past Lake Oswego and tournament MVP Kevin Love, a 6-8 freshman. Love had 23 points and 18 rebounds in the final.
The Crusaders had a 54-30 rebounding edge against Marist, grabbed 17 offensive rebounds against Aloha, and made 16 of 27 shots from the field in the second half against South Salem while holding standout point guard Jeremiah Dominguez to just nine points.
More boys hoops
Dominguez scored 40 points against Lincoln in the third-place game, leading the Saxons to a 71-62 victory.
Lincoln (4-3) upset Georgetown Prep from the Washington, D.C., area. The Cardinals fell into the third-place game after a 53-52 semifinal loss to Lake Oswego, with Love scoring the winning basket in the final second.
'These are two tough losses,' says Lincoln junior point guard Omar Leary, who had 29 points against South Salem. 'But we're maturing. We have to grow as a team, and this is part of that process.
'We've got a couple weeks off now, and hopefully everyone will get to the gym and take care of their game.'
Jefferson (6-1) lost its opener to South Salem 67-62 but rallied with three straight wins, including a 75-59 victory over Barlow in the consolation final.
'We're meshing the pieces together, and we made some strides in this tournament,' Jeff coach Marshall Haskins says. 'We're headed in the right direction.'
Two players emerged for the Demos Ñ 6-8 junior Brian Morris and 5-9 sophomore guard Marquis Hall, who started in the three wins.
Benson (2-5) lost its first three games and had its final game canceled because Verbum Dei, a team from Los Angeles, is a Catholic school and didn't want to play on Sunday.
Barlow coach Tom Johnson says his team got a good look at where it needs to improve to be competitive at the state level. Jefferson had a 42-28 edge in inside scoring.
'Jefferson is just so quick, that's hard to prepare for,' Johnson says. 'We don't see any teams in our league that are as quick as they are.'
Tournament organizer Neil Lomax says that while the double-elimination portion of the Class 4A state tourney has been reduced to eight teams, the Les Schwab Invitational will remain a 16-team, four-day event. Attendance totaled more than 16,000 in the tourney's eighth year.
'It's been very successful,' Lomax says. 'It helps promote Oregon basketball, and we're going to keep it just the way it is.'
Grant senior LaToya Hill almost single-handedly kept the Generals (6-1, 3-1 PIL) in the league title race by scoring 35 points during an entertaining 78-75 overtime victory at Franklin. Hill missed her first five 3-point attempts and failed to hit the rim on the first four, which caused Franklin's student section to chant 'air ball' every time she touched the ball.
But Hill's only 3-pointer of the game broke a 69-69 tie, and she made a short jumper after a steal just seconds later to give Grant a 74-69 lead. She also finished with 16 rebounds and nine assists.
Central Catholic (7-0, 4-0 Mount Hood) continued to work its way toward a second straight conference title by hammering Gresham 71-50 on Friday. The Rams got a combined 47 points from their big three: Suzanne Doleac, Annie McIntyre and Chelsea Morrison.
Central, which is averaging 61 points per game, hosts Sandy (3-0 MHC) on Jan. 13.