BY PAUL DANZER/PORTLAND TRIBUNE/Democrats use their size and second-half defense to turn back Jesuit in OSAA 6A quarterfinal

TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Khalil Chatman (right) of Jefferson looks to make a move against the Jesuit defense.Jefferson isn't the same basketball team without Marcus Tsohonis.

But the Democrats still can be a force.

Their top scorer out with a broken finger, the Demos found another way to pull away from a challenge.

Led by 28 points from 6-8 senior Khalil Chatman, top-ranked Jefferson took control in the second half and beat seventh-ranked Jesuit 63-48 in the Oregon School Activities Association Class 6A boys quarterfinals at Chiles Center.

The Democrats (24-3) remained unbeaten against Oregon opponents this season. They will face No. 20-seeded Barlow (18-8) at 6:30 p.m. Friday in a state semifinal.

Jesuit (21-5) will play Tualatin at 9 a.m. Friday in consolation action.

Up one at halftime, Jefferson cranked up its defense in the third quarter and outscored Jesuit 20-7 in the period. Four Demos scored during a 14-point run that turned a two-point Jesuit lead into a 12-point advantage for Jefferson.

Ultimately, the size and athletic ability of Chatman and 6-10 Kamaka Hepa were too much for the Crusaders. Jefferson outscored Jesuit 38-14 in the paint.

Chatman hit 11 of 17 field goals and 6 of 7 free throws. Hepa was 7 of 12 from the field and finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Hepa also blocked three shots and made two of Jefferson's seven steals.

"We needed that firepower down low," Jefferson coach Pat Strickland said. "Jesuit didn't double-team. We were kind of pondering whether or not they were going to double-team. We told our big guys, take your time, back them down. If the double-team comes, just kick it out."

Chatman's role was more about rebounding and defending and taking points where they came this season after transferring from Franklin.

That changed with Tsohonis out.

"Marcus is our best offensive player. But we knew that we're a deep team and I was going to have to step up and carry the load with him being down," Chatman said.

"Me and Kamaka, our whole mind-set was to just dominate the paint," Chatman said. "We feel like we're the best two big men in the state, so we're just going to have to be aggressive this whole tournament and make the refs call fouls."

Jefferson's backcourt also stepped up, particularly defensively in the second half. After Jesuit made four 3-pointers in the first half, the Crusaders went 2 for 9 from behind the arc in the second half.

At halftime, Strickland emphasized keeping Jesuits guards from getting clean looks and  letting Hepa handle rim protection.

Several Demos stepped up on the perimeter in Tsohonis' absence, none bigger than Robert Ford, who took on the primary point guard role. The senior injected energy with a series of hustle plays and contributed seven rebounds, four assists and a steal.

"We needed all the guys to be huge, but Robert did step up," Strickland said. "He led us. He handled the ball for the majority of the game and played solid defense on Matt Lang as well."

Lang finished with 11 points, four in the second half, and was 1 for 6 on 3-pointers for Jesuit. Joe Wall led the Crusaders with 13 points, and Sam Handley had 11 rebounds.

Keylin Vance started in Tsohonis' spot and finished with 10 points, and K'lum Strickland, Jalen Brown and Romeo Akil played their part in the active defense that shut down the Crusaders after halftime.

"Their athleticism in the end kind of overcame us," Jesuit guard Will Sheaffer said. "We didn't really respond in the second half the way we know we could've. (Jefferson) kind of got in a groove defensively. They started using their length and athleticism to get after us, getting in the passing lanes and all that. On the offensive end, they were obviously a lot to deal with inside, especially. Jefferson is a great team, so hats off to them."

Each team led by six during a first half that ended with Jefferson ahead 30-29.

In the first half, Chatman had 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Hepa had nine points, four rebounds and two blocks. 

Jesuit made 4 of 10 3's in the first half, with four players scoring from behind the arc.

In the second afternoon quarterfinal, Barlow's Jesse White scored 27 points and hit the game winner from deep behind the 3-point line with less than two seconds left in a 69-66 win for the Bruins.

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