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Borich buzzer-beater sends SOU to CCC tourney final

SALEM — Two weeks ago, Corban needed a pair buzzer-beating 3-pointers to knock off Southern Oregon.

In the rematch Saturday night at the C.E. Jeffers Center, Aaron Borich and the Raiders needed just one.

One of the greatest moments in SOU playoff history now belongs to Borich, a junior guard, after he kept the Raiders’ season alive by delivering a 76-74 win in the semifinal round of the Cascade Conference Championships.

With 10 seconds left, Tristen Holmes rebounded Denis Kirichenko’s missed free throw, dribbled the length of the floor and picked up his dribble on the baseline. He found Borich open on the right wing, and his 3-pointer touched nothing but net.

Holmes was equally clutch in bringing SOU back from eight points down in the final three minutes, where he hit three of his five 3-pointers to finish with 20 points.

The sixth-seeded Raiders (21-10 overall) started the tournament with a 78-77 quarterfinal upset at Northwest Christian and will end it at second-seeded and seventh-ranked College of Idaho for Tuesday’s championship game. It’ll air live on Root Sports Northwest with a 6 p.m. Pacific Time tipoff, and the winner will take an automatic bid to the NAIA Division II National Tournament.

The Warriors, seeded fourth, finished up at 21-9. On Feb. 8, they defeated SOU 94-92 in double-overtime, forcing the first OT with one last-second 3 and the second extra session with another.

They had the Raiders on the ropes a couple times in the third meeting. It was 30-19 just 12 minutes into the game, but Kaj Bansen helped the Raiders out of the hole with four 3-pointers and had them up 42-38 by halftime.

The Warriors scored on four consecutive possessions down the stretch to go up 68-60. Holmes dribbled into a deep 3 to cut into the lead, and after a Raider stop he found Kaj Bansen for another. Then, with 1:09 left, Bansen grabbed an offensive rebound and kicked to Holmes for one more 3 that made it 69-68.

The Warriors scored their last six at the free-throw line. AJ Hodges got the first two to reclaim the lead, and with 20 seconds left they were up 74-70 and had possession.

SOU stayed alive by forcing a five-second violation, and Holmes capitalized by hitting from downtown again. After Kirichenko split his free throws, Borich got his turn with his only field-goal attempt of the game.

Teron Bradford contributed 16 points, five rebounds and four assists to the cause, Bansen finished with 15 and Tate Hoffman added 10 points and two blocks.

The Raiders went 13-of-31 from the 3-point line, marking their highest make total of the season.

They’ll be in the championship game for the first time since 2015, when they went down at College of Idaho. They won their last tournament title in 2005.

Joel Johnson’s 18 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks led Corban, which had a 46-18 advantage on points in the paint.