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Challengers’ comeback derailed vs. No. 1 Eagles

HARRISBURG — A gutsy comeback effort by the Cascade Christian boys basketball team against the top-ranked team in the state — and a record-setting night for Austin Maurer — quickly took a downward turn during a wild finish in the MLK Showcase at Harrisburg High School on Monday.

Just after Cannon Anderson splashed in a 3-pointer with 32 seconds left to put the Challengers ahead for the first time since falling behind by 15 points late in the third quarter, a controversial foul call on Cascade Christian and a technical foul ultimately resulted in six free throw attempts for Westside Christian and the Eagles escaped for a 59-54 victory.

“It was a disappointing way to end the game because the kids fought all the way back to take the lead,” said Challengers coach Brian Morse. “But unfortunately that’s the way it went. The kids worked so hard and that’s what I’m most proud of about it.”

Anderson’s 3-pointer put the Challengers ahead 53-52 but a foul on Cascade Christian away from the ball put the Eagles at the line with a chance to tie or take the lead. Morse questioned the referees’ call and was assessed a technical foul, awarding Westside Christian two additional free throws. Because Westside took the lead with its free throws and maintained possession because of the technical, the Challengers were forced to foul again and send the Eagles back to the charity stripe, where they sealed the win.

“They rallied back and kept playing solid defense and figured out how to break the press,” Morse said of his team’s comeback. “We had all the momentum when we took the lead but didn’t finish the way we were hoping.”

The loss by the third-ranked Challengers (9-4) overshadowed Maurer’s incredible night, in which he amassed 32 points and a school-record 23 rebounds to go with four blocks.

“He played big in the spotlight playing against the No. 1 team in the state,” said Morse of the sophomore Maurer. “They had no answer for him. If it just happened once that would be one thing but he’s been doing this night in and night out for us.”

Cody Reece added 12 points, four assists and a couple of steals for the Challengers, which outside of Maurer’s outside shooting, went 1-for-14 from 3-point range.

Kamir Hodges led three players in double figures with 15 points for the Eagles (12-0).

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (54): Reece 12, Anderson 4, Wallace 4, P. Maurer 2, Hess 0, Sample 0, Hoffman 0, A. Maurer 32. Totals: 18 9-11 54.

WESTSIDE CHRISTIAN (59): Snodgrass 0, Ye 11, Hodge 15, Jackson 5, Poindexter 3, Lerman 14, Chandler 0, Reinholtz 2, Lammeis 9. Totals: 21 13-23 59.

Cascade Christian13111120— 54

Westside Christian11122511— 59

3-point goals — Cascade Christian 6 (Anderson 1, A. Maurer 4), Westside Christian 4 (Poindexter 1, Lerman 2, Lammeis 1). Technical foul — Cascade Christian coach Morse.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Austin Maurer, shown in action last Friday, amassed 32 points and 23 rebounds Monday against Westside Christian.