Winning the Southern Cascade League title seemed like a pretty bold goal this spring considering the recent history of the Cascade Christian...
COOS BAY — Cascade Christian will have to make room in a trophy case that has filled up in a hurry since it moved up to Class 3A six years ago.
Aaron Cesaro, David Sellers each had 12 points and nine rebounds and Cody Coggins drained a 3-pointer with about five minutes to go to give Cascade Christian the lead for good as the Challengers beat Crewswell 50-45 to place fourth at the 3A boys basketball tournament Saturday at Marshfield High School.
The comeback victory — the Challengers trailed by six in the third quarter — gave Cascade Christian its fifth top-four trophy since it moved up from 2A in 2008 and seventh overall. The Challengers, whose only loss at state came at the hands of eventual finalist De La Salle North Catholic, also placed fourth last season and in 2010, and claimed the state title in 2009.
"The thing that I always tell the seniors, especially after a tough first-round (loss), is, 'What do you want to be remembered for?" Cascade Christian coach Brian Morse said. "'Do you want to go two-and-out or do you want to finish your career at a different level?' And they did. They finished strong and they have the third-best record (26-4) in Cascade history."
Cascade Christian's defense came up huge in Saturday's victory, limiting the Creswell Bulldogs of the PacWest Conference to 30 percent shooting (17-for-57).
Cesaro and Sellers, both senior forwards, led the Challengers 26-4 on offense, with each draining 6 of 9 shots. Sellers also had five blocks, while senior wing Seth Knox came up big with 10 points, 11 rebounds and five assists.
Hunter Patrick and Austin Jones scored 14 points apiece to pace Creswell (22-6), with Jones adding six rebounds, three steals and five assists.
Creswell led 31-25 when Jones made a layup with 5:23 to go in the third, but the Challengers answered with an 11-2 run capped by Knox's rebound follow to seize a 36-33 lead.
The teams continued to trade leads until momentum tilted in Cascade Christian's favor with about five minutes to go. Sensing his team needed a rest, Morse tried to call a time-out. The referees didn't see him, however, and moments later Dalton Palmer found Coggins open for a huge 3 and a 41-39 lead. The Challengers never trailed again.
"That was huge," Morse said.
A layup and jump shot by Cesaro help the Challengers stay in front, and Kenny Laws made two free throws with 41 seconds to go — including the front end of a one-and-one — to push the lead back to four.
Morse's decision to start three big men (Sellers, Cesaro and Knox) instead of his usual two paid off for the Challengers, who outrebounded Creswell 44-26.
Cascade Christian also continued its season-long trend of playing its best when the pressure's on. The Challengers finished the season 8-0 in games decided by seven points or less, including 2-0 in the state tournament.
"These guys always found a way to win in the end," Morse said of his team. "Thew knew how to win when it was crunch time."
CRESWELL (45) — Bates 0-4 1-2 1, Patrick 7-12 0-0 14, Sean Kounovsky 2-7 2-2 6, Jones 6-17 0-1 14, Oleary 0-11 0-0 0, Wulf 1-3 6-7 8, Connelly 0-0 0-0 0, Nelson 1-3 0-0 2. Totals: 17-57 9-12 45.
CASCADE CHRISTIAN (50) — Knox 3-8 4-6 10, Cesaro 6-9 0-4 12, Sellers 6-9 0-2 12, Coggins 1-5 0-1 3, Palmer 2-5 0-0 4, Artale 0-0 0-0 0, Laws 3-7 2-3 9, Alvarez 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 21-43 6-16 50.
Creswell 16 8 13 8 — 45
Cascade Christian 14 8 14 14 — 50
3-point goals — Crewswell 2-10 (Jones 2), Cascade Christian 2-4 (Coggins 1, Laws 1). Fouled out — Jones, Cesaro.
NORTH VALLEY 48, MARSHFIELD 38 — At Coos Bay, Cameron Lyon scored 18 points and Kevin Olmstead added 15 to help North Valley win the round of 16 playoff game.
The Knights (19-7), who have won five of their last six games, will open the eight-team state tournament Wednesday afternoon at Oregon State University's Gill Coliseum in Corvallis.
North Valley outscored Marshfield 14-5 in the third quarter to take control before pulling away for its second win of the season over the Pirates (15-11).
Marshfield was led by Justin Cooper's nine points. Rylee Trendall and Jake Miles added eight apiece.
NORTH VALLEY (48) — Lyon 18, Morsa 15, Thompson 8, Olmstead 4, Nelson 2, Whitmore 1, Fairman 0, Flynn 0. Totals 15 13-22 48.
MARSHFIELD (38) — Cooper 9, Miles 8, Trendall 8, Dean 7, Olson 4, Sharp 2, Bunnell 0, Howerton 0, Caballero 0, Banks 0. Totals 15 6-6 38.
North Valley 8 14 11 15 — 48
Marshfield 6 5 10 17 — 38
3-point goals — North Valley 5 ( Lyon 3, Morsa 2), Marshfield 2 (Cooper 1, Dean 1).
OISRA STATE — At Mt. Hood, St. Mary's Audrey Beattie took 10th place out of 55 finishers for her combined efforts at the Oregon Interscholastic Ski Racing Association alpine state championships at Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort.
Beattie was 15th in the slalom on Friday with a time of 1 minute, 42.45 seconds, making her total 3:20.78 after her performance in the giant slalom on Thursday.
Ashland's Maddie Hunkele took 12th overall (3:22.62) after her 13th-place performance in the slalom (1:41.45).
Jesuit won the team title (18:48.39) out of 10 schools. Hood River was second, West Linn third and Ashland seventh (20:53.48).
Jesuit's Jenna Jansky finished in first out of 55 with a combined time of 2:54.33. Ashland's Karen Bach was 18th (3:31.16) and St. Mary's Kricket Lyle 24th (3:37.75).
In other girls slalom racing on Friday, South Eugene's Phoebe Rogers was first out of 94 (1:28.82), Bach 25th (1:49.64) and Lyle 27th (1:51.45).
Crater's Kailey Flockoi, the defending slalom champion, did not finish. She recorded a strong first run, but experienced ski trouble in her second run.
In girls team slalom, Ashland was fourth out of 15 teams on Friday (2:48.90) and fourth overall (10:20.15).
In boys combined, Sunset's Jack Botti came in first out of 55 with a time of 2:46.32. Ashland's Noah Catropa was 17th (3:07.44) and St. Mary's Justin Hawkins 18th (3:08).
In boys giant slalom action on Friday, West Linn's Trevor Maxwell captured first out of 103 (1:19.28). St. Mary's Austin Pena took sixth (1:22.78) and Hawkins 18th (1:26.13).
In boys team giant slalom, St. Mary's was fifth out of 17 (2:07.86) and secured fifth overall (9:24.26).