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Cascade cranks it up in win over St. Mary’s

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No. 4 Challengers use third-quarter run to end rival Crusaders’ season

St. Mary’s High needed a boys basketball win over Cascade Christian and maybe a little more help in Far West League play to extend its season beyond Friday night.

The fourth-ranked Challengers, however, weren’t in any mood to oblige.

After the first matchup between the teams went down to the wire, Cascade Christian broke open Round 2 with a 20-8 third-quarter flurry and cruised to a 72-43 victory that effectively ended the Crusaders’ season.

“I was really excited that St. Mary’s season depended on this game because I knew that they’d come out and play hard and aggressive and that’s exactly what we wanted,” said Challengers head coach Brian Morse. “We wanted a playoff-type atmosphere to get us ready for next Friday’s playoff game.”

“We just cranked it up to a higher gear and unfortunately they couldn’t match that to make it a close game down to the end,” he added. “But I suppose I wasn’t too sad with that, either.”

Cascade Christian sophomore Austin Maurer paved the way with 19 points, 17 rebounds and three blocked shots, while senior Cody Reece had 14 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals.

The Challengers (19-5, 9-1 FWL), No. 3 in the Class 3A state power rankings, expect to host a first-round game in the state playoffs next Friday.

Junior guard Noah Friesen scored 17 points to lead St. Mary’s (9-12, 5-5), which finished outside of a potential league playoff game to secure a state bid by placing fourth in the FWL.

“They’re a good team, they’ve definitely earned their ranking,” said St. Mary’s head coach Kyle Walker. “You’ve got to give them their credit, they’re No. 2 or 3 in the state for a reason.”

“They just kind of exploded in the third quarter,” he added of the Challengers. “They hit some shots and went on some runs there that we couldn’t get timeouts fast enough.”

The Crusaders matched the Challengers step-for-step in the first quarter, getting a pair of 3-pointers from senior Travis Johnson to spur them along for only a slight 12-10 deficit entering the second quarter.

Friesen connected on a pair of 3-pointers to keep St. Mary’s in the hunt despite five points from Reece and a transition layup by Peyton Maurer to start the second, but Austin Maurer found room for a dunk and, after a Kayden Walker basket, St. Mary’s simply could not convert over the 6-foot-10 Austin Maurer on six successive shots.

“Austin and (6-foot-1 junior Triston Wallace) did a good job of shutting down the lanes and altering shots,” said coach Walker. “They took away some of that drive to the basket that we like to do. How do you not go to the basket and adjust when you see someone 7-foot tall?”

The Challengers led 33-22 at halftime and made an adjustment that shifted Austin Maurer from the high post to the low post and utilized some high-low action to break open the contest in the second half.

“We started attacking the basket really hard and defensively our intensity level raised and that kind of put them back on their heels,” said Morse.

Added Walker: “We did a pretty good job matching up in the first quarter but, after that, they ran some high-low stuff that was pretty vulnerable defensively for us and they got some pretty easy looks inside. Austin, when he does catch the ball inside, just the ability for him to turn, drop, stop and dunk on you ... he did that a few times and played really well and physically tonight.”

Peyton Maurer finished with seven points and three rebounds, while Bryley Richardson knocked down three 3-pointers for his nine points and Daniel Nering added seven points and five boards for Cascade.

“Austin and Cody did what they do normally,” said Morse, “but we got some good production from everybody tonight.”

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (72): Reece 14, Anderson 3, Wallace 5, P. Maurer 7, Hess 3, Sample 2, Hoffman 0, A. Maurer 19, Bryant 0, Nering 7, Westlake 0, Kleker 3, Richardson 9. Totals: 27 10-13 72.

ST. MARY’S (43): Friesen 17, Flowers 2, Kranenburg 0, Walker 5, Haynes 2, Delplanche 6, Cooley 0, Hensman 3, Patel 2, Foster 0, Smith 0, Johnson 6. Totals: 16 3-9 43.

Cascade Christian12212019— 72

St. Mary’s1012813— 43

3-point goals — Cascade Christian 8 (Reece 2, Anderson 1, Hess 1, Kleker 1, Richardson 3), St. Mary’s 6 (Friesen 3, Hensman 1, Johnson 2).

Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488 or khenry@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Austin Maurer dunks the ball during the second quarter of Friday night’s game against St. Mary’s.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneThe Cascade Christian bench reacts after a teammate hits a 3-pointer during the fourth quarter of Friday night’s game against St. Mary’s.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Austin Maurer grabs a rebound during the second quarter of Friday night’s game against St. Mary’s.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneThe Cascade Christian's Triston Wallace steals the ball away from St Mary's Eli Haynes during the third quarter of Friday night’s game.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Cody Reece shoots a 3-pointer during the second quarter of Friday night’s game against St. Mary’s.