After suffering a tough loss late the night before, the Cascade Christian boys basketball team was at a critical juncture in the Class 3A state tournament.

After the loss to Santiam Christian, Challengers coach Brian Morse asked his seniors what they wanted to be remembered for. Their answer: for placing higher than the fifth of last year.

That remains a possibility after a strong defensive effort and the fourth-quarter scoring of Joel McLemore on Friday keyed a 42-31 win over Oregon Episcopal in the consolation semifinals at North Bend High.

Cascade Christian (19-10), the sixth seed, plays Irrigon (22-5), the eighth seed, at 9:45 a.m. Saturday at Marshfield High in Coos Bay. The winner places fourth and earns a trophy; the loser is sixth.

In the quarterfinals Thursday, the Challengers fell to Santiam Christian, 45-41, despite having slight leads through most of the final 2½ quarters and advantages in most categories apart from shooting percentage.

“We just couldn’t hit any shots down the stretch,” said Morse.

Afterward, he challenged his players and they responded the following morning, holding 10th-seeded Oregon Episcopal (18-11) to four points in each of the last two quarters and pulling away.

The Challengers led 29-27 with 3:22 left in the third, then outscored the Aardvarks 11-1 over nearly 8 minutes to seal the win.

Other than McLemore, who scored all nine of the Challengers’ points in the final period to finish with 17, Cascade Christian was stagnant offensively.

“It was enough of a cushion,” said Morse. “They could not come back on us if we locked down and continued playing great defense.”

McLemore made two layups and a 3-pointer to give the Challengers a 40-28 lead with 5:52 remaining.

The Challengers didn’t score again until he made two foul shots with 1:15 left.

“Joel stepped up and did real well offensively for us,” said Morse. “He hit some big shots and took it strong to the hole.”

Cristian Flores Alatorre took three big charges in the second half, said Morse, and Kyle Reece “did a great job of just menacing” Oregon Episcopal standout Ian Holzman, helping limit him to 10 points.

McLemore was 3-for-4 on 3-pointers and added seven rebounds and three assists. He was chosen the Challengers’ player of the game. Teammate Ben Dunn added 10 points, six rebounds and four steals.

In Irrigon, Cascade Christian faces a team it beat 51-47 in mid-January on a neutral court. The game was in the Martin Luther King Showcase at Corban College in Salem.

“They’re a tough, physical team,” said Morse.

Irrigon defeated one of the state’s hottest teams, Horizon Christian, 58-50 Friday. In its tourney opener Thursday, Irrigon was waxed 63-26 by powerful De La Salle North Catholic.


Ian Holzman 4-13 1-5 10, Charles Willmott 4-7 0-0 9, David Lewis 2-6 1-1 6, Colby Bullard 2-11 1-2 6, Jim Lin 0-2 0-0 0, John Fitzhenry 0-0 0-0 0, Alden Felstiner 0-0 0-0 0, Frank Cheepsongsuk 0-0 0-0 0, Luca Pejovic-Nezhat 0-2 0-0 0, Noah Wali 0-0 0-0 0, ZW Rahimian 0-0 0-0 0, Ryan Monshi 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 12-41 3-8 31.


Joel McLemore 6-8 2-2 17, Ben Dunn 3-10 3-4 10, Tyler Cochran 3-9 0-1 7, Kiegan Schaan 1-5 0-0 3, Kyle Reece 1-6 0-0 3, Cristian Flores Alatorre 1-2 0-0 2, Riley Dexter 0-0 0-0 0, Layne Collom 0-0 0-0 0, Donminic Lewis 0-0 0-0 0, Jack West 0-0 0-0 0, Haiden Schaan 0-0 0-0 0, Jacob Crowl 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-40 5-7 42.

Oregon Episcopal;11;12;4;4;—;31

Cascade Christian;12;12;9;9;—;42

3-point goals — Oregon Episcopal 4-18 (Charles Willmott 1-2, Colby Bullard 1-7, Ian Holzman 1-5, David Lewis 1-4), Cascade Christian 7-17 (Joel McLemore 3-4, Ben Dunn 1-4, Kiegan Schaan 1-2, Kyle Reece 1-3, Tyler Cochran 1-4). Fouled out — Oregon Episcopal-None, Cascade Christian-None. Rebounds — Oregon Episcopal 28 (Jim Lin 6), Cascade Christian 30 (Joel McLemore 7). Assists — Oregon Episcopal 5 (Alden Felstiner 2, Jim Lin 2), Cascade Christian 9 (Joel McLemore 3). Total fouls — Oregon Episcopal 14, Cascade Christian 15. Technical fouls — Oregon Episcopal-None, Cascade Christian-Kiegan Schaan. A-356.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-876-4479 or