Central Catholic's boys head into next week's prestigious Les Schwab Invitational with a four-game winning streak.
The Rams beat McMinnville 55-49, Westview 55-47, Lake Oswego 53-50 and Tigard 54-43 after an opening 49-48 loss at Jesuit. The middle victories gave Central the championship of their Steve Halligan Holiday Classic.
'We haven't shot the ball as well as I would like, but our defense is playing well,' CC coach Mike Petrino says.
The Rams are off till Wednesday, when they face De La Salle (Concord, Calif.) at 7 p.m. in the first round of the Schwab at Liberty High.
This will be the Rams' first appearance in the holiday invite.
'It's like being a fraternity pledge during initiation week,' Petrino says.
Central Catholic begins defense of its Mount Hood Conference title Jan. 4 at Barlow. Key returning players for the Rams are 5-11 guard Joel Freelander, 6-1 shooter Jake Teeny, 6-4 guard Nate Carr and 6-5 post Demetrius Guice, all seniors. Freelander, Carr and Guice got a late start because they were playing for the Central football team that reached the Class 6A quarterfinals. And Teeny was out with a broken nose.
• The 12th Schwab Invitational runs four days, through Dec. 29. Wednesday's first round: Grant-Mark Morris (Longview, Wash.), 9 a.m.; Oregon City-Jefferson, 10:30 a.m.; North Eugene-Jesuit, noon; Westview-Enumclaw (Wash.), 1:30 p.m.; Helen Cox (Harvey, La.)-Redmond, 4 p.m.; Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)-White Rock (B.C.) Christian, 5:30 p.m.; De La Salle (Concord, Calif.)-Central Catholic, 7 p.m.; South Medford-Beaverton, 8:30 p.m.
Top out-of-state players include Greg Monroe, a 6-10, 225-pound, Georgetown-bound power forward from Helen Cox who is considered by many the nation's top senior, and 6-9, 240-pound forward-center Drew Gordon of Archbishop Mitty, who is headed to UCLA.
Go to primetimepdx.com for a complete bracket and other tournament information.
• Jefferson and Trail Blazer Brandon Roy are putting on a tournament with some Washington schools at Jeff today and Saturday.
'Hopefully, everything works out so it can become a tradition,' Roy says.
Tonight, the Democrat boys play Federal Way at 6:45 and the Jefferson girls take on Seattle's Garfield at 8:30. On Saturday, the girls face Franklin of Seattle at 5:45 p.m., and the Jeff boys tackle Seattle's Garfield -Roy's alma mater -at 8 p.m.
As a senior, Roy led Garfield over Jefferson in a game at Seattle. Earlier this year, at a ceremony saluting the Blazers for their help in renovating the gym floor, Jefferson presented Roy with a Democrat letterman's jacket. The star guard will leave it in the closet on Saturday, however.
'I'm always pulling for Garfield,' he says with a laugh.
• The Demos rallied from a 15-point deficit Tuesday to win at Westview 63-59. Jefferson overcame the 23 points and 20 rebounds of Wildcat 7-footer Andy Poling. 'We tried to box him out, but all he had to do was just stick his hands up to get a rebound,' Demo senior point guard Kalonji Paschal says.
Jefferson improved to 3-0.
'We've got to rely on defense and our fastbreak game,' senior guard Henry Williams says. 'We're like a mix of the Detroit Pistons and the Phoenix Suns.'
• Benson (3-3) and Wilson are in Oahu, Hawaii, for a boys basketball tournament. The Techmen finished third there last season. 'Our returners really want to win it this year,' coach Troy Berry says. The tournament ends Saturday. Then Benson is off until its Jan. 8 PIL 6A league opener at home against Grant. 'It gives the kids a chance to spend time with the family and just take a little break from basketball,' Berry says.
-Steve Brandon, Jesse Severson