HILLSBORO, Ore. – In a frantic up-and-down contest, Oregon guard and Gonzaga signee Silas Melson gave a preview of the explosive scoring capabilities he will take to Spokane next season.
Melson, who won two Oregon state titles at Jefferson High School in Portland, led all scorers with 40 points and was named the game’s MVP after leading Oregon to a 127-114 victory at the Northwest Shootout at Liberty High School on Saturday.
The win gave Oregon its second straight Northwest Shootout victory.
His scoring barrage began after Washington took a 17-12 lead. That is when he reeled off eight points in 44 seconds to put Oregon up by three.
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He went on another tear in the final minute of the first half, scoring six of Oregon’s eight points when the team closed on an 8-0 run to take a 58-56 halftime lead. It was the eighth lead change of the half.
“As a basketball player, you’ve got to know that the end of the first half is crucial in a close game,” Melson said. “I just tried to step up my play to start the second half with momentum.”
That momentum carried Oregon to a dominant second half, in which the squad led by as many as 17 points.
“We just weren’t taking care of the ball,” Jaway Stepney of Kentridge High School said. “They’re very good at converting (in transition).”
Washington turned the ball over 21 times.
Bogdan Bliznyuk (Todd Beamer High School) led Washington with 29 points and 11 rebounds. Stepney and Tramaine Isabell (Garfield) each added 21 points.
Washington girls 96, Oregon 84
Washington saw its 25-point second half lead slowly evaporate but eventually snuffed out a late second-half comeback from Oregon to earn a 96-84 victory.
Chandler Smith (Brewster High School) was named the game’s MVP after scoring 14 first-half points and playing tight defense on Oregon Gatorade Player of the Year and University of Tennessee signee Jaime Nared. Smith, who will attend Nebraska next year, finished with a team-high 18 points.
Mount Rainier of Des Moines star Brittany McPhee, the state’s Gatorade player of the year who will play at Stanford, had 13 points on 4-of-16 shooting. Cleveland of Seattle teammates Myzhanique Ladd and Makala Roper had 14 and nine points, respectively.
After a scorching hot start from the field for each team, Washington cranked up its half-court defensive intensity and closed the final 10 minutes of the first half on a 33-17 run to take a 58-36 lead,
A late rally cut the margin to 91-83 with 3:44 remaining, but Oregon did not make another field goal.
Washington forced 27 turnovers and limited Nared, who led all scorers with 26 points, to 5-of-16 shooting from the field.
Nike McClure (W.F. West High School of Chehalis), who will attend Washington State next season, had 14 points, a game-high 15 rebounds (including 11 offensive boards) and four blocks.
The Washington girls have won six of the last seven Northwest Shootouts over Oregon.