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Les Schwab Invitational dubbed another success

Oak Hill Academy tops a talented field at the annual event

The 20th annual Les Schwab Invitational was another hit.

One of the most high-profile boys prep basketball tournaments in the state returned to Liberty High School in Hillsboro on Dec. 27-30, giving western Washington County and Portland-area fans a post-holiday treat — a look at some of the best young players in the state and the country.

National power Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) walked away with the tournament title on the final day. The Warriors, who have bumped up to second in this week’s USA Today Super 25 Expert Rankings, pulled off four straight wins to reach the top of the 16-team bracket.

Oak Hill defeated host school Liberty, Foss (Tacoma, Wash.) and three-time reigning Class 6A state champion West Linn before knocking off DeMatha Catholic (Hyattsville, Md.), 82-66, in the final. The Stags dropped from sixth to eighth in the rankings after the setback in the title game.

Garfield (Seattle, Wash.) topped West Linn 76-60 in the third-place game. In fourth place, the Lions recorded the top finish of any Oregon team. Central Catholic knocked off Clackamas in the fifth-place game and Westview won the consolation crown.

DeMatha’s Markelle Fultz, who has signed with Washington, was named the tourney’s most valuable player. He was joined on the all-tournament team by Foss’ Roberto Gittens, Garfield’s Daejon Davis, West Linn’s Payton Pritchard, and Oak Hill’s Lindell Wigginton and Matt Coleman.

Davis has given a verbal commitment to Washington, Pritchard has signed with Oregon, and Gittens, Wigginton and Coleman are all juniors who are receiving lots of interest from Division I programs.

As for the host Falcons, they did quite well in their second straight LSI appearance. After opening with that defeat to Oak Hill, they suffered a double-overtime loss to Class 6A power Jesuit (64-61) before beating Jefferson (75-68) in OT and then Southridge (51-36) to end the tourney on a high note.

Blake Walker paced Liberty by averaging 14.0 points and 5.8 rebounds per game. Lane Josi added 12.3 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest, and Jacob Mast put up 8.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the Falcons, who improved to 5-5 after a tough early-season schedule.

Some other local talent also shined brightly. Charles Jones of David Douglas led all scorers with 26.8 points per game while Wilfried Likayi of Parkrose was the top rebounder with a 14.0 average.

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