Southridge goes just 1-3, but competes well in every game

by: MILES VANCE - HACKED - Southridge senior Justin Calo loses the ball after being fouled on a drive to the basket during his team's Dec. 27 win over Sheldon in the Les Schwab Invitational Tournament at Liberty High School.

HILLSBORO — The annual Les Schwab Invitational is well known as a teacher of hard and important lessons, and the Southridge boys basketball team learned a fair share of both last week.

The Skyhawks, expected to be one of the Metro League contenders in 2013, went just 1-3 in the 2012 LSI, but did so against four quality opponents and did indeed learn much that will benefit the team in the weeks, months and games to come.

“This tournament definitely tests how tough you are,” said senior wing Kevin McClean. But “I thought we held our own.”

“This tournament can make or break a team,” added senior wing Caleb Dozier. “You’ve got to come out ready to play every day because you’re not losing one game and then playing some patsy team the next day; you’re coming in playing a top-10 team every day so you’ve got to come out ready to go and be focused.”

Archbishop Mitty 80, Southridge 70

The Skyhawks, making their second LSI appearance, got the full tournament experience in their Dec. 26 opener at Liberty High School, battling San Jose’s Archbishop Mitty — the 15th-ranked team in the nation — from start to finish before finally falling short 80-70.

Indeed, the Skyhawks trailed just 56-54 after Dozier buried a three-pointer with 2 minutes, 9 seconds left to play in the third quarter. But Mitty, led by 6-foot-8 senior Aaron Gordon (43 points and 15 rebounds), took off on a 12-0 run from there, pushed ahead 68-54 and never allowed Southridge closer than seven points — at 77-70 when David Kim drilled a three-pointer with 1:09 left to play— the rest of the way.

“We were more excited than nervous, playing a team that’s ranked so high,” McClean said. “We did a good job coming out and taking it to them, but you’ve got to give Aaron Gordon credit.”

“We just treat these games like every game’s the most important game of the season,” Dozier added. “You’ve just got to come out and execute the game plan.”

For the game, AJ Monterossi led the Skyhawks with 21 points, two assists and three steals, while Dozier added 14 points and five rebounds, and Kim had 12 points.

Southridge 80, Sheldon 52

It took the Skyhawks a while to get their game legs under them in round two on Dec. 27, but once Southridge caught fire, it burned Sheldon but good.

The Irish, first-round losers to Jesuit, grabbed a 13-9 lead after one quarter and stretched their edge to 20-12 on a Frank Bornstein layup with 5:37 to go in the second quarter. But it was all Southridge after that.

The Skyhawks closed the half on a 15-6 run that included seven points by Dozier and four more from McClean, then put the game away with a 53-26 advantage in the second half.

“They came out strong,” McClean said. “They’re physical and fast and we got caught by it a little bit, but once we realized who they were, we did a good job.”

“We just realized that, at the beginning of the game, we weren’t playing physical at all and they were getting all the loose balls so we had to go out there and pop ‘em, get all the loose balls and stay out of foul trouble,” Dozier added.

For the game, Dozier had 20 points and eight rebounds, Caleb Herzberg went for 18 more, Monterossi had 15 points and McClean finished with 14 points and eight rebounds.

Columbia River 54, Southridge 51

Southridge saved its best for last against talented Columbia River of Vancouver, but in Friday’s consolation semifinal, it just wasn’t enough.

The Chieftains broke out to a 20-7 lead at the start of the game, and try as the Skyhawks might, they never could quite overcome that early deficit.

It wasn’t for lack of trying, though. Southridge cut Columbia River’s lead to four points twice, first at 33-29 on a Dozier jumpshot early in the third quarter, and later at 53-49 on a pair of Dozier free throws with 1:58 remaining to play in the game.

The Skyhawks got even closer too, moving within 54-51 on a pair of Monterossi foul shots with 48 seconds left on the clock, but Southridge wouldn’t score again, turning the ball over once and then getting missed three-pointers from both Herzberg and Davis Pease in the final 12 seconds.

For the game, Dozier had 11 points and five rebounds, McClean went for nine points and five boards, Herzberg had eight points, and Griff Christensen added eight points and six rebounds. Isaiah Smith led the Chieftans with 28 points and nine boards.

Sprague 75, Southridge 66

The Skyhawks learned another important lesson in their Saturday tournament finale against Sprague.

Southridge led the Olympians 55-43 entering the fourth quarter, but couldn’t hold that edge when Sprague caught fire in the final eight minutes. In that final stretch of the two teams’ 2013 tourney, the Olympians broke free for 32 points, going 10-of-12 from the floor (including three three-pointers) and 9-of-13, led by senior star AJ Lapray’s 15 points in the period.

The Skyhawks, meanwhile, after playing so well the game’s first three quarters, turning the ball over five times and hitting just 4-of-13 from the field in the period.

For the game, Herzberg had his best scoring night with 22 points, while Monterossi went for 15, and Dozier had 14 points and six rebounds. Lapray led all scorers with 33 points, 11 rebounds, three assists and three steals, while teammate Tanner Morgan tacked on 24 points in the win.

To see a complete photo gallery from this game, please go to

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