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Maurer powers Challengers into 3A semis

Sophomore center leads first-half charge in dominant win over Umatilla

If there were any nerves from the Cascade Christian boys basketball team as it opened the Class 3A state tournament Thursday, the Challengers didn’t show it.

Cascade Christian came out with a foot fully on the gas, and didn’t slow down much over the pivotal opening 16 minutes.

The fourth-seeded Challengers raced to an early double-digit lead and it was all but routine from there as they rolled to a 66-36 win over No. 12-seeded Umatilla in the 3A quarterfinals at North Bend High School.

“Anytime you can start the game 15-0 in a state playoff game, that is always awesome,” said Cascade Christian head coach Brian Morse. “We knew that the guys were going to respond well because we had the one extra day having played last Thursday, so we had Umatilla scouted pretty well. We had a pretty good game plan, and they studied it and locked in really well. We just played with so much confidence.

“They did everything we wanted them to do in the first half. It was one of the most perfectly executed halves this team has ever played. It was really good.”

Sophomore center Austin Maurer, the Far West League’s player of the year, was a dominant force in his first-ever state tournament appearance, scoring a game-high 24 points to go with 13 rebounds, five blocks and three assists.

In the opening half alone, Maurer had a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds, missing just two of his 10 field goal attempts, including going a perfect 3-for-3 on 3-pointers.

Challengers senior point guard Cody Reece also recorded a double-double with 14 points and 10 assists while adding five rebounds and three steals.

“He was just completely focused and ready to go,” Morse said of Maurer. “We challenged him and Cody pretty hard (Wednesday) night and (Thursday) morning. They’re two of the best players in the state at the 3A level. Our other guys were pretty stressed last night, and I told them, ‘Cody and Austin have got this, they’re going to do what they do. They’re going to carry us and you guys need to just do what you do.’

“Austin was just dialed in,” added the coach. “He clearly showed in the first half that he’s the best player at the tournament, and it was pretty obvious.”

Cascade Christian (21-5), which has won six straight, will face top-seeded Westside Christian (24-2) — which beat Pleasant Hill 81-51 in the day’s opening game — for the right to play in Saturday’s 3A title game.

The Challengers and Eagles faced each other Jan. 17 at

the MLK Showcase in Harrisburg, with Westside Christian edging Cascade Christian 59-54.

The Challengers had been hoping to get another chance to face the Eagles at some point at the state tournament, and it will come at noon today as things shift over to Marshfield High School in Coos Bay.

And just to add a little more intrigue to the matchup: Westside Christian is coached by Cascade Christian alum David Henry, who was on both of the Challengers’ state champion teams, first as a player in 2007 and then as an assistant coach two years later in 2009.

“Everything, for him, has peaked towards this year being his year,” Morse said of Henry. “They are clearly the best team this year and hopefully we can knock them off tomorrow.”

Reece scored six points during the Challengers’ opening 15-0 run, which was capped by a Bryley Richardson 3-pointer with just over four minutes left in the opening quarter.

That proved to be just the start of the first-half blitz.

After leading 19-3 at the end of the first quarter, the Challengers opened the second period on almost as impressive of a run, extending their lead to 33-7 with 4:20 to go before the half. Maurer was seemingly in the middle of everything, scoring 11 points during the Challengers’ 14-4 run to open the second quarter.

All told, Maurer scored 15 of Cascade Christian’s 26 second-quarter points, leading the way as the Challengers built a 45-12 halftime lead.

It was a completely different story for Umatilla (16-10), which got to the state tournament by upsetting fifth-seeded Santiam Christian in the opening round of the 3A playoffs last week. The Vikings were just 4-for-25 (16%) from the field in the opening half.

Emilio Jaimez led Umatilla with eight points.

Cascade’s Peyton Maurer shook off a tough start shooting-wise to finish with nine points and four assists.

“We played great defensively,” Morse said. “Our guys, they locked in and they played exactly the way we told them to stop them. They put so much pressure on them that they were playing back on their heels and it really set things up. They missed a lot of shots, obviously, but I would like to say our defense did that to them.”

Westside Christian, champions of the Lewis & Clark League, has lost just two of its 13 games since facing the Challengers in mid-January. Nine of those wins have come by double-digit margins of victory.

“(Westside Christian) played in the game before us, and man, they are deep,” Morse said. “They are solid and they have a bunch of studs and I’m thinking how are we going to match up against them. Then we come out and dominate against Umatilla. It’s going to be a dogfight and it’s going to be fun to watch.”

UMATILLA (16-10)

Emilio Jaimez 2-6 2-2 8, Ulises Armenta 2-10 1-2 7, Jose Medina 2-3 2-2 6, Lynkin McLeod 2-3 0-0 4, Kaden Salamanca 2-2 0-0 4, Edwin Ortiz 1-9 0-0 2, Micheal Montez 1-4 0-0 2, Ramiro Alvarez 0-3 2-2 2, Oscar Campos 0-6 1-2 1, Kaden Jacobs 0-2 0-0 0, Davis Raymond 0-0 0-0 0, Alexis Armenta 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 12-48 8-10 36.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (21-5)

Austin Maurer 10-14 1-1 24, Cody Reece 6-11 1-2 14, Peyton Maurer 3-8 3-6 9, Triston Wallace 2-4 2-2 6, Cannon Anderson 2-3 0-1 4, Bryley Richardson 1-2 0-0 3, Kellan Kleker 1-2 0-0 3, Brody Sample 1-1 0-0 2, Daniel Nering 0-0 1-2 1, Eli Bryant 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Westlake 0-1 0-0 0, Landon Hess 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 26-46 8-14 66.

Umatilla39915— 36

Cascade Christian1926813— 66

3-point goals—Umatilla 4-24 (Emilio Jaimez 2-5, Ulises Armenta 2-6, Lynkin McLeod 0-1, Edwin Ortiz 0-7, Micheal Montez 0-1, Ramiro Alvarez 0-1, Oscar Campos 0-2, Jose Medina 0-1), Cascade Christian 6-15 (Austin Maurer 3-4, Kellan Kleker 1-1, Bryley Richardson 1-1, Cody Reece 1-5, Dylan Westlake 0-1, Cannon Anderson 0-1, Peyton Maurer 0-2). Fouled out—Umatilla-None, Cascade Christian-None. Rebounds—Umatilla 22 (Kaden Jacobs 3, Lynkin McLeod 3), Cascade Christian 39 (Austin Maurer 13). Assists—Umatilla 8 (Edwin Ortiz 2), Cascade Christian 18 (Cody Reece 10). Total fouls—Umatilla 16, Cascade Christian 8.

1A State Tournament

NIXYAAWII 69, ROGUE VALLEY ADVENTIST 56: At Baker City, sixth-seeded Rogue Valley Adventist dug too deep of a hole in consolation semifinal play and was eliminated with its second straight loss at the Class 1A state tournament.

David Zamudio scored 21 points and added five rebounds and two assists for the Red Tail Hawks (23-4), who trailed 21-12 after one quarter and by 18 points at halftime.

Alex Wiggers added 12 points and nine rebounds for RVA, while Cody Mendenhall had nine points and four steals.

Baron Moses led No. 7 seed Nixyaawii (24-7) with 18 points, 10 rebounds and five assists, and Aaron Barkley added 18 points.

NIXYAAWII (24-7)

Aaron Barkley 7-13 1-2 18, Baron Moses 7-12 4-8 18, Coyote Jackson 5-12 0-0 10, Dylan Abrahamson 4-9 0-0 9, Symon Picard 3-4 2-3 8, Kirk Houle 2-4 0-1 4, Saint Schimmel 0-0 2-2 2, Tommy Moore 0-1 0-0 0, Kaiwin Clements 0-0 0-0 0, Weptas Brockie 0-0 0-0 0, Dylan Monaco 0-1 0-0 0, Landen Picard 0-0 0-0 0. Totals: 28-56 9-16 69.

ROGUE VALLEY ADVENTI ST (23-4)

David Zamudio 8-22 0-0 21, Alex Wiggers 5-9 2-6 12, Cody Mendenhall 3-12 3-5 9, Thomas Strate 2-10 1-2 6, Kyle Wilson 2-7 0-1 4, Lucas Christensen 1-5 0-0 2, Bryce Perry 1-2 0-2 2, Mark Alvarez 0-1 0-0 0. Totals: 22-68 6-16 56.

Nixyaawii21171912— 69

Rogue Valley Adventist1291322— 56

3-point goals—Nixyaawii 4-13 (Aaron Barkley 3-6, Dylan Abrahamson 1-4, Tommy Moore 0-1, Dylan Monaco 0-1, Baron Moses 0-1), Rogue Valley Adventist 6-29 (David Zamudio 5-18, Thomas Strate 1-7, Cody Mendenhall 0-3, Lucas Christensen 0-1). Fouled out—Nixyaawii-None, Rogue Valley Adventist-None. Rebounds—Nixyaawii 44 (Baron Moses 10, Coyote Jackson 10), Rogue Valley Adventist 38 (Alex Wiggers 9). Assists—Nixyaawii 15 (Dylan Abrahamson 6), Rogue Valley Adventist 7 (Lucas Christensen 2, David Zamudio 2, Bryce Perry 2). Total fouls—Nixyaawii 12, Rogue Valley Adventist 12.

Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCascade Christian's Austin Maurer, seen here in a file photo from earlier this season, scored 24 points in the Challengers’ win over Umatilla at the 3A state tournament on Thursday.