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Christmas Classic goes down to the wire

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Crater fends off last-second effort by Cascade Christian to capture boys title

In a championship showdown that came down to the final shot, it was all in the eye of the beholder to determine celebration or frustration Thursday night at Cascade Christian High.

For Crater, ranked fifth in the Class 5A boys basketball coaches poll, the fateful final moments involved a sigh of relief and a sense of glee after securing a 49-48 victory in the Christmas Classic.

For the host Challengers, No. 4 in the 3A poll, it was about a tremendous comeback and what might have been on a contested potential game-winning shot attempt by sophomore Austin Maurer.

“Obviously it’s going to be a better Christmas break being on the plus end versus being on the minus,” said Crater head coach Brian Broaddus of the nip-and-tuck affair. “Yesterday was a great game for us too, Dayton was a great matchup for us.”

“Pulling it out in their home gym, with a home crowd and a one-point game,” added Broaddus, “those are valuable learning experiences that you can’t simulate in a practice or 30-point game that goes up and down. Those are playoff-type games you can’t duplicate.”

Crater (9-1) showed a balanced attack throughout, getting 10 points apiece from seniors Colton Vranes and Javon Smith, nine points from sophomore Ashton Acrey and eight points from senior Caden Lasater.

For Cascade Christian (4-3), Austin Maurer led the charge with 23 points and 12 rebounds, twin brother Peyton Maurer had seven points and seven rebounds, senior Cody Reed scored eight points and sophomore Cannon Anderson had seven points.

Crater never trailed in Thursday’s finale, and led by as many as 12 points in the second quarter, but was held scoreless over the final three minutes of play to set up the dramatic finish.

As they had done for most of the night, the Challengers slowly chipped away at their deficit and suddenly found themselves with the basketball in hand following a front-end miss of a one-and-one chance at the foul line by Lasater.

After a timeout with 12.9 seconds on the clock, Cascade Christian got the ball into the hands of senior point guard Cody Reece, who disguised his approach but had to double-clutch before sending a pass across the court to Landon Hess, who quickly moved the ball to the 6-foot-11 Austin Maurer in the paint.

The Comets’ Logan Price came off Maurer to try and deflect the entry pass to no avail, but Lasater was quick to have his back and swooped in to contest Maurer’s controversial turnaround shot in the paint.

At one end, it appeared Lasater was able to deflect the shot attempt and recovered a floating ball as time expired.

On the other, it appeared possible that Maurer was fouled on the arm while trying to hoist his shot.

All that mattered, though, was it was a play-on scenario and a sixth straight win for the Comets.

“The great thing is that we had the ball at the end and we had a chance to win it,” Cascade Christian head coach Brian Morse said. “We put the ball in our best player’s hands and that’s all you can ask for at the end of the game.”

“It was a great game; it was a great finish,” added Morse. “I can only ask for having a chance to win it at the end. Most of the time teams do not convert on things like that but I thought we had a good chance, especially with the ball in Austin’s hands. The defense was tight on him and he had to force a shot up, and it didn’t go in and there was no foul called either so that’s that.”

The fact that Thursday’s final even came down to a last-second shot seemed unlikely given the start of the contest, with Crater building a 10-1 lead and jumping up 20-8 only 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter. Cascade Christian came out of a timeout and scored seven straight points to keep the Comets from running away with it in the first half, although the visitors responded with their own run to end the second half with a 26-17 advantage.

“When we went down 12 it could’ve easily turned to 20 by halftime,” said Morse, “but the one thing I love is we did not give up and our guys clawed back.”

“In the first half we just did not take care of the ball with nine turnovers and we did not handle any type of pressure,” he added. “The problem with those nine turnovers is seven of them led to transition baskets for them. We took way better care of the ball in the second half. I was very impressed with our guys in the second half.”

A 3-pointer by Reece ended the third quarter with Cascade Christian only down 38-34, and Reece converted on the opening possession of the fourth quarter to get the Challengers the closest they had been since the opening minute of play.

After that it was back-and-forth, with each team exchanging clutch baskets. Be it a driving shot in traffic by Vranes, a dunk by Austin Maurer or 3-pointers by Ty Dahlin, Tate Broesder or Peyton Maurer, fans from each team could be heard rising and falling with every ebb and flow of the contest.

“It was a fun game,” Broaddus said. “The gym was full, it was loud in there and it was just a great high school basketball game, especially for being nonleague and in a (winter break from school). It was just a great atmosphere.”

After Broesder’s 3-pointer gave Crater a 49-45 lead with 2:52 to play, Acrey was assessed with a technical foul and subsequently so was Broaddus, leaving Austin Maurer with four free throws at the other end, of which he made three.

The Challengers turned the ball over when they got it back after the foul shots and Crater spread the floor to take advantage of its quick ball-handlers. The Comets, however, missed driving efforts on two straight possessions and turned the ball over on another.

Cascade Christian could not take advantage on the other end, with Reece and Austin Maurer each missing on 3-point attempts. On the Challengers third possession, Reece tripped while driving the lane and the ball again turned over to the Comets, setting the stage for the crazy finish after Lasater was fouled with 22 seconds to play and sent to the line.

“I’m not happy we lost,” Morse said, “but, again, we saw some things that we were exposed on and we need to work on and we’re going to be a better team because of it.”

In Wednesday’s late game, Vranes scored 16 points and Acrey added 12 as Crater held off Class 3A Dayton, 53-38, to earn their spot in the championship game. Crater also got eight points from Broesder as the Comets outscored the third-ranked Pirates 31-20 in the second half to pull away in that game.

The fourth-place boys division final between Phoenix and Klamath Union and the third-place girls division final between Harrisburg and Klamath Union were canceled due to poor road conditions for the Pelicans coming from Klamath Falls.

CRATER (49): Acrey 9, Lasater 8, Vranes 10, Smith 10, Price 4, Dahlin 5, Broesder 3. Totals: 14 2-5 49.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (48): Reece 8, Anderson 7, Wallace 0, P. Maurer 7, Hess 3, A. Maurer 23, Bryant 0. Totals: 17 9-11 48.

Crater15111211— 49

Cascade Christian891714— 48

3-point goals — Crater 7 (Lasater 2, Vranes 2, Acrey 1, Dahlin 1, Broesder 1), Cascade Christian 5 (Reece 1, Anderson 1, P. Maurer 1, A. Maurer 1). Technical foul — Acrey, Crater coach Broaddus.

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DAYTON (38): Hudson 6, Hodges 0, Bettiga 0, Primbs 0, Wall 4, Spink 18, Miller 2, Freeborn 3, Ashley 5. Totals: 15 5-8 38.

CRATER (53): Acrey 12, Lasater 5, Vranes 16, Smith 6, Price 6, Idiart 0, Dahlin 0, Broesder 8. Totals: 18 14-19 53.

Dayton7111010— 38

Crater9131516— 53

3-point goals — Dayton 3 (Spink 2, Freeborn 1), Crater 3 (Broesder 2, Lasater 1). Fouled out — Wall.

ST. MARY’S 60, NORTH VALLEY 50: St. Mary’s junior Noah Friesen poured in a game-high 27 points to lead the Crusaders to a third win over North Valley this season and seventh-place tournament finish.

Friesen knocked down three 3-pointers and was 6-for-6 from the free-throw line for St. Mary’s (4-6), which trailed by one point entering the fourth quarter but broke the game open with a 19-8 final surge.

Friesen had eight of his points in the fourth, while junior Kayden Walker added five of his 16 points in the final frame.

Max Cartwright scored 16 points and Matthew Hawkins added 13 for North Valley (0-8).

NORTH VALLEY (50): Lauby 6, Champion 7, Hawkins 13, M. Cartwright 16, Kilborn 0, Jones 8, C. Cartwright 0. Totals: 19 9-13 50.

ST. MARY’S (60): Friesen 27, Kranenburg 2, Walker 16, Haynes 8, Delplanche 3, Johnson 4. Totals: 21 13-14 60.

North Valley138218— 50

St. Mary’s12131619— 60

3-point goals — North Valley 3 (Hawkins 2, M. Cartwright 1), St. Mary’s 5 (Friesen 3, Walker 1, Delplanche 1). Technical foul — Delplanche.

Girls

SANTIAM CHRISTIAN 34, EAGLE POINT 15: Santiam Christian junior Tayla Yost equaled Eagle Point’s scoring with 15 points on a night when the Eagles struggled from the field and saw no player score more than three points in the girls division championship.

Kansas Raber, Haley McCornack and Alondra Cabrera each scored three points for the Eagles (2-6), with McCornack also adding six rebounds and Cabrera pulling in five boards.

Santiam Christian, which led 14-3 after one quarter, improved to 9-3 overall.

SANTIAM CHRISTIAN (34): Davis 0, Vanderhoof 0, Roberts 0, K. Fast 0, Fulbright 5, Scariano 6, Fields 8, E. Fast 0, Yost 15, Hughes 0, Riddle 0. Totals: 13 5-12 34.

EAGLE POINT (15): Raber 3, Nielsen 2, R. Baldwin 2, Pena 0, Munoz 0, Balero 2, McCornack 3, Cabrera 3, Lindstrom 0, Schauffler 0, A. Baldwin 0. Totals: 5 4-11 15.

Santiam Christian14956— 34

Eagle Point3705— 15

3-point goals — Santiam Christian 3 (Yost 3), Eagle Point 1 (Raber 1).

PHOENIX 37, ASHLAND 21: Phoenix jumped out to a 15-3 advantage in the first quarter to take control and claim fourth place in the eight-school tournament with its second win this season over Class 5A Ashland.

All-tournament selection Anabell Delgado scored 12 points to go with three steals and Morgan James added 11 points, 12 rebounds and six steals in a stellar showing for the Pirates (6-5).

Ashland (1-6) struggled behind 15% shooting for the game, with Gabby Heiken (12 points) and Abbey Lambert (nine points) providing all of the Grizzlies’ points. Heiken, who was named to the all-tournament team, also finished with 10 rebounds, while Isabella Robinson grabbed seven rebounds.

ASHLAND (21): Montgomery 0, Lambert 9, Caruso 0, G. Carter 0, Jenkins 0, Heiken 12, Robinson 0. Totals: 5 8-14 21.

PHOENIX (37): James 11, Nolan 6, Potratz 2, Delgado 12, Rector 6, Mohamud 0. Totals: 9 17-32 37.

Ashland3585— 21

Phoenix15787— 37

3-point goals — Ashland 3 (Heiken 3), Phoenix 2 (Delgado 1, Rector 1).

NORTH VALLEY 37, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 30: Cascade Christian freshman Jordynn Jones scored 17 points but the Challengers couldn’t keep pace as North Valley gradually pulled away in the consolation bracket contest.

Callie Sweem and Bella Williams each added six points for the Challengers (3-8), who suffered their second loss of the season to the Knights. Jones was named to the all-tournament team.

Ashlyn Godfrey had 12 points and Sydney Moore scored 10 for North Valley (6-3), which set the tone with a 13-7 edge in the first quarter.

NORTH VALLEY (37): Moore 10, Cooke 2, Hawkins 1, Schrock 6, Wheeler 0, S. Godfrey 0, A. Godfrey 12, Fagert 6, Champion 0. Totals: 15 6-13 37.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (30): Cramer 0, Shipman 0, Sweem 6, Williams 6, Brehm 0, Coats 0, Jones 17, Pierson 0, Roberson 1, Purrier 0. Totals: 13 3-5 30.

North Valley135118— 37

Cascade Christian7779— 30

3-point goals — North Valley 1 (Schrock 1), Cascade Christian 1 (Jones 1).

Have a story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Colton Vranes shoots for three points during the 1st quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Austin Maurer dunks the ball during the 4th quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Caden Lasater breaks up a pass during the 2nd quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Colton Vranes shoot for two points during the 4th quarter.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Ashton Acrey shoots for three points during the 4th quarter.