Christmas came right on time for the Canby boys basketball team this year.
For it was on a Zoom call on Christmas Day that Canby point guard Alex Evans and the rest of the Cougar squad learned that they had been gifted an appearance in the Les Schwab Invitational, Oregon’s premier high school basketball tournament.
Both Cougar head coach Craig Evans and the official tournament Twitter page confirmed the late addition on Saturday.
Schedule Update #LSI25 pic.twitter.com/9kKV29KdOG
The Cougars (6-2) were one of four new teams to join the reconfigured tourney. In-state schools Grant and West Linn, as well as out-of-staters Isidore Newman and Gonzaga College, dropped out for unspecified reasons. Canby joined David Douglas, Sherwood and Evergreen (Wash.) as the replacement options for the LSI.
The invitation is another sign of Canby’s rise to one of the state’s premier programs. The Cougars had earned a bid to the prestigious tournament last year after a promising 2019 campaign — but Covid had other plans.
Now, after a red-hot start that has pushed the Cougs into the top 10 of the OSAA’s 6A rankings, Canby has played their way back.
Evans — who enters Sunday averaging 14.0 points, 7.4 rebounds and 6.5 assists — sees the schedule change as an opportunity for all to see what the Cougars are made of.
“It feels great to get the opportunity to show what Canby has,” Evans told the Current. “We aren’t the Canby team the state’s used to.”
This last-minute shake-up means sweeping schedule changes for the Cougars. Canby will not play in their own biannual Canby Tournament, originally slated for December 28-30.
Instead, the Cougars began the LSI with a December 26 tilt with Jesuit (6-2), which the Crusaders won 68-52, dropping the Cougs into the consolation bracket. They will next be in action at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday against Evergreen.
Tickets to the tournament are $17 or it can be viewed online with a paid subscription. The bracket is available here.
Help us build a sustainable news organization to serve Canby for generations to come! Let us know if you can support our efforts to expand our operations and keep all of our content paywall-free. #SwimWithTheCurrent!