Cascade Christian football players had an extra bounce in their stride, along with bling around their necks, on Monday after claiming the Class 3A...
CORVALLIS — The Phoenix boys basketball team entered Gill Coliseum on Thursday evening with the humblest of expectations.
They left Thursday night with the grandest of possibilities.
Alex Young and Tyler Dungannon combined for 39 points to help lift the top-seeded Pirates past third-seeded North Bend, 50-42, in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
Phoenix, the defending state champion, approached the tournament with the simple hope of picking up some hardware, head coach Glenn Johannes said.
Now that the Pirates have guaranteed themselves of that much, they can play with house money ... house money that they'd like to double up tonight.
Phoenix plays Sisters in the 8:15 p.m. semifinal.
"If you win the first game, that's guaranteed hardware," Young said. "Our ultimate goal was to get hardware, but now we have to re-evaluate our goals."
Fourth-seeded Sisters (24-3) upset top-seeded North Valley 47-46 on Thursday. That means the Pirates (24-5) won't have to face the Knights, Skyline Conference rivals that beat Phoenix three out of the four times they played this year.
On the opposite side of the bracket, top-seeded Central beat fifth-seeded Roosevelt, 57-42, and Seaside, seeded third, topped second-seeded Newport, 53-42, to set up the other semifinal matchup.
Young, a senior point guard who has signed to play for the University of California Irvine, finished with 20 points, nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. His running mate, Dungannon, turned in 19 points and three rebounds.
Phoenix gradually pulled away against the Bulldogs, capturing a 27-21 lead by halftime and a 37-29 advantage by the start of the fourth quarter. The Pirates' success at the free-throw line — they made 20 of their 26 attempts — helped tremendously to separate them from North Bend, which was 12 of 20 at the charity stripe.
Young and Dungannon, who were 16 of 18 combined at the free-throw line, took advantage of the Bulldogs' preference for man defense. The quick, 6-foot-1 Young, who was 10 of 11 at the line, got to the rim often against 5-7 Logan Lucero. Meanwhile, Dungannon had seven turnovers but also orchestrated several key plays.
"Usually teams in our conference and outside of it zone us," Young said. "When we see man, we think it's an advantage to us where we can run our offense and get good buckets."
Said North Bend head coach Tom Nicholls: "We've watched a number of films on (Phoenix) and people tried to gimmick them all the time and I think they've seen enough gimmicks. It doesn't bother them, so we weren't going change what we do. But tonight they were the better team.
"(Young and Dungannon) make plays. I thought for the most part we wanted to limit them getting the other kids involved, and I thought we did that. But they stepped up and made great plays."
The Pirates, who outrebounded North Bend 28-19 but committed 15 turnovers, came out of the break sloppy and slow. They missed their first three shots and turned the ball over three times after a made free throw to start the third quarter. Cameron Lucero's basket and free throw cut Phoenix's lead to two points with 5:37 left in the period, but Young sparked a 9-1 run to end the quarter. During the offensive push, he buried four free throws, knocked down a 3-pointer and penetrated and dished to Tim Keith, who was ready for the pass in the paint.
"I think we did a great job responding to their runs, even when our shots weren't necessarily going down," said Dungannon, a 6-3 senior.
Travis Campos' 3-point make with 5:52 left in the fourth gave Phoenix a 40-31 edge, and then Dungannon helped add to the cushion with a drive and assist to Keith and a 3-pointer.
Keith, a physical 6-4 senior, had four points, four rebounds and a steal. Dalton Richardson added three rebounds and a steal.
North Bend (23-3), which entered with a 19-game winning streak, was 2 of 18 from beyond the 3-point line and finished 14 of 43 overall. Cameron Lucero led the team with 15 points.
"What I was really most impressed with was the team defense that we showed," Johannes said, "holding some of their guys to lower averages than they've had all season."
PHOENIX (50) — Young 4-8 10-11 20, Dungannon 6-12 6-7 19, Keith 2-4 0-1 4, Campoy 1-1 0-1 3, Loper 0-0 2-2 2, Carpenter 0-0 1-2 1, Brown 0-0 1-2 1, Richardson 0-0 0-0 0, Morris 0-0 0-0 0, Keith 0-0 0-0 0, Hamilton 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 13-25 20-26 50.
NORTH BEND (42) — C. Lucero 5-12 5-8 15, H. Mateski, 4-10 0-1 9, Davisson 2-2 2-4 6, A. Mateski 2-11 2-3 6, L. Lucero 0-7 3-4 3, Roane 1-1 0-0 3, Cunningham 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 14-43 12-20 42.
Phoenix 14 13 10 13 — 50
North Bend 12 9 8 13 — 42
3-point goals — Phoenix 4-7 (Young 2-2, Dungannon 1-4; Campoy 1-1), North Bend 2-18 (Roane 1-1, H. Mateski, 1-3, A. Mateski 0-5, L. Lucero 0-7, C. Lucero 0-2). Rebounds — Phoenix 28 (Young 9), North Bend 19 (A. Mateski 9). Assists — Phoenix 7 (Young 4), North Bend 4 (C. Lucero 2). Fouled out — H. Mateski. Total fouls — Phoenix 18, North Bend 19.
Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email firstname.lastname@example.org