By Cliff Pfenning and Nathan Sarles, oregonsports.com
HILLSBORO – Portland got its first look at the return of Landen Lucas and the world of international basketball got a look at the future of the Canadian National Team this weekend during the Nike Global Challenge at Liberty High School.
Canada battled the US Midwest All-Stars into the second half of the title game of the eight-team tournament before the Midwest pulled away for a 99-94 win.
Archie Goodwin of Little Rock, Ark., led the Midwest, while 7-foot-5 center Sim Bhullar led Canada, which featured another 7-footer.
Lucas, who transferred to an out-of-state academy, will play his senior season at Westview, just a short distance from Sunset, where he played his first two seasons.
The 6-foot-10 center figures to be one of the top players in the state, giving the Wildcats a significant opportunity to dethrone three-time defending champion Jesuit.
“Choosing to go to Westview was more a love of coach (Pat) Coons than a dislike of coach (Todd) Sherwood,” Lucas said after the West lost to the East 122-114 in the third-place final. “They’ll just prep me more for a pro-style team.”
Westview lost to Jesuit in the Class 6A final last year.
Lucas, a last-minute addition to the West team after J-Mychal Reese of Bryan, Texas suffered an injury, played sparingly Sunday, but had 10 points and 14 rebounds in the team’s opening game, a 106-74 win over Puerto Rico.
The West lost 121-101 to the Midwest on Saturday.
The three US teams lost just once to an international team – Canada beating the East 104-83 on Saturday. In that game, Bhullar had 16 points and 11 rebounds and helped his team shoot 55 percent from the field.
Brazil, which lost just 85-74 to Canada in the first round, went 2-1 and finished fifth.
The tournament was the finale of a series of Nike Elite Tournaments that began in March.
When Grant High senior Mike Moser thinks about his basketball skills and his presence within a game, and links it to a flavor of ice cream, it takes just a second to come up with an answer.
“Chocolate,” he says while preparing for a recent practice. “Everybody likes it and it’s smooth.”
Grant coach Tony Broadous picks the same flavor for the 6-foot-8 senior forward.
“Chocolate,” he says. “That’s my favorite.”
Then Broadous puts a texture on his answer.
“And maybe some orange sherbert, a little mixture of both.”
And he’s not alone.
Beno Memory, Moser’s club team coach, picks a type of sherbert.
“Rainbow,” he says. “It’s got a lot over flavors and Mike’s got a lot of parts to his game.”
Mfon Udoka, who’s been practicing with Moser for years, took several minutes to think of one specific flavor.
“I can’t think of even one,” she says, “but it would probably be some kind of sherbert.”
Sherbert … not exactly the texture most basketball players would want to be associated, especially one who is ranked No. 50 among high school seniors by ESPNU, is headed for NCAA power UCLA and has been invited to the Nike Hoop Summit by USA Basketball.
But, Moser’s play is smooth like chocolate and light like sherbert. In the final week of the regular season, Moser scored 46 points in a 66-63 win over Wilson and then 35 in a 78-67 win over Benson.
It might have been the quietest 81-point week in state history, mostly because of Moser’s style of play and 170-pound body.
“You see this thin frame and you’re not going to say he’s a banger,” Memory says of Moser, who’s averaging 22.3 points per game. “He definitely has to get stronger and bigger.”
“He’s got a good attitude,” Broadous says. “He’s not a guy who’s going to cry to the referee, he’s just going to play through most everything. “But he’s still just a young guy. Sometimes people watch him and say ‘how can he be going to UCLA?’ But he’s still just a high school kid who’s working hard to get better.”
We all scream for ice cream Affiliating Moser with ice cream is simple because of his family tradition. His mother, Jeanne, is a co-owner of Rose’s Ice Cream, a restaurant located on NE 42nd and Alberta, where he eats usually five times a week.
Jeanne Moser, like his coaches, connects Mike’s ice cream intake with a simple lack of fairness.
How can he eat so much - and not just ice cream - and still not gain weight?
“If there were any justice in the world, he’d weigh 1,000 pounds,” Jeanne Moser says with a laugh. “He’s young, so it makes sense that he works it off and doesn’t gain any weight.”
Moser came into the family as a one-month old, when Jeanne Moser adopted him from Dallas, Texas, the first of four children she adopted as a single women.
Adoptions and raising foster children have become a family tradition as Jeanne’s sister, Jane, has also adopted children. And, from around the world: Brazil, India, Haiti.
Mike Moser played numerous sports as a youngster but his height and passion for athletics helped him hone in on basketball. He played on the Grant varsity team as a freshman.
Jeanne Moser says that while Mike developed during his first two years at Grant, his skills blossomed last summer under the tutelage of Memory and on an AAU team, I-5 Elite, funded by Ime Udoka. At the Nike Global Challenge, Moser lit up Internet blogs as being a player to watch.
“He learned a lot of technique and really honed it,” Jeanne Moser says. “That’s when we really started to recognize his potential.”
Jeanne Moser says one of the joys of watching Mike and the Generals play is their teamwork on the court, which reflects Mike Moser’s personality. “He’s not a ball hog, he’s not too much into the ego of it all,” she says. “He just wants to play, and play as a team. He likes the hard work that goes into it and likes it when his teammates like that hard work, too.”
Both Broadous and Memory have added to the foundation set by his family.
“We want our players to be able to play the game the right way,” says Memory. “We want his to have a good attitude, a strong work ethic and be a good teammate and continue to use those things in his journey with basketball.”
Moser says Broadous has played a key role beyond basketball.
“He’s helped me with my overall game,” Moser says of his coach, “but he’s also helped me with growing up, with how to be a man. We’ve had our ups and downs, but he’s always stuck by my side.”
California dreamin’ With a scholarship to UCLA in his future, Moser is a prime target for NBA expectations.
He expects that of himself, as do the legions of UCLA fans. Of the five incoming Bruins, Moser is No. 5 in terms of buzz on sites such as www.bruinville.com. The other four recruits are from California, and the most recent Oregonian to play in Westwood, Lake Oswego’s Kevin Love, headed to the NBA after one season.
The recruiting class is ranked No. 9 in the nation by ESPNU, which had only one other Pac-10 school in the top 25 – Washington at No. 14. Moser is the only Oregonian headed for one of those 25 programs.
UCLA ended up as Moser’s second pick after he initially committed to Arizona. When Wildcats’ coach Lute Olson left the program for health reasons, Moser took the opportunity to switch programs and headed for Westwood and coach Ben Howland.
He almost headed for Oregon State and coach Craig Robinson because of what he saw as a chance to play significant minutes as a freshman, but couldn’t resist the lure of a bigger program in an NBA market.
“The atmosphere and the history there and Ben Howland as a coach,” he says, “it’s really a good fit for me.”
While Love went from Oregon to UCLA to the NBA, Moser fits into the mold of a player who would most likely work through four years of schooling before reaching the NBA dream.
Ironically, Moser’s thin frame isn’t much of a drawback because of his age. Coaches and fans alike see a tall, lanky leaper with long arms ready to be molded by the rigors of the college game.
“I think I’m ready,” he says. “If I’m not, I’m going to get there.”
Even with a strong class of Californians heading for and returning to Westwood, Moser is still predicted as being part of the playing mix next season. “It’s going to be an adjustment because players are going to be a lot tougher,” Broadous says. “And Ben Howland has a reputation as being tough as nails. There’s some things he’s going to have to work on the get consistent playing time, but Mike’s a quick learner and he’s always in the gym, so I’m confident he’ll get playing time as a true freshman.”
As for the NBA, Moser, like most major college recruits, has his hopes.
“That’s a goal of mine,” he says. “I’m going to keep working hard and playing hard, but that’s a long ways away.”
“He’s got the talent to play in the NBA,” Memory says. “His versatility, his length and athleticism … I can definitely see him playing at the next level.” Broadous says the NBA might be the kind of dream Moser should think about as a college senior.
“He’s got the talent and the drive,” Broadous says. “I believe he’ll play somewhere professionally.”
General doubts Being ranked second and the defending champions, the Generals are already a marked team before opponents and fans single out Moser as the player to focus on defensively.
Added to that, Moser is the only Grant player averaging double figures in points.
And, the Generals didn’t exactly blow out the competition in the PIL. The team finished 10-2 in league games, but four of those wins were by five points or less. And they beat Jefferson and Roosevelt of Class 5A by just five points combined in January.
Last season, the Generals had Moser alongside guard Paul McCoy, who graduated to the program at Southern Methodist, where he’s getting significant playing time. The Generals also had Mike James, who moved to junior college.
Moser still feels like the title belongs to the Generals until another team takes it from them.
“We feel like one of the favorites,” Moser says, “but there’s definitely a lot of doubters so we’re going to surprise some people.”
Broadous says Moser and the rest of the Generals are ready for the challenge, even if they get linked to sherbert ice cream.
“It’s a different team and Mike’s had to step up into the leadership role, but he’s done a good job with that,” Broadous says. “We’re peaking at the right time. I wouldn’t trade this team for any other in the state.”
Central Catholic, North Medford get chances to upset the rematch
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
The Class 6A boys basketball teams with the top players continued on a path to meet in a rematch of last year's state final.
Jesuit beat upstart Roseburg and Westview survived a tense game with North Medford Wednesday to move into the semifinals at the state tournament being played at the Rose Garden.
JESUIT 68, ROSEBURG 39
The New World Order that might have emerged with a Roseburg win over Jesuit lasted two possessions, after which the Crusaders ran away to prepare for their semifinal game Friday.
After Ryan Benson hit a 3-point jump shot for Jesuit on the game's first possession, Roseburg tied the game on a 3-pointer by Tim Weber. The Indians had a chance to tie the game at 5-all with a pair of free throws, but Weber made just one of two and the Crusaders reeled off a 12-2 run from there and were never challenged.
Jesuit (24-2), looking for its third-straight state title, will play Central Catholic Friday in the semifinals.
Roseburg (19-7) dropped into the consolation bracket and will play Lincoln Thursday morning.
Jack Grodahl hit 5-of-8 3-point shots and led Jesuit with 18 points, while Kentucky-bound Kyle Wiltjer had 13 points and 8 rebounds.
The Crusaders made 24 of 37 shots from the field, including 10-of-18 3-point attempts, and finished with a 36-20 edge in rebounds.
Weber led Roseburg with 9 points.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 61, LINCOLN 44
Central Catholic got 16 points and 15 rebounds from Brennan Scarlett and powered through a cold start and into the semifinals against their inner-city rivals.
Lincoln led 19-11 after the opening eight minutes, but the Rams dominated the game from there with balanced scoring and rebounding of the Cardinals poor shooting. Lincoln made just 3 of 18 3-point attempts. David Carr, Kidus Ephram and Will Bond also scored in double figures for Central Catholic.
JT Flowers led Lincoln with 15 points.
The Rams improved to 24-3, while Lincoln dropped to 20-8.
NORTH MEDFORD 64, WEST LINN54
North Medford got 19 points from Derek Mautz and 10 points and 19 rebounds from Jordan Browne-Moore and ended West Linn's underdog run.
The Lions, the lowest playoff seed - No. 6 - still playing, trailed by 12 entering the fourth quarter, but cut the deficit to 46-40 with 4:53 left. They got a steal on the ensuing possession and fired up a 3-pointer, but it missed and the the Black Tornado scored on its next two possessions and West Linn did not have another shot to cut the lead to less than six.
Mario Shonkwiler led West Linn with 18 points.
The teams combined to hit just 8 of 37 3-point attempts.
North Medford will play Westview in the semifinals Friday, while West Linn plays South Medford in the consolation bracket Thursday morning.
WESTVIEW 54, SOUTH MEDFORD 51
In the best game of the day, Austin Kuemper and the Wildcats edged the Panthers with clutch shooting, especially at the free-throw line.
Kuemper, headed to the University of Oregon, scored 15 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Westview, which also got 15 points from Miles Gatewood and 11 points from Dyrall Goods.
Goods hit a 3-point shot with 1:34 left to push Westview ahead 52-50, and Gatewood made two free throws with 6 seconds left for a 54-51 lead. South Medford missed a 3-point shot with 1 second left.
Bend, Wilsonville, Corvallis reach semifinals, too
In their first year at Class 5A, the Benson Techmen ended years of frustration by advancing to the state tournament semifinals with a win over Mountain View Wednesday at Matthew Knight Arena.
Benson, which has won five state titles at the large-school classification, hasn't reached the state tournament portion of the playoffs since 2006 and hasn't played into the semifinals since 2001 when it lost to Churchill in the Class 4A final.
The semifinals are entirely new this year as Class 5A seeks a new champion after three years of dominance by Jefferson. Corvallis, Wilsonville and Bend also played into the semis. Of the four semifinalists, only Bend has never won a title.
Horizon Christian, Western Mennonite, Siletz Valley score upsets
Horizon Christian capped another memorable season with its second Class 3A boys basketball title with a 58-44 win over Dayton in the OSAA/U.S. Bank/Les Schwab Tires tournament at Marshfield High in Coos Bay.
Junior Jordan Tebbutt scored 20 points and sophomore Wyatt Houston added 13 for the Hawks, who avenged a loss to Dayton in the West Valley League tournament title game.
In the Class 2A final, Western Mennonite beat Central Linn 58-52 at the Pendleton Convention Center to earn the school its first title. Pierre Zook scored 31 points in just 24 minutes and the Pioneers avenged two regular-season losses to Central Linn.
In the Class 1A final, Siletz Valley got 27 points from Jake Carr and 22 points and 12 rebounds from Erick Rice in its 70-56 win over The Triad in the title game at Baker High School. The title is the first for the Warriors, who avenged three earlier losses to league rival McKenzie in the semifinals.
Jefferson's title run ends at Milwaukie, Central ready for 4A repeat
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Two-time defending Class 6A state champion Jesuit roared into the state tournament with a convincing 82-43 win over Sunset Friday and will attempt to become the first large school to win three straight titles beginning Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Class 5A will crown a new champion after three years of dominance by Jefferson, which lost 70-49 at Milwaukie. Class 5A’s top-seeded teams: Bend and Corvallis; both won and will begin Wednesday at Matthew Knight Arena in Eugene.
For Milwaukie, which moved to Class 5A this year, it's the first trip to a state tournament since 1991.
Class 4A defending champion Central will be part of the state tourney at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. Central lost to Brookings-Harbor, 52-49, in 2009, otherwise it would be trying to win its third straight title.
Jesuit’s third win over its Metro League rival improved it to 23-2, including two playoff wins by an average of 35.5 points. The Crusaders play Roseburg at 1:30 p.m. in the opening game of the eight-team tournament at the Rose Garden.
Roseburg beat North Salem 67-50 Friday, and improved to 17-6. The Indians won their playoff games by an average of 17.5 points.
Overall, seven of the eight Class 6A home teams won, including North Medford’s three-overtime win against Barlow, 76-69. In Class 5A and 4A, all the home teams won.
Clackamas avenges a 24-point loss with aggressive play
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
After a 24-point loss to Lake Oswego two weeks ago, Clackamas boys basketball coach Jeff Bair challenged his players to be more assertive on offense and cut down on their turnovers.
The Cavaliers had 33 turnovers in the 83-59 loss, Jan. 18.
“It was the most turnovers I’d ever seen in a game in my life,” Bair said. “We wrote that number up on the board and kept on them every day about it.”
Clackamas responded to both challenges and handed the No. 7 Lakers their first loss in Three Rivers League play, 69-55, at Clackamas Thursday night.
Senior Brian McGill scored 22 points and senior Alex Brown added 20 to lead the Cavaliers, who improved to 14-4 overall and 8-2 in the TRL.
Clackamas made 21 of 28 free-throw attempts and cut its turnover total to 19 in winning its fifth straight game.
“We played great as a team tonight,” McGill said. “That was a total team effort.”
Lake Oswego had its nin-game win streak snapped and dropped to 13-5 overall, 9-1 in league play. Max Livingston led the Lakers with 21 points.
Clackamas led 32-26 at the half and extended the lead to 50-37 heading to the fourth quarter. Brown powered the Cavs’ offense with eight points, including a dunk to end a fastbreak and then an offensive rebound basket on the next possession.
“They were down and we knew they were going to battle really hard,” said senior Alec Breazeale, who had 11 points. “We just needed to battle harder than they did.”
Clackamas handled the Lake Oswego pressure without making turnovers in bunches.
“Our coaches had us prepared the last time we played,” McGill said. “We just didn’t execute. Tonight we did a lot better.”
With a healthy lead, Clackamas went into a ball-control offense and made just three field goals in the fourth quarter. They attempted 18 free throws, making 13.
Lake Oswego attempted just seven free throws during the game.
The outcome put the Cavaliers within a game of the Lakers in the league standings. The teams meet again on Feb. 22 at Lake Oswego, when both teams will be test again on effort and turnovers.
“We had 19 turnovers, which is still too many for me,” Bair said. “That’s going up on the board, too.”
When Bryce White looked back upon Benson’s 69-42 win over Jefferson Friday night, he described the outcome in one word: humiliation.
After getting beaten and sometimes drubbed by the Democrats – three-time defending boys basketball state champions in Class 5A – in the past, the Techmen pounded their neighborhood rival for the second time in a month.
“They did that to us last year,” White said after scoring 20 points. “I think it was by 50 or something, so we wanted to get back at them.”
Jefferson, on the way to finishing 26-3 with one loss by forfeit last year, beat Benson in February by a margin that caused both teams to simply not report the score to media outlets other than Jefferson had won.
Benson, which dropped from Class 6A to 5A in summer, responded to that loss with a 76-53 win over Jefferson Dec. 17. Friday the Techmen got 21 points from standout senior Andrew Andrews and improved to 8-2 overall.
Benson, ranked No. 2, has lost to No. 1 Corvallis (69-60) and Jesuit, the No. 1 team in Class 6A (68-54).
Jefferson, which graduated most of its talent from the three-year title run in June, fell to 5-6 overall. The Demos’ previous three games were decided by three points or less. Sophomore Terrell Penney Jr. led Jefferson with 11 points.
The teams meet again Feb. 4 at Jefferson.
Jefferson led 6-5 midway through the first quarter, but Benson fired off a 16-2 run and eventually led 36-16 at the half.
Benson's roster full of quick guards and small forwards overcame the taller, but less experienced Jefferson roster through the kind of effort expected from a state title contender.
Knights overcome a key loss with defense and shooting
By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com
Just 30 seconds into Tuesday's Lewis and Clark League opener, De La Salle High lost its one true post player for the game with a knee injury.
Donta Scott, a 6-foot-4 junior, went to the bench, and then to the hospital, as the Knights fell behind Warrenton 9-4. Then, they pulled together and ran to a 67-53 win at Concordia University in a boys basketball game.
Junior Ali Liban scored 19 points, senior Brenton Douglas had 17 points and senior Will Garofalo added 12 to push the Knights to 5-1 overall.
"Losing Donta right away, that had us kind of scared," said Douglas, the team's lone returning starter from last season's state tournament qualifier. "But, our big people stepped up and we worked the ball around like we know how. Overall we played pretty good."
After falling behind immediately, the Knights responded with a 20-1 run to end the first quarter and kept the lead to seven or more for the remainder of the game. They forced 28 turnovers, and hit 24 or 45 field-goal attempts (53 percent) in their only home game at the home of the NAIA Cavaliers - the team's only game scheduled for the court this season. The Knights' regular homecourt, the North Portland Salvation Army, features seating for slightly more than 100 spectators.
Senior Reese Johnson led Warrenton (2-3) with 19 points.
With Scott out, De La Salle turned to 6-1 senior Xavier Houston and he finished with 11 points, and more importantly, 11 rebounds.
The Knights, who finished sixth at last season's Class 3A tournament, used defense and a pair of three-point shots as the key to their first-quarter run. The Warriors aided the run by missing five of six free throws.
Warrenton opened the second quarter with a 7-0 run to pull within 24-17, but De La Salle responded with a 7-0 run of its own and that set the tone of the game - Warrenton rallying, but never getting closer than nine points thereafter.
"We were always making a run, but we just seemed to be one basket short of really getting close," Warrenton coach Jash Jannusch said. "But we played them even the last three quarters, so that's a good sign for when we play them at home."
The teams meet again Jan. 21 at Warrenton.
On Frdiay, De La Salle plays at Corbett (4-2, 0-1), while Warrenton plays host to No. 3 Valley Catholic, which beat Corbett 69-46 Tuesday.