BOYS HOOPS: Open Door holds St. Stephen's to a single bucket during a 12-minute stretch

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Open Doors Johnny Cristurean reaches out for a loose ball alongside St. Stephens Aiden Smith in the Huskies 51-39 tournament win Thursday.

Valley 10 first-round playoff

Team Score
Open Door Huskies
St. Stephen's Archers

PORTLAND — The Open Door Academy boys basketball team checked under the hood at halftime and revved its engine in the second half to scoot past St. Stephen's 51-39 in the first round of Thursday's Valley 10 tournament hosted by Multnomah University.

After trading the lead six times in the first half, Open Door returned to the floor ready to take charge.

It started with St. Stephen's making an errant pass that resulted in the ball bouncing past half-court. The Archers were slow responding, while Open Door guard Johnny Cristurean flashed down the floor in pursuit of the loose ball. He leaned in to tap it ahead for a potential fast break layup, only to have the referee whistle the play dead ruling that the St. Stephen's player had gotten a fingertip on the ball first.

While the play did not produce points for the Huskies, it did set the bar for defensive intensity.

Moments later, Cristurean struck again, poking the ball out of the hands of an Archer and taking it the distance for a 27-24 lead.

"That gave us a mental edge. It showed who wanted it more," Cristurean said. "This is what we've played the whole season for."

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Open Doors Isaac Van Vleet heads into the lane to finish a fast-break layup. He led the Huskies with 17 points.

Open Door also came out in the second half intent on sending the ball inside to the post. The Huskies juggled their lineup to put two centers, Reno Mikityuk and Alex Kim, onto the floor at the same time.

The new plan proved effective with Mikityuk scoring three quick buckets, while the pair combined to pull down numerous rebounds.

"We felt like we had a size advantage, so we came out more aware of the post position and were able to get some more shots up," Mikityuk said.

Open Door's Isaac Van Vleet knocked down a transition 3-pointer, then swiped a steal and was fouled on his way to the hoop. He sank one of two at the line to give the Huskies their first double-digit lead of the night at 37-27.

It would never get close down the stretch.

Van Vleet drilled four 3s and finished with a game-high 17 points.

"At halftime we got into the right mindset and knew we could play at a higher level," Van Vleet said. "In a close game, those 3s helped us put more points on the board."

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Open Doors Reno Mikityuk stretches the ball out on a drive through the lane in the first half.

Open Door limited the Archers to one bucket through a 12-minute stretch, as the lead grew to as many as 19 points.

Joel Radigan sank a series of 3s in the final minute to bring the final margin down to a dozen points. He would finish with a game-high 21 points.

Open Door advances to play North Clackamas Christian in the third-place game at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. The winner earns the league's final spot into the 1A state playoffs.

The Huskies got out to an early 6-2 lead Thursday night when Van Vleet stretched out to block an Archers' 3-point try, scooped up the ball and hit a 3 of his own at the other end.

Open Door took a 23-18 lead late in the first half after Ben Tevs swished his third long ball of the half — each of them coming from the same spot on the left side of the floor a few steps in front of where St. Stephen's coach John Jackson was standing.

After a timeout, the Archers got a pair of quick 3s from Jonathan Smith to take a one-point lead into the locker room.

View photos at ...

ST. STEPHEN'S 11 13 3 12 — 39

OPEN DOOR 11 12 16 12 — 51

St. Stephen's (39) — Joel Radigan 21, Smith 9, Bergeron 4, A. Smith 3, Maharjan 2, C. Turner, L. Turner.

Open Door (51) — Isaac Van Vleet 17, Tevs 13, Mikityuk 8, Cristurean 6, Sima 3, Kovalchuk 2, Yurko 2, Hernandez, Kim, Stamper.

Huskies fall to North Clackamas in third-place game

Valley 10 Third-place game

Team Score
North Clackamas Christian
Open Door

With a state playoff berth at stake, the Open Door boys basketball was unable to wait out North Clackamas Christian in a 43-27 loss in Saturday's third-place game at the Valley 10 tournament.

PMG PHOTO: DAVID BALL - Open Doors Reno Mikityuk drives around North Clackamas defender Luke Nelson during Saturdays third-place game.

The Saints came out in a 2-3 zone defense with 6-foot-4 center Hadden Stark planted in front of the basket. It was like posting a 'No Trespassing' sign in the lane.

Open Door responded by passing the ball around the perimeter. North Clackamas jumped the lanes for a couple near steals, but the Huskies remained persistent and kept the ball outside the 3-point arc.

Finally, three minutes into this game of keep away, Saints' coach Grant Nelson called for more pressure on the outside, basically transitioning into a 3-2 zone. Still, Stark remained planted under the rim.

Another minute came off the clock, half of the opening quarter vanished, before Open Door attempted the first shot of the game. The 3-point try from in front of the Saints' bench came up short.

North Clackamas swiped the rebounded and sprinted down the floor with Stark finishing the fast break for a lead the Saints would not relinquish.

The Saints would go in front 19-0 before Open Door scored its first points on an Alex Yurko layup midway through the second quarter.

Third-place game

OPEN DOOR 0 6 6 15 — 27

N. CLACKAMAS 9 10 9 15 — 43

Open Door (27) — Isaac Van Vleet 7, Yurko 6, Mikityuk 4, Tevs 3, Hernandez 2, Kim 2, Sima 2, Cristurean, Kovalchuk, Zelenivskiy.

North Clackamas Christian (43) — Braden Young 14, Matias 8, Minne 7, Horn 7, Stark 4, Nelson 3, Meuser, Frerichs, Hodder.

This story is scheduled for our Tuesday, Feb. 25, print edition.

You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.