Beaverton boys claim 'state title' with win over Grant
The Beaverton boys basketball team made an already good season great when it capped Oregon's culminating week with a 40-37 win over Grant in the Red Bracket's championship game Thursday, June 24, at Franklin High School.
The Beavers used a suffocating defense to jump-out to an early 17-2 lead and held the powerful Generals to just nine first-half points, then held-off the challengers in the final seconds as two Grant 3-point attempts missed the mark, setting-off a wild Beaverton celebration.
"I knew these kids could beat anyone in the state," Beaverton head coach Andrew Vancil said. "We held Sherwood scoreless in the first quarter and Grant to 2 points in the first quarter. When you do that to a good team it gives you a shot of confidence and allows you to control the game with a lead. I am very proud of this team, as I told them they are now legends to the program."
Beaverton was led by sophomore Brady Rice, who finished with 20 points, while 6-foot-10 senior post Dane Erikstrup added 13 and was his usual disruptive force on the inside. But Vancil was quick to point out the Beavers' defensive side, where this team's bread is buttered.
"Our defense is what carried us all year," Vancil said. "We have led the state in back-to-back years in points given up and this year's team really bought in to guarding for 32 mins.
"Tre Hamilton, Brady Rice, Jordan Mesa, Max Elmgren, Keenan Apperson were all huge over the weekend. My two seniors Dane (Erikstrup) and Finn (Barkenaes) were great leaders all year and set a great example for the younger kids."
The Beavers won a relatively close game to open tourney play, defeating Roosevelt 63-56, and rolled roughshod over Sherwood in the second round 63-34 before facing PIL runner-up Grant, who Vancil said was particularly fired-up to play due to the Generals eliminating Beaverton in the state playoffs last season.
"The win over Grant was very satisfying," the coach said. "(Last year's loss) bothered me all off season and I know it bothered guys like Dane, Finn, and Tre. To see us come out and execute a game plan versus Grant and make enough winning plays down the stretch kind of validates in your mind as a coach that what you are doing is working and your kids are getting better. I was very proud of all our guys to show up in a big game situtiaon against a very tough Grant team."
Vancil added this team had a propensity to do things the right way. There were no egos, he said. They accepted their roles, and worked hard, which the coach said is consistent with every quality team he's coached in the past.
"What I enjoyed most about this team was how they practiced," Vancil said. "We consistently had good practices where kids competed versus each other as hard as they could. My best teams have always been great practice teams and even with a short season this group of guys was focused on getting better and they did."
The win wasn't a true state championship, for Oregon's culminating week consisted of three 6A tournaments with a handful of the state's finest teams playing elsewhere. But Vancil and his team didn't seem to care, and the Beaverton coach made as much clear in his comments in the wake of the team's victory, in addition to speaking to the team's future.
"I don't care if it was a red bracket, blue bracket, or green bracket, not many teams get to end the season on a winning streak, and winning the Red Bracket State Title is a huge confidence boost to the program," Vancil said. "What I am most excited about going forward is we don't have the 6'10 stud in the middle next year= these young guys need to step up and have great off seasons. We now have a target on our back every time we step into a gym and it is up to these younger guys to maintain the level of excellence Finn and Dane are leaving behind."
Oregon Culminating Week Tournament Scores:
Beaverton 63, Roosevelt 56
Tualatin 74, Gresham 62
Sherwood 59, L Oswego 51
Grant 82, Liberty 41
Beaverton 63, Sherwood 34
Grant 63, Tualatin 54
Beaverton 40, Grant 37
D Douglas 49, Wilsonville 44
Westview 66, Forest Grove 45
Wells 76, Southridge 74
Milwaukie 62, Canby 54
Westview 54, D Douglas 43
Wells 71, Milwaukie 48
Wells 51, Westview 49
Jesuit 63, Newberg 38
Clackamas 58, Cleveland 50
Jefferson 77, La Salle 64
Mountainside 53, Barlow 40
Jefferson 73, Mountainside 47
Clackamas 65, Jesuit 62
Jefferson 67, Clackamas 62
Sunset 66, Madison 47
Tigard 67, Franklin 25
Aloha 63, Centennial 59
Reynolds 57, OR City 55
Tigard 74, Aloha 44
Sunset 70, Reynolds 55
Sunset 64, Tigard 58
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