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Challengers clip Eagles

Cascade Christian’s Chad Morse has always had a knack for shooting.

The junior wing was a regular among the top finalists during local free-throw shooting competitions in his elementary school days and beyond.

But a funny thing happened over the last year for Morse, and that has definitely helped him to a breakout start to this season. A late bloomer, Morse sprouted up seven inches in the offseason to a startling 6-foot-4 and the Challengers are most certainly reaping the rewards thus far.

With all eyes on Cascade Christian leading scorer Jason Wyncoop, Morse stepped up for three straight 3-pointers during a key stretch of Saturday’s contest with Santiam Christian up 11-9.

“We were struggling to score and they were in a zone and we just had much better ball movement,” said Challengers head coach Brian Morse, Chad’s father. “We skipped the ball pretty well and it just resulted in him knocking down those three shots in a row.”

Bolstered by that outburst, the Challengers were able to separate from the Eagles and eventually pull away for a 48-37 victory in the Southern Oregon Subaru Christmas Classic contest at Cascade Christian High.

“He’s a good shooter and he can knock down the shots,” said coach Morse, whose team went 2-1 in the round-robin Unlimited Division.

The same description could be said for Wyncoop, a 6-5 senior transfer from Phoenix. Despite being a focal point of the opposition, Wyncoop earned an all-tournament nod for his consistent play. He finished with a game-high 16 points on Saturday and followed Morse’s three straight treys with one of his own to cap a 12-0 run that built a 21-11 cushion in the second quarter.

“He just knocked down a lot of big shots for us throughout the tournament,” said coach Morse. “He’s a really good jump shooter and everyone was keying on him but he was just real consistent on his shooting.”

Of particular excitement for Cascade Christian was how it was able to bounce back from a tough 39-33 loss to Phoenix one night earlier.

“Our first game against Mazama was a good, hard-fought game,” said Morse, whose team is 5-2, “but our loss to Phoenix last night was disheartening only because we just didn’t play with a lot of heart and emotion and Phoenix played great, they really wanted it. We talked a lot about them playing with emotion and passion from the start and they did that tonight, which was awesome. From that standpoint it was a good learning step for us.”

Junior Brandon Winter added nine points and 13 rebounds, while Chad Morse finished with 11 points and five rebounds.

Will Smith had 13 points and Silas Patterson added 12 to pace Santiam Christian (5-3).

SANTIAM CHRISTIAN (37) — B. Patterson 2, Villers 3, Draper 3, Howell 4, Risinger 0, S. Patterson 12, Bain 0, McAnally 0, Smith 13, McLain 0. Totals: 12 8-13 37.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (48) — Palmer 3, Dunn 0, Kammerzell 3, Wager 2, Morse 11, Wyncoop 16, Horton 0, Cochran 4, Winter 9. Totals: 16 11-19 48.

Santiam Christian;6;7;12;12;—;37

Cascade Christian;9;18;9;12;—;48

3-point goals — Santiam Christian 5 (Draper 1, S. Patterson 2, Smith 2), Cascade Christian 5 (Morse 3, Wyncoop 2). Technical foul — Santiam Christian coach McLain.

Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Cascade Christian's Jason Wyncoop shoots a 3-pointer during the second quarter on Saturday. PHOTO BY ANDY ATKINSON
Cascade Christian's Carson Cochran gets fouled while going to the hoop during the second quarter on Saturday. PHOTO BY ANDY ATKINSON