Pioneers prove themselves among state's best
by: John Lariviere, Oregon City point guard Brad Tinsley is on the offensive during the Pioneers' game with 13th-ranked Archbishop Mitty in the championship final.

HILLSBORO - The Oregon City Pioneers discovered two things at the recent Les Schwab Invitational.

They are definitely one of the top high school boys basketball teams in Oregon, but they are not among the top teams in the nation.

The Pioneers finished runner-up to nationally-ranked Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, Calif., in the tournament, which featured 16 high caliber teams, including eight teams ranked in the top 10 in Oregon.

The Pioneers, who entered the tournament ranked second in the state to South Medford in Class 6A, got blown out by 13th-ranked Archbishop Mitty 86-65 in the title game.

En route to the Dec. 29 championship game with Archbishop Mitty, the Pioneers earned wins over Jefferson, the No. 2-ranked team in 5A, 71-61; over Helen Cox of Harvey, Louisiana, 56-53; and over South Medford, 64-58. Helen Cox was ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation, but the Louisiana team was missing several players, including 6-10 forward Greg Monroe, the top-rated high school senior in the U.S.

The win over defending state champion South Medford was a huge confidence-booster for the Pioneers, who improved to 10-0 with the victory. It was the first loss of the season after eight straight victories for the Panthers.

The Pioneers took charge of the semifinal with South Medford at the start of the second half, when they went on a 17-2 run, and built a 45-27 lead.

Senior point guard Brad Tinsley and senior post Sammy Schafer had huge games for the Pioneers. Tinsley came through with a team-high 24 points and six assists. He was 4-of-6 on 3-pointers.

Schafer owned the backboards. The 6-9 Pioneer big man hauled down 15 rebounds and scored 14 points.

Senior wing Kamal Smith chipped in with 10 points and four assists.

Archbishop Mitty turned the title game into a route early on, rolling to a 25-7 lead in the first quarter.

Tinsley had 25 points and seven assists in the losing effort.

Schafer had 9 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.

Smith scored 16 points.

Tinsley and Schafer were among the Les Schwab tournament's statistical leaders.

Tinsley led all scorers, averaging 25.8 points for the Pioneers' four tournament games. The Pioneer playmaker also averaged 5.3 assists, third-best for the tournament.

And Tinsley was the tournament leader in free throw attempts, going 28-for-35 (.800).

Schafer was the tournament leader in rebounding, averaging 11.8 per game. He also averaged 3.0 blocked shots, second best for the tournament.

Schafer was one of the tournament's top percentage shooters, finding the mark on 20-of-31 (64.5 percent) of his shots from the floor. Schafer averaged 13.25 points per game for the tournament.

Tinsley was among six players named to the all-tournament team.

The Pioneers (10-1) were to begin Three Rivers League play on Tuesday, when they were to go head-to-head with Clackamas (7-2). They entertain Lakeridge (5-4) this Friday.

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