HILLSBORO -- The Westview Wildcats went into Tuesday night's third-place game against the Mt. Vernon Knights from New York as Oregon's last hope to knock off one of the three powerhouse out-of-state teams in the Les Schwab Invitational.
For the game's opening minutes it looked as if they had a chance, but then, as they had so many times before in the tournament, the visiting Knights, ranked 18th in the nation, took their game to another level in a lopsided 87-64 victory at Liberty High School.
Westview's loss meant that for the first time in the Invitational's 13-year history, no Oregon team finished in the top three. Westview coach Pat Coons said the result was a testament to the strength of the visiting teams and the fact that Oregon teams lack some of the star power of recent years.
"They're just a notch quicker, they're a notch more explosive," he said. "How do you prepare for that? That's the question. You can't do much preparation for that with your kids because of the level of quickness." The Dominguez Dons of Compton, Calif., nipped the Fairfax Lions of Los Angeles to take home the tournament championship with a 58-56 win.
All-tournament selection Myron Green was credited with the game-winning basket in the final minute when tournament MVP Renardo Sidney blocked his layup attempt. Green finished with a team-high 22 points and Sidney had 32 points and 13 rebounds for Fairfax. Monday night the Wildcats lost to Fairfax, the ninth-ranked team in the country. Coons said playing foes as talented as Fairfax and Mt. Vernon was the best preparation his team could have heading into the conference season.
"That's the best thing we can face is to have to deal with that type of pressure and quickness," he said. "We needed to work on that." Tuesday night, the Knights' quickness and strength proved too much for the Wildcats to handle. Using a tenacious full-court press, the Knights forced the Wildcats into 17 first-half turnovers and never looked back after closing the first quarter on a 9-0 run to take a 21-12 lead. The Knights then started the second half on a 7-0 run and would extend the lead to 30 twice before clearing their bench late in the game.
Jordan Lessane led four Knights in double figures with 19 points on 8 of 12 shooting, and Vaughn Allen had 12 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Austin Kuemper paced the Wildcats with 17 points and five rebounds. Ian Ruder/Special to The Oregonian