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PREPS: Streaking Cleveland gets 'Moore' with win over gritty Roosevelt

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TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Sophomore Sethon Moore scored 34 points Friday night to help the Cleveland Warriors hold off the Roosevelt Roughriders 76-64 in a PIL basketball game at Jefferson High.Roosevelt was game, but Cleveland — already on a four-game winning streak — wanted more and Moore.

On Friday night, the Warriors got what, and who, they were looking for.

With 6-3 sophomore wing Sethon Moore scoring a game-high 34 points — 19 in a key third quarter — Cleveland gained some revenge, beating the Roughriders 76-64 at Jefferson High.

The Warriors outscored the Riders 25-8 in the third quarter to lead by as many as 18 points. Roosevelt, down by 20 early in the fourth, made a run, though, and got to within 69-64 with 2:53 remaining. But four Cleveland players each went 2 for 2 at the free-throw line over the final 2:04 to seal the deal.

“We got in transition really well in the third quarter,” Cleveland assistant coach Craig Cokley said, “but, boy, Roosevelt sure didn’t roll over. Their kids came back with a vengeance.”

In the teams’ first meeting, the Riders came out fast and got a big lead before Cleveland made a late run. Roosevelt eventually prevailed 68-61 in a Jan. 9 PIL Showcase game at Franklin.

The Warriors haven’t lost since — and their point total Friday was a season high, two more than they scored in a 74-64 upset of PIL-leading Grant on Jan. 14.

Cleveland doesn’t always play up-tempo, but Moore said the Warriors were ready to match the Roughriders’ desire for a fast and furious pace.

“We were trying to go quick and play smart, and play as hard as we could,” Moore said. “We drove to the hole and attacked their zone, and we looked for good shots when they went man-to-man.”

The first half was back and forth, with each team seizing some momentum. The score was tied three times, and the lead changed hands eight times.

Cleveland went on a 14-4 run for an 19-9 advantage. Roosevelt cut the gap to 20-17 by the end of the frame and then held its largest lead, 35-32, with two minutes left in the half.

Moore’s 3-pointer with 30 seconds left sent Cleveland to the locker room with a 38-37 edge.

To open the third quarter, Moore got inside and scored the first basket — and then went on a tear. Almost perfect from the field, fearless and putting up shots from all angles, he promptly scored from close range again, buried a 3-pointer, hit from the baseline, made a fast-break layup, got a layup out of the halfcourt offense, converted a three-point play off a turnover, nailed a pull-up 3 in transition and finished his spree with a short jumper at the 1:21 mark.

“I was just taking good shots, trying to play my game, and my teammates did a good job getting me the ball,” Moore said. “Things just kind of flowed.”

Cleveland led 63-45 going into the fourth quarter. But the Warriors got careless and impatient, making a batch of turnovers and committing a few unnecessary fouls that gave Roosevelt room to mount a comeback.

And come back the Riders did. They stormed into contention, outscoring the Warriors 9-0 in a 2/12-minute burst that cut Cleveland’s lead to 68-61 — the final score of their game 20 days earlier — with 3:13 remaining.

And then a 3-pointer by Roosevelt senior Da’Lony Armstrong made it 69-64.

First-year Roosevelt coach Michael Lee, the former Jefferson and Kansas University star, wasn’t surprised to see his team fight back.

“We tend to get a sense of urgency when we feel everything is lost,” Lee said. “The third quarter, Cleveland really stepped it up to another level, but I was telling my guys, ‘It’s a game of runs.’”

Roosevelt gets into its offense quickly, or simply puts its head down and goes straight to the basket. With that kind of potential to score quickly, “we’re never out of a game,” Lee said.

In the middle of Friday’s frantic fourth quarter, with the Roughriders making their move, Cleveland coach Don Emry called a timeout and laid down the law.

“He said, ‘No more perimeter shooting,’” Moore said.

The Roughriders still had some chances to pull out a win down the stretch, but they lost the handle a couple of times and just missed from 3-point range. Those plays will now serve as coachable moments for Lee and his staff, which includes his father, John Lee Sr.

“Some possessions are more important than others,” Michael Lee said. “When those ones come around … when you have the opportunity, it has to happen.

“But I’m proud of our guys. They competed.“

The Warriors have been competing and making it happen of late, having made victims of, in order, Madison, Grant, Jefferson, Wilson and Roosevelt. From one game to the next, Cleveland has been able to stay aggressive and play to win.

“That’s a real indication that we’re starting to mature as a team and trusting each other,” Cokley said. “Earlier in the season, we were playing not to lose. Now we have the confidence to battle and try to dictate the outcome. And we condition very hard; we run a lot in practice, and that helps us in the fourth quarter.”

On Tuesday, Cleveland will go to Lincoln, which used its physical style to beat the Warriors by 12 points in their league opener (also Cleveland’ s season opener) on Dec. 8.

With half the league schedule remaining — eight games left for most of the teams — the PIL race for first place and state playoff spots is tight. Grant, the favorite of many, claimed sole possession of first place on Friday with a two-point win at home over Wilson. Grant is 6-2, Franklin 6-3, Jefferson 5-2, Cleveland 5-3, Wilson 5-3, Lincoln 4-4, Roosevelt 3-5, Madison 2-6 and Benson 0-8.

Grant has the best overall record, 10-6, and leads the PIL in scoring. Cleveland (9-7 overall) has allowed the fewest points.

Roosevelt remains a tough out for anyone.

“We pride ourselves on being a decent defensive team,” Cokley said, “but Roosevelt exposes you with the ability to drive to the basket and kick the ball out for 3s.”

Free-throw shooting also was a plus for Roosevelt on Friday. The Roughriders were 6 of 6 in the first half, 5 of 6 in the third quarter and 5 of 9 in the fourth — 16 of 21 for the game.

But Cleveland made 9 of 13 at the foul line in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors also survived the foul trouble of their senior ace, 6-4 forward Stellan Roberts, who was on the bench with four personals as Roosevelt rallied. He came back for the final 4:10 and grabbed some important rebounds, then made the game’s final two free throws.

Roberts finished with 17 points. Sophomore guard Rowan Anderson scored 12 for Cleveland, and backup guard Robert Naemura, a senior, added seven points on a first-half 3-pointer and 4-for-4 free-throw shooting in the second half. Naemura swished two critical foul shots with 1:28 left in the game; those makes gave the Warriors a 72-64 lead.

Roosevelt senior guard Jean Pierre Mategeko led his team with 15 points. Armstrong totaled 13 points, and freshman Isaiah Harris had 10. Mategeko and Armstrong each made three 3-pointers.

The Roughriders are 3-4 in league since the holiday break and are still looking to notch two wins in a row in 2016. But they can be scary — Wilson beat them by only one point at Wilson — and they are doing it under difficult circumstances. The school is without a true homecourt as students await the building of a new gym as part of a modernization of their St. Johns campus. So the Riders have to practice elsewhere, mostly going to the University of Portland, or Portland Community College. The freshman team has to walk a half-mile to practice at George Middle School.

“We have some amazing kids, considering what a lot of them have to go through and then being without our own gym,” Lee said. “They don’t complain, either. It’s a gritty bunch. The best is yet to come here.”

Lee said he is “really enjoying” the job with Roosevelt.

Cleveland, meamwhile, is enjoying its recent streak of good play.

And both teams left Friday night full of respect for the other.

“Cleveland was amazing,” Lee said. “They executed very well in their press offense and knocked down their free throws when they needed them.”

“Roosevelt is very, very athletic — they cause some real matchup problems for us,” Cokley said. “Michael and his dad are doing a heck of a job with those kids. We could play them in a seven-game series and it would go seven.”