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10 biggest upsets (or near-upsets) in Les Schwab Invitational history

Out-of-state powers Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Brophy Prep (Phoenix), Duncanville (Texas) and Sierra Canyon (Calif.) will be on upset alert this week.

By Bob Lundeberg | Photo by Leon Neuschwander 

There have been several big upsets and many more near-upsets during the two-plus decades of the Les Schwab Invitational

Out-of-state powers Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas), Brophy College Prep (Phoenix), Duncanville (Texas) and Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth, Calif.) will be on upset alert during this year’s edition, which runs Dec. 26-30 at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon. 

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Below is a list of 10 of the biggest upsets and near-upsets in LSI history. 

10. Jefferson comes up just short against Dominguez, Tyson Chandler

Jefferson led Dominguez and star center Tyson Chandler by eight points entering the fourth quarter of the 2000 LSI final, but the Los Angeles power stormed back to claim the title. Michael Lee and Aaron Miles had 20 points apiece for the Democrats. Chandler was held to five points in the championship game, but future Washington star Bobby Jones had 23 points in the victory. 

9. Central Catholic pushes Montverde to the brink

A forgotten near-upset given what transpired in the first semifinal, Central Catholic stormed back from an early deficit and almost took down Montverde Academy at the 2014 LSI. The Ben Simmons-led group survived, 58-57. The late Deante Strickland scored a team-high 18 points for the Rams while Ben College added 17 off the bench. Simmons had 20 points and eight rebounds to pace Florida’s Montverde. 

8. Westview stuns Fairfax

Ranked 13th in the country entering the 2004 LSI, Fairfax was expected to cruise to the final. That did not happen. In a first-round stunner, Westview buried 12 three-pointers in a 77-71 victory over Fairfax. Gabe Palone made five of those threes and led the Wildcats with 27 points.

7. Crusaders nearly take down No. 1

In a national broadcast on ESPNU, Jesuit pushed national No. 1 Oak Hill to the brink in the 2011 LSI final before ultimately succumbing, 57-50. It was one of the closest results for Oak Hill during a perfect 44-0 season. Future Georgetown star D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera led the way for Oak Hill with 23 points in the championship game.

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6. Jesuit scores a big upset over Aaron Gordon, Archbishop Mitty

Current Denver Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon was a dunking machine for Archbishop Mitty at the 2012 LSI, but the Monarchs were stunned by Jesuit, 76-72, in the quarterfinals. The Crusaders were led by Khyan Rayner’s 32 points. Gordon averaged 30 points and 16 rebounds during his LSI run, but the Crusaders held him to 17 points and six turnovers. 

5. Pritchard hits a game-winner

In the third-place game at the 2013 LSI, a sophomore Payton Pritchard knocked down a last-second jumper to defeat pre-tournament favorite Whitney Young, 68-67. Pritchard had 13 points and seven assists while Jahlil Okafor dominated with 33 points and 15 rebounds. It was one of many big moments in Pritchard’s decorated West Linn career.

4. Jesuit sends Mater Dei spiraling

Jesuit has pulled off multiple upsets at the LSI, including a 78-74 second-round victory over Southern California power Mater Dei in 2001. Joe Kaempf, D.J. Jackson, Scott Doughtery and Zach Tarver all scored in double figures for the Crusaders. Mater Dei went on to lose its next two games to Little Rock and Thurston as Oak Hill won the title.

3. Jefferson pushes Durant, Oak Hill

Jefferson nearly pulled off one of the tournament’s biggest surprises in 2004 against an Oak Hill team led by Kevin Durant. The Democrats held an eight-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but No. 3 Oak Hill outscored Jefferson 28-15 in the final period to seal the semifinal win. Ty Lawson led Oak Hill, which routed Hillsboro in the championship game the following night, with 16 points against a tenacious Jefferson team.

2. Mathis, Pritchard upend Wheeler

Payton Pritchard defeated future Boston Celtics teammate Jaylen Brown in a semifinal stunner at the 2014 LSI. Anthony Mathis had 38 points for West Linn and Pritchard added 11 with nine assists in a 70-62 victory over Wheeler. The Lions then faced Montverde Academy, which survived a semifinal upset scare of its own against Central Catholic, in the championship game. West Linn hung tough, but Ben Simmons and company prevailed by double figures. 

1. No. 1 Rice goes down

The biggest upset in tournament history belongs to Jesuit, which knocked off national No. 1 Rice, 75-62, in a second-round game in 1999. Brian Michaelson, who is now an assistant coach at Gonzaga, led the Crusaders with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Jesuit went on to upset No. 9 Southern Lab in the semifinals before falling to Jefferson in the title game. “That was the first year that a national heavy-hitter went down to the hands of an Oregon team,” LSI tournament director Reggie Walker said. “That year really helped the tournament become what it became.”

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