Clackamas is off to a 10-2 start on the 2013-14 boys basketball season

HILLSBORO — After early jitters, the Clackamas Cavaliers more than held their own at the prestigious Les Schwab Invitational Boys Basketball Tournament, defeating three of Oregon’s top Class 6A teams and capturing the consolation trophy.

The Cavaliers got a rough start to the tournament, connecting on only 21 percent of their shots from the field (13-for-60) in a humbling 71-31 loss to one of the top teams in the country, Whitney Young out of Illinois.

But they regrouped and won their next three games of the Dec. 27-30 tournament, defeating Sunset 68-60, Grant 79-75 in overtime, and Central Catholic 50-43 in the consolation championship final. It was the first loss to an Oregon opponent for Grant. Central Catholic’s only other losses to Oregon opponents came at the hands of No. 2-ranked Sheldon (66-60) and Tigard (64-53).

Clackamas’ depth proved pivotal in the tournament. The Cavaliers’ bench outscored all four Les Schwab opponents, including Whitney Young, and they outscored their four opponents 89-26 for the tournament. Nine Cavaliers put points on the scoreboard in the overtime win over Grant and eight scored in the consolation final with Central Catholic.

The win over Central Catholic was sweet revenge for the Cavaliers, many of whom played for Clackamas on a Cavalier football team that lost to Central Catholic in the 2013 Class 6A football quarterfinal.

Defense proved the deciding factor against the Rams. Central led 26-22 at the halftime break, but the Cavaliers upped their intensity on defense in the second half, and held the Rams to only 6-of-22 shooting from the field in the third and fourth periods.

Clackamas senior post Keaton Bankofier (17 points) was a hot-handed 6-of-8 from the field, as he led four Cavaliers in double figures in scoring. Senior post David Reese (10 rebounds) led the Cavaliers to a 32-24 advantage on the backboards; sophomore point guard Mitchell Fink sparked the offense with five assists.

Fink, Bankofier and sophomore wing Beau Gunderson were big for Clackamas in the overtime win over Grant.

Fink hit a jumper just inside the buzzer to knot the score at 60-60 and send the game into overtime.

Gunderson hit a layup and 3-pointer early in the overtime to make it 65-60 Clackamas.

Bankofier and Fink then combined to hit 10-of-11 free throws down the stretch to put the Generals away. Bankofier was a perfect 6-for-6 from the line in extra period, with four on-target charity tosses in the final 22 seconds.

Gunderson (18 points) and Bankofier (17 points) paced the Cavaliers in scoring. Gunderson was 6-for-12 from the field, with three 3-point baskets. Fink sparked the offense with eight assists.

Bankofier, Fink, Reese and junior wing Markus Golder led the Cavaliers to a 42-22 domination of the backboards, each of them with five rebounds.

Fink played a pivotal role in the 68-60 win over Sunset. Fink’s buzzer-beater at the end of the third period put Clackamas up 45-43. Fink had a steal and layup to start the fourth quarter to up the Cavalier lead to 47-43.

Gunderson followed up a Sunset turnover with a jumper to make it 49-43.

Another steal and layup by Fink made it 51-43 Clackamas just a minute into the final period, and the Cavaliers had the game in hand.

Bankofier (17 points) led four Clackamas players in double figures in scoring, hitting 5-of-7 shots from the floor.

Fink (14 points) had five assists and five steals.

Reese, Golder and senior wing Raekwon Mingledoff led Clackamas to a 36-30 edge on the backboards, each of them with six rebounds.

The Cavaliers were intimidated by 6-11 post Jahlil Okafor in their loss to Whitney Young. Okafor, considered by many to be the top NBA draft in the country, scored 23 points on 11-of-14 shooting, claimed nine rebounds and rejected three shots in 23 minutes of playing time. Whitney Young’s starting lineup also included 6-9 senior Paul White.

Clackamas wasn’t the only Three Rivers League team to put in an impressive performance at the Les Schwab Invitational. West Linn won the third-place trophy from the 16-team tournament, edging Whitney Young 68-67 in the third-place final.

In other games, the Lions handled South Eugene 80-51 and Tigard 58-44, before losing to Bishop Gorman out of Nevada, 57-49 in the championship semifinal.

The Lions used sharp shooting from downtown to put Whitney Young away. They hit 24-of-45 shots from the floor, including nine 3-pointers. Whitney Young was 24-of-50 from the field and 0-for-10 from 3-point land.

Payton Pritchard’s jump shot with three seconds remaining gained the Lions their 68-67 winning edge.

Anthony Mathis (15 points) was 4-for-7 from the field, with two 3-pointers; Ryan Shearmire (14 points) was 4-for-8 from the field, with three 3-pointers; Pritchard (13 points) was 6-for-10 from the field; and Hayden Coppedge (11 points) was 4-of-7 from the field, with two 3-point baskets. The Lions also got two 3-pointers from C.J. Sitton (6 points).

Clackamas continued on track last weekend, upping its season record to 10-2 with wins over Tualatin (89-81) and Union, Washington (60-55).

Ranked eighth in the OSAA power rankings, the Cavaliers play Southridge on the road this Friday. They begin Three Rivers League play a week from Friday, when they play fifth-ranked West Linn on the road.

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