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When Gladstone elects to not come over the pass for Friday's basketball games it creates a shortage of content for today's sports page

Imagine my surprise when I drove into the Crook County High School parking lot Friday night for the Cowgirls basketball game with the Gladstone Gladiators and saw just five cars in the parking lot.

ILon Austin know that sometimes Friday night games are not well attended, but even so, there should have been more cars in the parking lot than that for a league contest.

As I walked to the gym, it quickly became apparent that there wasn't going to be a game, something that caught me completely by surprise.

Yes, there had been a forecast calling for snow on the mountain passes, but according to Friday night's news, it was just slush at Government Camp.

A quick check with athletic trainer Michael Estes confirmed my worst fears — both the boys and girls basketball games had been postponed.

I know, if I used Facebook I would have already known, since CCHS posted the information on Facebook much earlier in the day.

Still, I wasn't expecting a cancelation. After all, Corbett traveled to Madras for a boys basketball game Friday, while the White Buffalo girls traveled to Corbett, so other teams had elected to play with exactly the same conditions.

Panic quickly set in as I had nearly two pages to fill in today's paper, and as of Friday night, I didn't even have one story.

Had I bothered to check Facebook earlier, I could have driven to Spray to cover the Mitchell/Spray Eagle Loggers. However, by now it was 6:45 p.m., and the girls game was nearly over in Spray.

As I returned home, I stressed about what I was going to do to fill today's paper.

Fortunately, the boys game was rescheduled for Saturday, and the Cowboys made an uneventful trip over the pass to play the Gladiators.

Unfortunately, the girls game wasn't rescheduled until Monday evening.

That means that although I did have a story for the paper, I had no new photographs.

No art for two pages of newsprint isn't a very pretty thought.

However, beggars can't be choosers, so I dug up photos from earlier this year to put in the boys basketball story.

Monday morning, I was at work bright and early and scrambling to figure out how to fill the remaining space.

The irony of the situation is that recently I have had the opposite problem, too many stories and not enough space.

Fortunately, Friday afternoon Peter Weber, the executive director of the OSAA, emailed an op-ed piece about the need for officials, so that has filled some of the space.

Friday night, my wife suggested that I fill the remainder of the missing space with a column.

That's pretty easy to say, but not so easy to do when you don't really have a topic to write about.

Thus the rambling column.

So now for a topic that you just can't go wrong with in Crook County — wrestling.

Former Crook County Cowboys are beginning to have a huge impact in collegiate wrestling.

On the NCAA Division I level, an amazing four Cowboys are currently earning mat time. Tyler Berger, who is wrestling for the 10th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers, is currently ranked eighth at 157 pounds, while Kurt Mode, 149, and Collbran Meeker, 184, are both seeing mat time for the Oregon State Beavers.

Although he is not wrestling varsity yet, Trevor Rasmussen is also wrestling in the PAC12, competing at 285 pounds for Stanford.

Several other former Cowboys are also still wrestling at the collegiate level.

Speaking of Cowboys, the team's win at the Reser's Tournament of Champions makes the Cowboys the clear favorites to win their fifth state championship in the last six years.

The Cowboys host the Redmond Panthers this Wednesday in the final home match of the year. Expect a packed house for the match, which is senior night for the Cowboys.

Following Wednesday's match, it's on to regionals at Molalla High School, Friday and Saturday, Feb. 9-10. The goal for the Cowboys all season has been to win the regional tournament, but more importantly, to qualify as many wrestlers as possible for the following week's state tournament.

Don't be surprised if more than 20 Cowboys make it to the state tournament.

Speaking of state, Kids State Wrestling Championships were held in Redmond this past weekend, and the Cowboy Mat Club produced at least nine state champions as well as several more other placers.

With the strength of the Cowboy Mat Club, the CCHS wrestling team looks to be strong for years to come.

Speaking of strong, both the Crook County High School boys and girls basketball teams are having better than expected years.

After starting the season slowly, the Cowboys are currently tied with the Madras White Buffalos for second place in the Tri-Valley Conference. Both teams have 3-1 conference marks, while the White Buffalos are 7-10 overall, and the Cowboys are 6-11.

It is the best league start for the Cowboys in at least a decade. Crook County is doing it with defense, giving up just 40.7 points a game so far during the league season.

Madras and Crook County meet tonight in what should be an interesting clash of styles.

Crook County is content to grind games out, slowing the tempo down, while working hard to shut the other team's offense down. Meanwhile, the White Buffalos like to play at a frenzied pace. The high-flying White Buffalos are just over 77 points a game during the league season and over 72 points a game for the season.

Although they are struggling in league play, the Cowgirls are also having a better than expected league season. By the start of Christmas break, the team had already surpassed the win total for all of last season. The Cowgirls still have a long ways to go before they are competitive at the state level, but the team has been staying in games and competing to the very end. With four wins and six games left to play, the Cowgirls could still end up with their best record in the last five years.

Here's hoping that both basketball teams continue to get better and that perhaps the Cowboys can still find a way to win their first ever Tri-Valley Conference championship.

Well, I think that is enough blathering on to fill today's space, and my deadline is rapidly approaching, so I guess I will quit rambling and wrap this up.

Go Cowboys and Cowgirls.

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