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PREPS: Defense propels Jesuit into 6A semis

Jesuit High played its typical bulletproof defense Thursday afternoon against South Medford High.

The Crusaders held the Panthers to four points in the second quarter, and Jesuit produced just enough offense for a 42-36 Class 6A quarterfinal win at Moda Center.

“Defense is our strong point,” Crusaders forward Henry Mondeaux said. “We studied up on our scouting report. We saw a lot of the sets they were doing, and we wanted to stop them on dead balls. We got after it and threw different defenses at them. That was the key to our win.”

The Crusaders (17-8 and seeded fifth) advanced to the semifinals and a 3:15 p.m. Friday match-up with No. 1 West Linn.

“We need to stay focused,” Mondeaux said. “We’ll study up and watch some film and just be ready for whatever they throw at us.”

The No. 4-seeded Panthers dropped into the consolation bracket and will face No. 8 Central Catholic at 9 a.m. Friday.

The Crusaders shot just 12 of 40 from the field (.300), but held South Medford (20-6) to 11 of 35 (.314).

Jesuit guard Jack Nadelhoffer was the only player for either team in double figures. He had 10 points.

“I was coming in confident,” Nadelhoffer said. “My teammates tried to instill confidence in me, telling me to shoot no matter what.”

Jesuit led by as many 11 points early in the third quarter. South Medford rallied, and with 2:59 remaining cut the lead to 32-30 on a 3-pointer by guard Brandon Robertson.

Jesuit answered with a layup and did not allow the game to get that close again.

“We just stayed focused,” Nadelhoffer said. “We focused on our defense, because that’s really all we can control. Shots might not be falling, but as long as our defense is there, we feel like we can stay in any game.”

The Crusaders did not shoot particularly well in the first half, hitting 9 of 27 shots (.333). And while no one on Jesuit scored more than five points in the half, the Crusaders got at least two points from all eight players that saw time on the floor.

Meanwhile, Jesuit held South Medford to 4 of 15 from the field (.267).

Jesuit set the pace in the first quarter, built a 14-11 after eight minutes, then continued its momentum. At the half,the Crusaders were on top 24-15.

“We turned on some pressure, and they weren’t ready for it,” Mondeaux said. “We had a lot of guys flying around.”