(The Register-Guard) Churchill has to be hoping that the third time will be the charm.
The No. 2 Lancers defeated Madison 68-50 in the OSAA Class 5A boys basketball semifinals on Friday night at Matthew Knight Arena, setting up the finals rematch with No. 1 Jefferson that's been anticipated for most of the season.
"We want to go get what we lost last year," said Churchill senior David Shedrick, who led the Lancers with 22 points and 14 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end. "They took it from us and we want it back."
The Democrats (25-1) are the only team from Oregon that's beaten Churchill (25-2) this year -- a 67-55 decision at the Les Schwab Invitational back on Dec. 29. That victory jump-started Jefferson's 20-game winning streak, and the Lancers have run off 21 consecutive wins of their own.
Of course, Jefferson also outlasted Churchill in last year's state final, winning the school's seventh state championship in boys basketball and fifth since 2000. The Lancers led for the better part of that contest before Jefferson went on a 9-1 run to end the game.
"I think we both thought we would be in the situation again," Churchill coach Kelly Bokn said. "Even last year with just the number of kids we had coming back. We've been working hard for that, and it ought to be a good basketball game tomorrow night."
The Lancers were sharp from the opening tip on Friday. They opened with a 12-2 run and kept Madison's talented guards defended well behind the three-point line and ineffective in the half-court offense.
Churchill senior point guard Malik Morgan recorded his second straight triple-double with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 13 assists.
Deshone Brooks added 13 points in a strong all-around performance, Brendan Nesbitt had 11, and Andrew Smith finished with 10 as all five Churchill starters scored in double figures.
Morgan assisted on three of Churchill's first four baskets during an 8-0 run to start the second quarter, helping the Lancers build a 24-11 lead with 5:20 remaining. Aubrey Stephens connected on a three-pointer as the halftime buzzer sounded with Madison trailing 30-21.
Stephens and fellow senior Mak Hutson have led Madison to its first winning season since 2008 and its first state tournament appearance since 1969.
The two combined for 39 points in the Senators' quarterfinal victory over Sherwood but ran into Churchill's dynamic backcourt at the wrong time.
Stephens scored a game-high 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting, but Hutson was held to just eight points on 3-for-12 from the field.
Myles Fitzgerald-Warren added nine points for the Senators, who will face West Albany in the third-place game at 3:15 p.m. today.
"I thought we did a pretty good job on Stephens," Bokn said, "even though he scored quite a bit."
Churchill outscored Madison 16-12 in the third quarter, capped by a one-handed dunk from Brooks that put the Lancers in front 46-33 to start the final period. The lead eventually grew to 20 on Brooks' no-look pass to a wide-open Shedrick with 3:03 to go, and Churchill held on the rest of the way.
The Lancers have won their three playoff games be an average of more than 26 points per game. Jefferson has played in three close contests with an average margin of victory of four points.
"We just want to go out there and take it," Shedrick said. "We've relied on our defense this whole year, and so we're going to bring our defensive presence the most we've brought it all year and not let them get second chances."
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