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Soaring Comets

Everyone always wants to look at the points scored, and Crater’s boys basketball team certainly has a host of weapons to drive up that total.

But for the up-and-coming Comets, the points allowed figures carry much more weight for head coach Chris Schmerbach.

In Friday’s matchup against Ridgeview of Bend in the Crater Basketball Invitational, both categories met the second-year coach’s approval.

After a feeling-out period in the first quarter, the Comets clamped down on defense and lit up the scoreboard with 19 points in each of the remaining quarters en route to a 66-32 runaway win over the visiting Ravens at Crater High.

Crater (2-0) forced 23 turnovers in Thursday’s season-opening win over Del Norte and came up with another 20-plus turnover night against Ridgeview (1-3).

“I think our pressure just kind of got to them in the latter parts of the game,” said Schmerbach. “We’re trying to force the pressure and play at a little bit faster pace with a lot of guys. I ask our team to play as hard as they can and, as a result, good things are happening.”

The Comets next face their toughest opponent in South Albany (3-0) for the tournament title. The Rebels topped Mazama, 52-42, to remain unbeaten in the round-robin event.

“We have a really big challenge Saturday,” said Schmerbach. “It will be a great test to kind of measure where we are and lead us in the direction of where we want to go.”

Standout 6-foot-6 junior forward Kiefer Edwards got the Comets going in the right direction Friday with five points in a key four-minute stretch that allowed Crater to take a 28-14 lead into intermission. Edwards finished with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

Out of the locker room, 6-2 junior Mason Vranes heated up with eight points in the third quarter to help the Comets remove any doubt from the outcome with a 47-21 lead into the final frame. Vranes knocked down four 3-pointers overall and finished with a game-high 18 points.

Cade Weaver, a 6-1 junior, added nine points and 6-foot senior Nate White doled out five assists to go with his eight points for Crater. Garrett Dance, a 6-3 sophomore, managed eight points and 6-6 junior Christophe Stollings pulled in 12 rebounds.

That type of balanced scoring stands to be pivotal for the Comets given the statewide focus on Edwards, who is a prime Class of 2018 recruit.

“That’s key for us,” said Schmerbach of the shared scoring responsibility. “Kind of the message that we’ve heard around the state is Crater’s got Kiefer Edwards but there’s a large group of kids on this team that have worked really hard to make themselves better basketball players, and you’re starting to see the fruits of their labor so to speak. They’re out to prove that’s not the truth, we’re a team first.”

RIDGEVIEW (32): Biever 4, J. Wright 4, Olson 3, Z. Nelson 1, Allen 0, T. Wright 0, M. Nelson 4, Hampton 12, Naderman 2, Penhollow 2. Totals: 9 14-24 32.

CRATER (66): White 8, M. Vranes 18, Dance 8, Ki. Edwards 16, Henderson 3, Weaver 9, Stollings 4, Souza 0, Ko. Edwards 0, Muraviov 0. Totals: 26 7-15 66.

Ridgeview;6;8;7;11;—;32

Crater;9;19;19;19;—;66

3-point goals — Crater 7 (M. Vranes 4, White 2, Ki. Edwards 1). Technical fouls — Ko. Edwards, Ki. Edwards.

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

Crater sophomore Garrett Dance fights for the ball against Ridgeview.
Crater junior Christophe Stollings attempts a shot during the second quarter against Ridgeview on Friday. PHOTO BY ANDY ATKINSON