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PREPS: Roosevelt ride ends, but Riders made their mark


TRIBUNE FILE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Senior JP Mategeko rebounds for Roosevelt High in a PIL game against Wilson.At every amusement park or fun center, there comes a time when the attractions stop and it’s time to go home.

That time came Saturday night for the upstart Roosevelt High boys basketball team. The Roughriders, who had battled their way into the postseason, lost their play-in game to Canby, 53-36, at Jefferson High.

The Riders wanted more, but they got a lot out of themselves this season.

“It was a fun ride,” says Roosevelt’s first-year coach, Michael Lee. “Those guys fought all year. The loss (to Canby) doesn’t define our season. Our guys played hard and represented the school and the community really well.”

Canby (8-17), which finished sixth out of eight teams in the The Three Rivers League, will be in Round 1 of the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A playoffs on Wednesday. The Cougars, seeded 30th, have drawn a trip to No. 3 Clackamas for a 7 p.m. game. It’s one of 16 matchups in the countdown to the March 10-12 state tournament, an eight-team affair at Chiles Center.

Canby had losing streaks of four and eight games during the season. Early on, Canby edged Benson by two points but lost by 16 to Grant and by 10 to Franklin. The Cougars continued to progress, however, and they were ready for the pressure Roosevelt tried to put on them.

The Cougars were ranked 34th in 6A by the OSAA. Roosevelt, which finished 11-14 overall, was No. 31. And for a while, the game was as close as the ratings.

The first quarter ended in a 12-12 draw.

Roosevelt had a 16-14 lead early in the second quarter — but the Cougars promptly took control with a 13-0 run over a span of five minutes.

Canby led 28-19 at the half and was able to hold off a cold-shooting Riders lineup in a pivotal third quarter. The Cougars’ lead never shrank below seven after halftime.

The Roughriders had tied with Lincoln and Wilson for fifth place in a heated and wild Portland Interscholastic League race. Those three teams were 8-8 in PIL play, two games behind fourth-place Cleveland (10-6). Along the way, Roosevelt split games with eventual PIL co-champion Jefferson, beating the Demos 67-64 at Jeff on Feb. 2.

The Riders weren’t able to come up with that level of play against the Cougars, though.

“I knew they were going to be a discplined team. I thought we could speed them up,” Lee says of the Cougars. “But you could tell they were very well-prepared. The ball moved to the right places in their offense, and they got a lot of layups. They kept their composure in the second half. They played well. They were just poised. Hats off to Canby.”

Canby coach Craig Evans says his players were able to execute the game plan very well — and that it all started with defense.

“We knew Roosevelt had extremely good shooters,” Evans says. “So we said, ‘We don’t want them to get a single shot without a hand in their face.’ We made them rush their shots a little, especially in the first half, and then they kept missing.

“I’ve seen them make a lot of 3s — we saw them play Tigard early in the season and we had film on them and talked to other people who had played them. It took that kind of defense to get out in front of them.”

Canby went almost all the way with its starters, who seemed to get stronger as the game went on, as the Cougars were able to deny Roosevelt the kind of transition game success the Riders had envisioned.

“I’m very happy with our team effort,” Coach Evans says. “The kids played hard. That was a really good game for us.”

The Roughriders wound up making only three shots from beyond the arc, despite launching tries over and over again, particularly after halftime, when a major comeback was required.

“We have very good shooters, and all year they had the confidence to make shots,” Lee says. “There were four or five 3s that literally were in the rim and came back out. As a coach, I have to live with those looks.”

Canby’s offense, meanwhile, was a well-oiled machine. The Cougars, led by senior point guard Austin Evans, passed strategically to keep Roosevelt players on the move defensively.

Patient and able to avoid a batch of turnovers, Canby repeated worked the ball inside on cuts to the basket or post-up plays to its main front line guys, 6-4 senior Bo Ramos, 6-3 junior Dylan Taylor and 6-2 senior Tony Kraus. Ramos led all scorers with 15 points, Taylor had 10 and Krause added eight.

“Ramos was tough — a big guy, big body,” Lee says. “And Austin Evans was solid with the ball in his hand. He was the head of the horse for them.”

Roosevelt’s 36 points tied the team’s season low. The Riders lost to Tualatin, another TRL team, 58-36 on Jan. 2.

Roosevelt averaged 60.1 points per game in 2015-16.

Seniors Carson Doyle (nine points) and Isaiah Harris (eight) led Roosevelt in scoring against Canby.

Lee will lose four other seniors, but he’ll return a handful of varsity players, including 6-4 sophomore Bostyn Holt, who had seven points in the play-in game.

“This is a start to something from a program standpoint,” Lee says. “Nobody wanted to throw the ball away or make turnovers against Canby, but you hold your head high and walk out as a team proud of what you’ve accomplished. Those guys galvanized a whole community.”

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