The storied tradition of one of the nation's premiere high school basketball tournaments continues in 2019 as the Les Schwab Invitational (LSI), presented by Express Employment Professionals, returns to the Northwest!
The 2019 LSI tips off on Dec. 26 and runs through Dec. 30 for its "The 16" bracket. The event will take place at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon and includes the following teams:
Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, NV)
Eastside Catholic (Seattle, WA)
Mater Dei (Santa Ana, CA)
Norcross (Atlanta, GA)
The schedule for "The 16" is as follows: Thursday (Opening Round), Friday (Quarter Finals), Saturday (Semi-Finals), Sunday (Slam Dunk & 3 point contest), Monday (Finals).
Then on Jan. 24, "The 8" Tournament takes place (also at Liberty High School). The schools participating are:
De La Salle
The LSI has a long and storied tradition in Northwest high school basketball. Many of the NBA's top stars have come through the NW and played at this tournament over the years including: Carmelo Anthony, Zach Collins (Blazers), Marvin Bagley III (Kings), Kevin Durant (Nets), Ben Simmons (76ers), and Kemba Walker (Celtics) just to name a few.
The fact that this is a national tournament held in the state of Oregon is a fantastic opportunity for high school hoops. President of Prime Time Sports John MacCallum, who joined Rip City Radio with Travis on Friday to announce the teams, said: "The thing that people don't understand is these other schools come to Oregon and think ‘Oregon schools are very well coached… These kids can play hoop. We struggled to deal what they threw at us.'"
Tickets are on sale at www.lesschwabinvitational.com.
There have been some epic moments in LSI history as well.
December 18-21, 2001 – Mater Dei Meltdown. Coach Gary McKnight's Mater Dei Monarchs traveled to Portland with intentions of winning the 2001 LSI and were focused to meet up with Carmelo Anthony's Oak Hill Academy in the Championship. However, after an opening round victory over Roseburg, Mater Dei lost their final 3 games to Jesuit, Churchill and Thurston. The three losses to Oregon school's to a Nationally ranked program sent shock waves to the national media and helped put Oregon High School basketball on the map.
December 22nd, 2003 – Jesuit over Lake Oswego in an All-Oregon Final. Seth and Josh Tarver led Jesuit to a 64-42 victory in the Championship Game at the Chiles Center. Jesuit overcame a tournament MVP performance by Lake Oswego freshman phenom, Kevin Love. The win by Jesuit was only the 2nd time in the LSI's history that an Oregon school has captured the title.
December 29th, 2006 – Kyle Has No Love For Kevin In a Classic Singler vs. Love Rematch. In a rematch of the 2006 Oregon State Championship, the defending State Champion Lake Oswego Lakers battled South Medford in front of the biggest crowd ever assembled at Liberty High School. The game featured two of Oregon's most decorated basketball players in history in Lake Oswego's UCLA bound Kevin Love and Duke bound Kyle Singler of South Medford. The Panthers jumped out to an early lead and never looked back to get revenge on the Lakers with a convincing 71-63 victory. The win prompted South Medford's coach Dennis Murphy to dance a jig on the court as time winded down and the win was secure.
December 29th, 2014 – Oregon Teams Make a Statement! In front of an electric crowd with NBA Players Damian Lillard, Wesley Matthews, Will Barton, CJ McCollum, Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan on hand, Central Catholic battled eventual National Champion Montverde Academy down to the wire. The game was filled with highlights including Ben Simmons alley-oop to himself which brought praise from the NBA stars in attendance. Simmons knocked down a clutch free throw to tie the game with 27 seconds and Marquez Letcher-Ellis who won the slam dunk competition earlier in the day, sank the winning free throws with under a second to play in regulation. Earlier in the evening West Linn stunned nationally ranked Wheeler 70-62 behind the incredible performance of Anthony Mathis who scored 38 points – 18 in the fourth quarter to rally the Lions from an eight point deficit in the final period.
December 30th, 2016 -- Liberty High School, Hillsboro, OR
LSI Championship: Marvin Bagley III vs. Michael Porter Jr. - With the gym at capacity and as raucous of an environment as you will ever see in high school basketball, Nathan Hale defeated Sierra Canyon 67-65 in the LSI Championship. Michael Porter Jr. capped off one of the greatest performances in tournament history, scoring 27 points and pulling down 15 rebounds out-dueling Marvin Bagley III who led the way for Sierra Canyon finishing with 22 points and 10 rebounds. At the time Porter Jr. was the #1 senior in the country and Bagley III the #1 junior. Nathan Hale would go on to finish the season undefeated and #1 in the nation en route to winning their first ever 3A Washington State Championship.