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Albert’s Diary: MLK Holiday Invitational at Portland State

The Northwest’s best high school programs locked horns Monday

The Jefferson Democrats faced off against national powerhouse Rainier Beach on MLK Day

As we all enjoyed a day off from work and school to commemorate the great and late Martin Luther King, thousands of high school basketball fans fled to Portland State’s newly built Viking Pavilion for some high school basketball.

The main event of the MLK Holiday Invitational was none other than Rainier Beach from Seattle and Jefferson High School of Portland. Rainier Beach’s history of professional ball players is deep as the Vikings have heralded pros such as Jamal Crawford, Nate Robinson, and Dejounte Murray. This year the Vikings have five star junior MarJon Beauchamp as well as son of Shawn Kemp, Jamon Kemp. The Jefferson Democrats also have their share of professional alumni, including Terrence Jones and Terrence Ross, who starred there during the late 2000s.

The Jefferson Democrats were led by UW commit Marcus Tsohonis, who has a throwback feel to his game and has a variety of moves in his bag. Tsohonis played with Nike EYBL Seattle Rotary in the summer and helped them proceed to the Peach Jam for the first time in program history. Tsohonis played a game with the Rose City Rebels in the summer alongside Aaron Deloney and Ty Rankin of Grant in the finals of the Rose City Invitational, where they squared off against the NW Panthers, who ironically had both MarJon Beauchamp and Jason Kemp. Rainier Beach/Jefferson was just another tally in the long standing battle between the Seattle and Portland. Although the two teams seldom play, when they do it represents a heavyweight match up of the two biggest cities in the Northwest. The following game showcased State Perrenial Powers Lake Oswego and Grant, who were ranked number one and three respectively within the state.

Rainier Beach vs. Jefferson

The battle of the Northwest started out as a turtle race, as the two teams were sniffing each other out in first quarter. The players seemed to be adjusting to Portland State’s venue, which is a large spacious arena, a tad different from most high school venues. The Vikings showed their athletic prowess in warm ups with a myriad of show stopping dunks, led by MarJon Beauchamp and Jamon Kemp. Beauchamp, ranked in the ESPN 60, heralded as a national recruit since the 8th grade, holds a number of Pac-12 offers as well as one from the Beavs.

The lanky 6’6” point forward has something close to a 7 foot wing span, played with the NW Panthers in the Adidas Gaunlet Series and is no stranger to high school basketball’s stage. MarJon starred as a freshman on the 35-0 Nathan Hale team that won the MaxPreps National Championship and was a sophomore star on the Garfield squad that won the 4A State Title last year. Beauchamp mixes it up with a arsenal of moves, whether it is driving it into the lane at ease, commanding the fast break and finishing with acrobatic prowess, or pulling up for the jump shot after a quick shake and bake. Beauchamp filled up the stat sheet, with 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 6 assists, but also had a subpar 6 turnovers. MarJon was frustrated all game with the non-calls that the Vikings were receiving, and ultimately had a shot to tie it at the end of regulation, but came up short on a tough contested three. The second half was a bar fight, as the Demos scrapped for lose balls and rebounds, the Vikings found their stride, out scoring Jefferson 19-11.

Marcus Tsohonis paced Jeff with 22 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 steals as he was the floor general for the Demos, with his aggressive play and ability to get a bucket or go to the line in key stretches of the game. Sharp shooting Keylin “the microwave” Vance came off the bench to score 12 points, as underclassmen big men Kamron Robinson and Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge paced the Demos with their solid, scrappy, but effective and gritty play. Jefferson took this affair 65-59 as it was surely a long bus ride home for Rainier Beach. The Vikings now sit at 9-4 and with two consecutive losses they will be bumped outside the Top-25 by all national polls.

Lake Oswego vs. Grant

The last game of the event pitted number one in Oregon Lake Oswego against 2018 6A State Champs Grant. Grant is led by the dangerous tandem of Aaron Deloney (Vermont Commit) and Ty Rankin, who both played on the Nike EYBL Team Rose City Rebels. Lake Oswego, on the other hand is comprised of a throwback team of individuals that play specific roles for the greater good. Coached by Marshall Cho, the Lakers run a tight ship, led by point guard Wayne McKinney III, whom the Beavs have expressed interest in, and sharp shooting senior Josh Angle. Rankin and Deloney contributed 19 points each for the Generals, but Lake Oswego’s full team assault was too much for the reigning State Champs. Wayne chipped in 14 points, 7 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 blocks, and 4 steals, as he was pestering Deloney all night, making sure it was a difficult night for the State’s most gifted scorer. Josh Angle had a monster game of 20 points and 12 rebounds, providing the Lakers with easy offense, although he was only 1-5 from three point land. Big man Fred Harding had a solid 15 points and 7 rebounds as well as capped off the night with a two handed slam with minutes to go. The game was close at half time, 35-34 Lake Oswego, however the Lakers proved to have too much fire power for the Generals, who simply do not have the depth they did last year. Lake Oswego takes this one 78-65.

Shoutout Jed Tai for the great seats! And John Deits for the great convo! Good to see you guys again!