'We said the offensive side would come. The defense, we had to pick it up'

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JAIME VALDEZ - Marcus Tsohonis of Jefferson High goes to the basket Friday against Beaverton as the Democrats win at Chiles Center and reach the Class 6A championship round.For all of the wow moments the Jefferson Democrats create with the basketball in their hands, it was their work without it on Friday that earned them a shot at a championship.

The top-seeded Democrats used tenacious half-court defense and fought off every challenge from the fourth-seeded Beaverton Beavers for a 63-54 semifinal win at the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A boys basketball tournament.

The Democrats (25-1) will play third-seeded Clackamas (24-4) for the state title at 3:15 p.m. Saturday at Chiles Center. Clackamas beat West Linn 78-71 in the second semifinal, ending the Lions' chase of a fifth consecutive title.

Jefferson beat Clackamas 80-54 in December, but the Cavaliers have not lost since.

In Friday's semifinal, Jefferson's quickness on defense forced Beaverton into 18 turnovers, and the Beavers' 40-percent shooting included 4-for-20 from 3-point distance.

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