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Jahlil Okafor’s huge game can’t prevent Young loss

12/30/2013, 11:37pm CST
By Scott Sepich

Jahlil Okafor capped off an outstanding Les Schwab Invitational with 33 points and 12 rebounds, but Young fell to West Linn (Ore.) 68-67 in the third-place game of the 16-team holiday tournament in Hilssboro, Oregon.

HILLSBORO, Ore. — Jahlil Okafor capped off an outstanding Les Schwab Invitational with 33 points and 12 rebounds, but Young fell to West Linn (Ore.) 68-67 in the third-place game of the 16-team holiday tournament.

With Young leading 67-66, West Linn point guard Payton Pritchard shot a fadeaway 10-foot jumper that bounced up in the air off the back of the rim, then fell through the net with 1.9 seconds remaining.

Young’s desperation lob to Okafor on the final play sailed untouched out of bounds, and the defending Oregon state champions celebrated a signature victory.

“Our guys played hard, they just made one more shot,” Young coach Tyrone Slaughter said. “We let this one get away from us in the first half.”

The Dolphins trailed by as many as 13 points in the second quarter as West Linn hit eight of 14 three-pointers before halftime.

“The hole we dug was so deep we couldn’t get out of it,” Slaughter said. “There’s always a balance between winning and learning, and while there’s lessons to be learned at the end of the day we have to find a way to win games.”

Young rallied in the second half, taking its first lead since the first quarter on an Okafor basket with 1:50 remaining in the game. The lead grew to three, but West Linn reclaimed the advantage on its only three-pointer of the second half with 30 seconds left.

Okafor hit two free throws on the next possession for Young, setting the stage for Pritchard’s game-winner.

Okafor averaged 31 points and 12.5 rebounds as Young went 2-2 in the tournament. He made 13 of 14 field-goal attempts Monday and shot 81 percent over the four days.

Paul White scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Dolphins, but shot just 4-for-11 from the floor. Miles Reynolds scored 15 points on 6-of-22 shooting, missing all nine of his three-point attempts.

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