|Central Catholic students pose with mascots before game.|
Ed LangloisThe boys basketball team from Jesuit prevailed in Friday afternoon's "holy war" against Central Catholic, winning 77-61 and moving on to Saturday's 6A finals at 8:30 p.m. against Westview.
Of the Catholic Sentinel
Closing down the inside with twin towers Kyle Wiltjer at 6-10 and Jordan Akwenuke at 6-6, Jesuit forced Central Catholic to force layups or shoot from the outside. It all proved difficult for the Rams, who will play for third place Saturday at 3:15 p.m. against North Medford.
Both Saturday games are at the Rose Garden arena in Portland.
Wiltjer, who has signed to play for Kentucky, knocked down 19 points and had 13 rebounds, leading all players in both categories. Also scoring in double digits for Jesuit were Akwenuke with 16 and Jack Grodahl and Xavier Coleman with 10 apiece.
Leading scorer for Central Catholic was Will Bond with 18. Brennan Scarlett, who will play football at Cal next year, chipped in 13, along with seven rebounds.
Jesuit started off strong 5-0, but Central Catholic chipped its way back to take a lead with 1:30 left in the first quarter. But Jesuit quickly regained the lead, not to lose it again. It was 33-25 at the half and Central fought gamely, but never came within seven.
There were moments of hope and momentum, like a David Carr blocked shot with three minutes left in the third. But Wiltjer and company always came back stronger, with jams, blocked shots and fast breaks. A late Wiltjer alley-oop to Akwenuke, who jammed it down, seemed to be the last nail.
The Catholic rivalry has special electricity, with fans and players supercharged.
"It's the holy war, after all," said Sophia Meyer, a Jesuit first year student.
Central Catholic fans always feel a special zeal when playing Jesuit.
"They're good at every sport," says Central Catholic junior Rose Lethe, wearing an "I love my Rams" t-shirt.
"They come out of nowhere," chimed in junior Alyssa Pulanco.
In the Central Catholic fan section, a sea of red, a student in a Viking helmet led cheers. At the green and gold Jesuit end, the mascot was a student in a gorilla suit. Cheerleaders from both sides pulled out their best stunts.