For seven straight weeks, North Douglas held the No. 1 ranking in Class 2A.

For seven straight weeks, North Douglas held the No. 1 ranking in Class 2A.

The Warriors showed why on Saturday.

Despite a late-season slump losing four of its final six games, North Douglas, the third seed out of the Mountain View Conference, led nearly the entire game in defeating St. Mary's 63-35 in the Class 2A first-round state playoff game at St. Mary's.

"People are talking about (North Douglas) being in a slump," St. Mary's coach Rick Jackson said. "I don't buy that. They are a very talented team. We knew we were going to have our hands full."

St. Mary's only lead came after the first bucket of the game by sophomore Lou Gambee but the Warriors controlled the Crusaders, the No. 2 seed from the Southern Cascade League, the rest of the way behind a pair of four-year starters.

Senior guard Dustin Andes scored 26 points and 6-foot-5 senior post Tyler Vancil added 15 points. North Douglas (22-6) advances to face Knappa on Thursday in the opening round of the state tournament in Pendleton.

Senior post Andrew Larson carried the scoring load for St. Mary's (15-9) with 16 points. He was the only Crusader in double figures and the next highest scorer was Gambee with six.

The loss ends a productive season for the young Crusaders. St. Mary's went 9-3 in the SCL, once winning five in a row and eight of nine late. All three league losses came against league-champion Lakeview.

Next season, the Crusaders return its entire lineup except seniors Larson and Max O'Sullivan, the team's top offensive threats.

"We played hard," Larson said. "Sometimes you are going to face a team better than you. We gave everything we had. We seemed to overachieve this year in a lot of the games."

The lack of an inside threat to offset Vancil hampered the St. Mary's offense on Saturday. The Crusaders relied almost exclusively on its outside shooting but made just 2 of 13 from 3-point range against North Douglas' 2-3 zone. The Warriors led 15-4 after the first quarter and by as much as 15 in the second before St. Mary's clawed back to make it 25-16 at the half

"For three quarters we didn't do a bad job defensively," Jackson said. "To hold that team to 25 points in the first half ... our defense really wasn't the problem. Offensively is where we struggled.

"We do not have a scoring post presence. We've relied on our outside shooting all year long. We're going to live and die with the 3 to a certain extent with a team like that that's big and strong and plays a zone. We knew we had to shoot the ball well to win and we didn't."

North Douglas controlled the pace with a patient and efficient offensive attack and St. Mary's offensive struggles continued in the second half. The Crusaders failed to score on their first five possessions until Larson's 3 made it 31-19.

"They (St. Mary's) are young and inexperienced," North Douglas coach Shane Mast said. "I thought if we make them earn their shots, we have a good chance.

"I felt the kids did a great job of dictating the tempo all night. That was the key."

Back-to-back layins by the Crusaders made it 33-23 in the third but Andes answered with a three-point play and a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to stretch the lead to 16.

Andes averaged 23 points per game this season.

"The Jordan Kiely kid from Lakeview and Dustin Andes are two of the best players in the state at our level," Jackson said.

Said Larson: "They are very good shooters and athletes. It was a tough draw but that happens."

St. Mary's got no closer than 15 in the final quarter and a half and the lead ballooned in the fourth quarter with the Crusaders implementing a gambling press.

"It was a matter of getting that week of rest," Mast said of his squad. "We had some sickness and we ended our regular season on a slump. We probably had the best week of practice we had all year. We have a senior dominated team and they were focused all week. You could see it in their eyes."

NORTH DOUGLAS (63) — Derrick 7, Colburn 3, A. Anderson 6, Harrod 0, K. Anderson 0, Andes 26, Adams 4, Creech 0, Munoz 0, Jenkins 0, Vancil 15, Peterson 2. Totals: 24 12-18 63.

ST. MARY'S (35) — O'Sullivan 2, O'Boyle 0, Larson 16, Boggess 2, Grant 0, Watson 0, Bates 3, Gross 2, Harris 0, Tomlinson 0, Mosley 4, Gambee 6. Totals: 16 1-7 35.

North Douglas 15 10 16 22 —63

St. Mary's 4 12 10 9 —35

3-point goals — North Douglas 3 (Andes 3), St. Mary's 2 (Larson 1, Bates 1).

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com