• Challengers edge 3A champs

  • SALEM — One minor adjustment and one clutch defensive stand put the Cascade Christian boys basketball team over the top Saturday.
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  • SALEM — One minor adjustment and one clutch defensive stand put the Cascade Christian boys basketball team over the top Saturday.
    The Challengers cranked up their transition defense in the second half and came up with a key stop in the final seconds to beat defending Class 3A state champion Horizon Christian 54-53 in the championship game of the Crusader New Year's Invitational at Salem Academy High School.
    Burned by breakaway buckets throughout the first half, Cascade Christian cranked up its fullcourt defensive intensity in the second half and immediately reclaimed control by outscoring the Hawks 18-8 in the third quarter.
    Horizon Christian still had a chance to pull out the win when it forced a turnover with 11 seconds left down one, but Kenny Laws forced Horizon Christian sharpshooter Trent Pihas into an off-balance fadeaway that missed and Aaron Cesaro grabbed the rebound to secure the win for the Challengers.
    The win, Cascade Christian's third in a row, gives the Challengers (9-2) two tournament championships this season (they won the Phoenix invitational). They also placed second in their own Southern Oregon Subaru Christmas Classic.
    "It was great," Cascade Christian head coach Brian Morse said. "We haven't won (the New Year's Invite) in four years so it was good for these guys to get a victory up there. And it was kind of fun to get a win against (Horizon Christian)."
    Senior wing Seth Knox and Cesaro, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, scored 10 points apiece to lead a balanced Challengers' effort, while Cody Coggins added nine. Knox also had six rebounds, Cesaro five, and Laws and Christian Kammerzell dished out three assists apiece.
    Horizon Christian (5-4) transformed turnovers into quick buckets to seize a 31-27 halftime lead. At the break, Morse talked to the Challengers about limiting those opportunities.
    "In the first half they scored almost half their points on transition defense," he said. "We just weren't getting back good enough. So that was our main focus at halftime and we did a great job of that in the second half."
    Pihas led the Hawks with 22 points, including back-to-back 3-pointers in the final minute, and Noah Jones added 21, but no other Horizon Christian player tallied more than five.
    HORIZON CHRISTIAN (53) — Pihas 22, Costner 0, Jones 21, Tillema 0, Belan 5, Marleau 2, Prinzing 1, Hall 2. Totals: 20 8-13 53.
    CASCADE CHRISTIAN (54) — Kammerzell 6, Laws 5, Coggins 9, Knox 10, Alvarez 0, Palmer 8, Cesaro 10, Sellers 6. Totals: 21 8-10 54.
    Horizon Christian 15 16 8 14 — 53
    Cascade Christian 14 13 18 9 — 54
    3-point goals — Horizon Christian 3 (Pihas 2, Jones 3), Cascade Christian 4 (Kammerzell 1, Laws 1, Coggins 1, Palmer 1).
    ST. MARY'S 78, JEFFERSON 38 — At Bandon, junior guard Zach Lewis scored 12 points on four 3-pointers to lead five St. Mary's players in double figures as the Crusaders captured third place in the Bandon Dunes Invitational.
    Hunter Rothfus added 12 points and Kade Benton and Sam Hough added 11 points apiece for the Crusaders (6-3), who hit 10 treys as a team. Benton added six rebounds and Eli Conway five assists and two steals.
    For Jefferson (0-8), Zach Sargent and Andrew Schmitt scored 11 points apiece.
    ST. MARY'S (78) — Benton 11, Lewis 12, Rothfus 12, Van Valkenburg 5, Conway 0, Eaton 5, Hough 11, Sue 5, Edwards 4, Vinyard 10, DAnielson 3. Totals: 32 4-4 78.
    JEFFERSON (38) — Ellis 3, Clark 3, Strait 10, Sargent 11, Schmitt 11, Brown 0, Puentes 0, Walling 0, Ortiz 0. Totals: 16 2-6 38.
    St. Mary's 18 17 27 16 — 78
    Jefferson 11 7 13 7 — 38
    3-point goals — St. Mary's 10 (Lewis 4, Van Valkenburg 1, Eaton 1, Hough 3, Sue 1), Jefferson 4 (Sargent 3, Clark 1).
    ROGUE RIVER 72, REEDSPORT 34 — At Rogue River, Chris Campbell went for 16 points, 12 steals and eight assists to lead Rogue River in nonleague action.
    Danny Perston chipped in 16 points and four assists, Jordan Ehrhardt 13 points and Connor Strickland eight points, eight rebounds and six steals for the Chieftains (8-3), who knocked down nine 3-pointers and recorded 28 steals.
    REEDSPORT (34) — Sams 1, Williams 0, Bhakta 2, Mitchell 2, Roberts 2, Zehe 2, Ragan 2, James 8, Tresch 12, Perez-Murray 3. Totals: 10 12-20 34.
    ROGUE RIVER (72) — McFetridge 3, Lopez 7, Campbell 16, Perston 16, Ehrhardt 13, Woodall 0, Strickland 8, Rideout 6, Caulley 0, Pratt 3. Totals: 28 7-14 72.
    Reedsport 7 6 11 10 — 34
    Rogue River 24 20 22 6 — 72
    3-point goals — Reedsport 2 (Tresch 1, Perez-Musay 1), Rogue River 9 (McFetridge 1, Lopez 1, Campbell 2, Perston 2, Ehrhardt 2, Strickland 1).
    HARRISBURG 65, ILLINOIS VALLEY 37 — At Harrisburg, senior guard Zach Welch was the only Illinois Valley player in double figures with 13 points in the nonconference tilt.
    Senior post Myles Hodge added eight points for the Cougars (2-6).
    Hunter Jelden and Sawyur Headings scored 12 points apiece to lead a balanced scoring attack by Harrisburg (7-2).
    ILLINOIS VALLEY (37) — Hodge 8, Weaver 3, Nordal 2, Welch 13, Gardenhire 2, Davis 9, Thompson 0, Manning 0. Totals: 15 4-13 37.
    HARRISBURG (65) — Fekete 7, Baker 6, C. Headings 2, Jones 2, Jelden 12, S. Headings 12, Wilson 10, Knox 6, Kuschell 2, Nousen 6, McMillan 0, Morton 0. Totals: 24 14-19 65.
    Illinois Valley 6 14 9 8 — 37
    Harrisburg 16 24 11 14 — 65
    3-point goals — Illinois Valley 3 (Weaver 1, Welch 2), Harrisburg 3 (Jelden 1, S. Headings 2). Fouled out — Kuschell.
    JV result — Harrisburg won.
    PHILOMATH JV 66, PROSPECT 44 — At Alsea, Matt Rader scored 17 points and Darren Stillwagon added 10 points for Prospect (2-7) in the four-team Tin Hat championship.
    PROSPECT (44) — Bliss 8, Castro 7, Stillwagon 10, Rader 17, Scofield 2, Gaines 0, Raines 0. Totals: 15 10-13 44.
    PHILOMATH JV (66) — Devil 16, Acherman 5, Steele 15, Goding 17, Braittin 4, Wolcott 4, Drain 5, Williams 0, Simmons 0, Kahl 0. Totals: 29 5-6 66.
    Prospect 11 4 7 22 — 44
    Philomath JV 22 20 14 10 — 66
    3-point goals — Prospect 4 (Stillwagon 1, Rader 3), Philomath JV 3 (Acherman 1, Steele 1, Drain 1).
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