Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
CENTRAL POINT — In a season of streaks, the Crater boys basketball team has things going in the right direction again.
The Comets claimed their third straight victory with a dominant, 65-50 decision over North Medford in a Southern Oregon Hybrid game Tuesday.
It was Crater's second win in three games this season over the Black Tornado and vaulted the Comets into sole possession of third place in the SOH with 4-5 record. The Black Tornado is 3-6 and in fourth place.
It's the third time Crater (12-9 overall) has had a skein of at least three victories, with a high of five.
The Comets have twice lost three in a row.
"The way this conference is, it's like everybody wins on the their home court, for the most part," said Crater coach John Parent. "We had a four-game (conference) road stretch where we lost four tough games."
But Crater played well in a home loss against league-leader South Medford to kick-start the current winning streak.
"We played well for three quarters against them and got some confidence out of that," said Parent.
Against North Medford (12-8), the Comets led from start to finish, getting sterling individual defensive efforts and showing well in the transition game, a reversal of what transpired in its previous meeting with the Tornado, a 56-48 loss.
"The second time we played them, they beat us pretty bad in transition," said Parent. "We beat them pretty bad this time, and that was nice to see. Their press was pretty ineffective and we got a couple run-outs on our press."
Connor Lane, a 6-foot-7 junior, had 18 points, 11 rebounds and controlled the middle. He blocked four shots and altered a couple others, said Parent.
In the backcourt, Crater's Tommy Stewart clamped down on Tristen Holmes and Evan Erskine did likewise on Oshea Bailey — the two Tornado players managed 11 points between them — and North Medford had difficulty getting into its offense.
"We just kept on gradually growing the lead and they had to settle for a perimeter game because Connor was controlling the paint for the most part," said Parent, adding that he'd preached to his players beforehand to harangue the outside shooters and don't give up easy 3s.
The Black Tornado was only 4 of 22 from behind the arc.
North Medford trailed 33-19 at halftime but cut the lead to eight with about five minutes to play.
Crater's RJ Morgan then made a four-point play, sinking a 3-pointer while being fouled, then making the free throw, to bump the lead back to 12. It grew to 18 moments later.
Cody Dismukes scored 11 points and Kory Bennett had 10 points and three assists in the win.
Morgan — who is scheduled to sign a football letter of intent to the University of Arizona along with classmate Derek Turituri this afternoon — finished with nine points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Jordan Browne-Moore led North Medford with 12 points and Brian Bush added nine.
NORTH MEDFORD (50) — Bush 9, Klug 2, Bailey 7, Ecker 2, Holmes 4, Polataivao 2, Browne-Moore 12, Reyes 0, Sherbourne 9, Barry 0, Knox 3. Totals: 18 10-18 50.
CRATER (65) — Bennett 10, Stewart 5, Erskine 6, Martin 0, Marineau 0, Dismukes 11, Jaasko 4, Lane 18, Reiter 0, Orozco 2, Morgan 9. Totals: 21 19-28 65.
North Medford 12 7 16 15 — 50
Crater 17 16 12 20 — 65
3-point goals — North Medford 4 (Bush 1, Bailey 1, Sherbourne 2), Crater 4 (Bennett 2, Erskine 1, Morgan 1).
JV result — North Medford won.