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BOYS BASKETBALL: Forrester basket boosts Crusaders

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St. Mary’s junior wing James Forrester had been a threat shooting from the outside throughout the Crusaders’ crucial Far West League boys basketball game against rival Cascade Christian Friday.

But when he got the ball in the corner in the waning seconds in the St. Mary’s gym, he found an opening, dashed around onrushing defenders and made a layup to give the Crusaders a 70-68 victory and secure a state playoff berth in the regular-season finale.

St. Mary’s, Cascade Christian and Sutherlin — which wrapped up its league season by beating Douglas — entered the final night tied for first place with 7-2 records. The top two teams advance to state.

St. Mary’s and Sutherlin will play a league seeding game at 6 p.m. Wednesday at South Umpqua to determine the Nos. 1 and 2 state berths.

Cascade Christian, 19-5 overall and ranked sixth, is expected to make state as a wild-card entrant.

Cascade Christian led for much of the contest, but it fell behind by seven with a couple minutes to go before making a late charge to tie it.

“Holy cow, they just went to their guns,” said Crusaders coach Richard Vasey, noting that Kiegan Schaan and Layne Collom made big baskets down the stretch. “They put them on their shoulders.

“What a great high school game.”

Forrester had made three 3-pointers in the contest and scored 13 for the game.

“He set up in the corner, and when the defense ran out on him, he took it hard to the hole,” said Vasey. “It was a smart move. Everybody went up with him, and he finished strong.”

St. Mary’s (13-9 overall) got outstanding — and in some cases, unexpected — performances from a number of players.

Tre Foster scored 23 points, and the 6-foor-5 senior post uncharacteristically made four of the Crusaders’ season-high 13 3-pointers.

“That ought to scare people,” said Vasey. “We’ve extended his game and really worked hard on it. Tonight, he did a great job.”

Junior Will Kranenberg scored a season-high 18 points and made his first three 3s of the year. Vasey said he thought they were the first shots Kranenberg has attempted from beyond the arc.

Schaan scored 20 points, Donminic Lewis added 18 and Collom 15 for the Challengers.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (68): Reece 6, Schaan 20, Miller 1, Coppedge 2, Lewis 18, Collom 15, McPheeters 6, Schmidt 0, Spurlock 0. Totals: 26 10-17 68.

ST. MARY’S (70): Banton 8, Kaeo-Wailehua 5, Forrester 13, Kranenburg 18, Sternenberg 3, Foster 23, Hadley 0, Bennion 0. Totals: 26 5-8 70.

Cascade Christian18181022— 68

St. Mary’s15171721— 70

3-point goals — Cascade Christian 6 (Schaan 1, Lewis 2, Collom 3), St. Mary’s 13 (Banton 2, Kaeo-Wailehua 1, Forrester 3, Kranenburg 3, Foster 4).

JV result — St. Mary’s won.

NORTH MEDFORD 77, GRANTS PASS 69, OT: At Grants Pass, North Medford senior Brennan Stults tied a school record with seven 3-pointers and finished with a career-high 21 points to rally the Black Tornado to a Southwest Conference win in overtime.

Stults, committed to play football at George Fox University, went 7-for-11 from beyond the arc, including back-to-back 3-pointers late in the fourth quarter to give North Medford (12-8, 5-1 SWC) a one-point advantage in a game they trailed at one time by 19 points.

After Grants Pass (9-9, 2-4) regained the lead on a three-point play, Landon Ellis converted two free throws to tie the game at 62-all before a 30-second defensive stand by North Medford forced the extra session.

Stults had two 3-pointers in overtime and finished with six rebounds, while Jett Carpenter added 19 points and Victor Orozco-Bernal had 12 points and four assists.

In OT, Orozco-Bernal went 4-for-4 and Ellis went 3-for-4 from the foul line to help North pull away. Ellis finished with 12 points, and Bryce Dyer had nine rebounds.

Cade Ealy scored 18 points and Justin Farris added 16 for the Cavemen.

NORTH MEDFORD (77): Neff 2, Sherbourne 0, Robustelli 0, Ellis 12, Stults 21, Carpenter 19, Karrick 11, Orozco-Bernal 12, Dyer 0. Totals: 22-44 22-27 77.

GRANTS PASS (69): Alderson 0, Dixon 3, Farris 16, Coyle 2, C. Anderson 11, Ealy 18, T. Anderson 7, Amaral 2, Law 10, Perez 0. Totals: 24 8-15 69.

North Medford10181519 15— 77

Grants Pass2215619 7— 69

3-point goals — North Medford 11-22 (Stults 7 ties record for 3s), Carpenter 3, Karrick 1), Grants Pass 13 (Farris 3, C. Anderson 2, Ealy 5, T. Anderson 1, Law 2). Fouled out — Carpenter. Technical foul — Stults.

JV score — North Medford 56, Grants Pass 38.

SOUTH EUGENE 66, SOUTH MEDFORD 48: At Eugene, sophomore guard Junior Sleezer scored 16 points for South Medford but a fourth-quarter lull hindered the Panthers in the Southwest Conference contest.

Trailing 45-42 entering the fourth quarter, South Medford (9-12, 1-5 SWC) went ice cold from the field and was outscored 21-6 in the final quarter. Junior wing Jeremy Gaut had 14 points and Keegan Losinski added nine points for the Panthers.

Aidan Clark, a 6-foot-8 post, controlled the offensive glass for South Eugene (17-4), providing his team with second-chance opportunities as the Axe finished with four players in double-digit scoring.

SOUTH MEDFORD (48): Shepard 2, Sleezer 16, Gaut 14, Harmon 0, Pannell 3, Losinski 9, Dye 4, Cota 0. Totals: 13 18-21 48.

SOUTH EUGENE (66): Edwards 3, James 0, Harris 14, Clark 8, Boettcher 11, Nelson 2, Bryant 10, Paul 18. Totals: 26 9-13 66.

South Medford1714116— 48

South Eugene1224921— 66

3-point goals — South Medford 4 (Sleezer 1, Gaut 2, Pannell 1). South Eugene 5 (Harris 3, Boettcher 1, Bryant 1) Technical foul — Paul.

CRATER 85, SPRINGFIELD 42: At Central Point, Hunter Chubb knocked down five 3-pointers and led Class 5A second-ranked Crater with 25 points to go with six rebounds and five assists in the Midwestern League rout.

Nate Bittle added 15 points, seven rebounds, seven blocks and three assists for the Comets (15-5, 11-1 MWL), while Kruger Edwards had 14 points, four rebounds and six assists.

Jayden Vranes also turned in 12 points and three assists while Braydon Ray had four steals and three assists for Crater.

Trey Bryant scored 20 points for Springfield (11-8, 7-4).

SPRINGFIELD (42): Reininger 0, Becerra 8, Torgrimson 0, M. Hill 3, Sorber 0, A. Hill 0, Beck 0, Lowe 4, Johnston 0, Diaz 0, Bryant 20, Vega 0, Carlos 7. Totals: 15-46 8-10 42.

CRATER (84): J. Vranes 12, Ray 3, C. Vranes 4, Lasater 6, Chubb 25, Eaton 2, Higginson 0, Grant 2, Broesder 0, Edwards 14, Price 0, Anhorn 0, Bittle 15, McIntosh 2. Totals: 34-60 8-13 85.

Springfield7121310— 42

Crater29122123— 85

3-point goals — Springfield 4 (Becerra 1, M. Hill 1, Bryant 2), Crater 9 (Chubb 5, J. Vranes 1, Lasater 2, Ray 1). Technical foul — Springfield bench, Bittle.

ASHLAND 73, NORTH BEND 51: At Ashland, Finn Hilden matched a season-high with 26 points and drilled six of Ashland’s season-best 14 3-pointers in the Midwestern League win.

The Grizzlies (9-11, 4-7 MWL) boasted a 12-point lead in the third quarter before Hilden pushed it to 21 with three consecutive treys.

Nate Whitlock poured in 16 of his 20 points in the first half, where he splashed in all three of his 3-pointers.

With the loss, the Bulldogs dropped to 2-16 overall and 0-11 in MWL play.

NORTH BEND (51): G. Mateski 15, Byers 17, M. Mateski 1, Messner 9, Martin 3, Burgmeir 2, Platt 2, Spencer 2, Lucas 0, Porter 0. Totals: 19 4-6 51.

ASHLAND (73): Whitlock 20, Nogues 3, Hilden 26, Sanford 5, LaPierre 12, Carter 4, Jones 1, Thompson 2, Smith 0, Williams 0, Amway 0, Stoyer 0. Totals: 27 5-8 73.

North Bend1091913— 51

Ashland20221318— 73

3-point goals — North Bend 9 (G. Mateski 2, Byers 3, Messner 3, Martin 1), Ashland 14 (Whitlock 3, Nogues 1, Hilden 6, LaPierre 4). Fouled out — M. Mateski.

JV result — Ashland won.

EAGLE POINT 57, THURSTON 51: At Eagle Point, Brennen Neyt dropped in nine of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to help navigate Eagle Point’s rally past Thurston for the Eagles’ first win of the season.

Eagle Point’s Quinton Gelbrich pitched in 15 points and knocked down a pair of free throws down the stretch to help hold off Thurston (6-6, 9-11 Midwestern League), which led 42-36 heading into the fourth quarter.

Matthew Shaffer connected on all four of his 3-pointers in the second half, with a couple coming during key moments that helped the Eagles (1-19, 1-10) hijack the momentum.

Shaffer finished with 12 points and Logan Esquibel chipped in 10 for the Eagles, who took care of the ball in the second half with just five turnovers.

THURSTON (51): Starck 9, Perez 2, Sidler 5, Newell 3, Deller 4, Stranieri 19, Kommer 2, Casteel 4, Davison 3. Totals: 19 10-13 51.

EAGLE POINT (57): McHugh 4, Neyt 16, Shaffer 12, Gelbrich 15, L. Esquibel 10, Smith 0, McGarrell 0, G. Esquibel 0. Totals: 19 12-19 57.

Thurston179169— 51

Eagle Point11101521— 57

3-point goals — Thurston 3 (Stranieri 1, Casteel 1, Davison 1), Eagle Point 7 (Neyt 1, Shafer 4, Gelbrich 1, L. Esquibel 1.

HENLEY 50, PHOENIX 39: At Phoenix, Ethan Hutsell scored 10 points for Phoenix but Henley stayed atop the conference standings with a Skyline victory.

Phoenix (11-9, 4-3 Skyline) manged only two points in the second quarter and that proved to be the difference. Ty Clayton had eight points and Braedon Watts pitched in with seven in the loss.

Henley improved to 15-6, 5-2 Skyline.

HENLEY (50): Lawrie 8, Hall 11, O’Connor 2, Newsom 4, Neubert 13, Frank 0, Howe 2, Northcutt 10. Totals: 15 8-10 50.

PHOENIX (39): Watts 7, Clayton 8, Goff 3, E. Hutsell 10, Stanfield 6, Zanni 0, Ortega 5, Olsiewski 0. Totals: 11 12-12 39.

Henley11101316— 50

Phoenix1121016— 39

3-point goals — Henley 2 (Hall 1, Neubert 1), Phoenix 5 (Watts 1, Clayton 2, Goff 1, Ortega 1).

Tre Foster, (34), grabs a rebound during the St. Mary's Cascade Christian game. Photo by Denise Baratta
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Cody Reece, (1), of Cascade Christian, looks for a shot around St. Mary's defenders Tre Foster, (34), and Josh Banton, (2). Photo by Denise Baratta
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Aiiloa Kaeo-Wailehua, (3), jumps to block a pass by Nathan Spurlock, (44), who is guarded by Crusader Luke Benniom, (14). Photo by Denise Baratta