HILLSBORO, Ore. — Eastside Catholic’s run at the Les Schwab Invitational boys basketball tournament ended in defeat amid the whirling dervish that was Mater Dei guard Devin Askew.
Askew, the Monarchs’ 6-foot-3 Kentucky commit, drove Mater Dei (12-2), ranked No. 12 in the nation according to USA Today, with 22 points in a 70-58 victory over the Crusaders (7-1) Monday night to claim the LSI championship at Liberty High School.
Askew, the tournament’s most valuable player, was instrumental in keeping an energized Eastside Catholic at bay. He scored 10 points in a second quarter in which the Monarchs scored on nine straight possessions. Mater Dei’s 6-foot-9 post Harrison Hornery scored 16 points on 4-for-6 three-point shooting.
Eastside Catholic Junior Shane Nowell scored 11 points and contributed physical defense. Junior guard Nolan Hickman added 11 points on 3-of-6 three-point shooting; two of Hickman’s long balls came in the fourth quarter.
Patton Lanier, the Crusaders’ player of the game, provided his team’s best chance at a lead in the third quarter. The 6-foot-1 junior guard sank back-to-back three-pointers in the third quarter, the second cutting the Monarchs’ lead to 43-41 at the 2:41 mark. Askew missed a shot in the ensuing possession, and Lanier came up with the loose ball as Eastside Catholic coach Brent Merritt called timeout.
“The game wasn’t called as physically as some of the earlier ones. They were letting them get up in guys,” Merritt said. “We couldn’t recover today. We got out to a slow start. We made too many mistakes.”
Askew would ensure that the Crusaders’ chance at a tie, or even the lead, remained just that. J.T. Tuimoloau (team-high 12 points) missed a three-point attempt, and on the next Mater Dei possession Askew drew a foul on Tuimoloau on a layup. He sank the free throw to give the Monarchs a 46-41 lead.
“He shoots that thing. That’s what he does,” Merritt said. “We’ve been waiting for him to have a couple big ones.”
Eastside Catholic cut its deficit to 52-50 with 5:44 remaining in the game on a Syon Blackmon basket, but Mater Dei post Wilhelm Breidenbach answered with a second-chance bucket on the ensuing possession, and Askew — who else, on the night — drew contact from Nowell on another made layup. The Monarchs held the Crusaders to a single point in the next three minutes of the game.
“They’re a mature group. They don’t waver at all. I love the way they run their program,” Merritt said. “We’ve got some improving to do, but we’ll get there.
“It’s good that (the Crusaders) get that environment in their eighth game.”
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