The Saints hit eight 3-pointers in the middle quarters to build a 30-point lead over Open Door

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - North Clackamas teammates Hadden Stark, 32, and Jake Van Lieu bump during pre-game introductions before Thursday's 62-36 road win at Open Door.

Valley 10 League

Team Score
North Clackamas Christian Saints (9-1)
Open Door Huskies (4-4)

GRESHAM — It took awhile for the temperature to rise, but eventually North Clackamas Christian caught fire from long range and ran away with a 62-36 road win at Open Door last Thursday.

The Saints saw their first flurry of 3-point tries carom off the rim, allowing the host Huskies to put the first four points onto the scoreboard.

North Clackamas promptly shifted gears and looked inside to spark a 12-point burst, capped when Caleb Matias picked off a pass on the perimeter and went the other way for a layup.

"It didn't matter if the shots came from inside or out, we just passed the ball around until we found something good," Saints' senior Jake Van Lieu said.

All five North Clackamas buckets in the first quarter came within five feet of the hoop.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - North Clackamas Christians Jake Van Lieu moves toward the basket for a third-quarter layup.

Still, Open Door was able to hang around with guard Johnny Cristurean converting a three-point play late in the first quarter. Early in the second, teammate Alex Kim took a pass on the block, spun into the middle before twisting back the other way to reach the rim for two points.

The Huskies followed with a long possession that included a dizzying number of handoffs outside the arc. Eventually, Cristurean found himself in the corner in front of the visitor's bench. He faked a pass toward the center of the court, and instead sent a perfectly-placed bounce pass along the baseline into the hands of Erik Rudenko for an easy two off the glass to bring Open Door within 16-15.

That's when the Saints caught fire.

Luke Nelson hit the team's first 3-pointer more than 10 minutes after the opening tip, and Caleb Matias swished one from the corner on the team's next trip.

Open Door planned to hold for the last shot of the first half, but Matias picked off a pass outside the arc and beat everyone down the floor for a layup and a 33-21 halftime lead.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - North Clackamas Christians Braden Young makes a move past an Open Door defender.

"I saw his eyes and predicted what he was doing," Matias said. "I stepped in and took off with the ball."

The Saints nailed four long balls in the second quarter and four more in the third on their way to a 30-point lead. Nelson led the charge with three makes from behind the arc.

"Just keep shooting and eventually they are going to go in," Nelson said. "Once they did, it gave us all the momentum."

Jeremy Horn drove the baseline and fired a pass through traffic to teammate Cody Smidt, who sank a 12-footer in the lane that put all eight Saints into the scoreboard by the opening minute of the fourth quarter. All five North Clackamas starters scored in double figures.

"No matter the score we want to keep the defensive intensity high and play our best," Van Lieu said.

North Clackamas is next in action at 6 p.m. Saturday at Portland Waldorf.

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N. CLACKAMAS 14 19 22 7 — 62

OPEN DOOR 11 11 4 11 — 36

North Clackamas Christian (62) — Luke Nelson 11, Jake Van Lieu 11, Caleb Matias 10, Isaac Minne 10, Braden Young 10, Hadden Stark 6, Jeremy Horn 2, Cody Smidt 2.

Open Door Academy (36) — Vitaliy Maftey 15, Johnny Cristurean 11, Erik Rudenko 4, Reno Mikityuk 2, Alex Kim 2, Danny Hernandez 2, Sima, Yurko, Stamper, Visan.

This story is slated for our Jan. 9, print edition.

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