Despite dropping games to McMinnville, St. Helens, Canby picked up big wins over Gresham, Hillsboro

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Freshman Diego Arredondo had some success in the second quarter, scoring seven points to tie up the McMinnville Grizzlies at 17-17. Despite Arredondo's shooting from the outside, the Cougar's could not stop McMinnville's offensive output in the second half of their game on Dec. 11. Coming off its first win of the season against Reynolds, the Canby boys basketball team looked for a win in its first home court defense. Unfortunately for the Cougars, McMinnville had other ideas in mind.

In the first quarter, the game was neck and neck. McMinnville got proceedings started with four points right off the bat, but Canby answered right away. Senior Skyler Castleman drained a three pointer to bring the Cougars within one, and two free throws to again close the lead to 5-6. Junior Rizdin Miller hit a field goal to give Canby the lead, but McMinnville would not be deterred. The Grizzlies went on a seven point run towards the end of the quarter, but two free throws from senior Wade Brewer closed the lead yet again.

In the second quarter, freshman Diego Arredondo came out like a house on fire. The 5'11 guard scored seven points off the bat, at one point evening the score at 17-17. Miller and senior Wade Brewer contributed free throw baskets to Canby's tally, sophomore Ronan Gay scored two points, and senior Antonio Arredondo scored his own three. Heading out of the half, Canby led the dance 25-24.

The complexion of the game would change in the second half, but not in Canby's favor.

"I thought in the first half we were a lot more aggressive," Diego Arredondo said. "In the second half on defense we kind of broke down, didn't switch the screens like we were supposed to."

In the second half, McMinnville got started with six straight points before Brewer answered with five points of his own. Senior Jacob Huggins hit a two, and Antonio Arredondo had two baskets of his own. Still, at the end of the quarter it was McMinnville 42, Canby 36.

The fourth quarter saw the momentum slip entirely out of Canby's hands. Brewer and Castleman scored early, but after a free throw from senior Riley Jones, McMinnville went on a 16 point run to close the show, winning 69-46.

It was a busy week for the Cougars, though, as they played three more times. They lost their Dec. 12 showdown against St. Helens 85-86, but followed it up with a solid performance against Gresham.

Canby vs. Gresham

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: MATT RAWLINGS - 5'10 Senior Wade Brewer had a big game against Gresham on Friday, Dec. 15, scoring 28 of Canby's 53 points en route to Canby's 53-44 win. Brewer is one of Canby's leaders on the court.

CANBY — Every time Gresham would find a way to get back into the game, Canby always had an answer.

Despite trailing by as many as 14 in the first half, Gresham came back to tie the game on multiple occasions in the final 10 minutes. But thanks to 28 big points from Canby senior Wade Brewer, the Cougars prevailed with a 53-44 victory over Gresham on Friday night.

Canby came out hotter than a pistol, nailing four out of their first five three-pointers to take a 16-4 advantage. The Gresham offense looked out of sync throughout the first period as the Gophers managed only four points in the first eight minutes.

Canby cooled way off in the second quarter, only scoring six points in the period. But Gresham couldn't take advantage as their offensive woes would continue for the remainder of the half. The Gophers would head into the break trailing 22-12. Brewer had 18 of Canby's 22 points in the first half and was 5-of-9 (.556) from behind the arc.

"(Brewer) is our leader. He commands a lot of attention from opposing defenses. We got some really key baskets from him," Canby head coach Craig Evans said.

Lyslo made it a point of emphasis at halftime to make sure that Brewer didn't go off in the second half, so the Gophers came out in the third quarter face-guarding Brewer and denying him the ball at all times.

"We just wanted to see if someone else could score the ball for (Canby)," Lyslo said.

The strategy worked as Brewer didn't have a point in the third quarter. Coincidentally, the Gophers stellar play at on the defensive end translated to points on the offensive end.

After Canby's Riley Jones hit a bucket to start the second half, Gresham rallied to go on a 14-2 run to tie the game at 26, thanks to nine consecutive points from Turner.

Canby responded in a big way. Freshman Diego Arrendondo hit back-to-back triples to lead the Cougars on an 8-0 run before the end of the quarter. Gresham would go on an 8-0 run of their own — thanks to a pair of three-pointers from Abrahamson — to tie the game at 34, but could never grab the lead as Canby got consecutive buckets from Jones and Skyler Castleman.

Brewer was held scoreless for the first 14 minutes of the second half, but he picked a crucial time to get loose for his only field goal of the half.

Canby held a 42-40 advantage and held possession of the ball with under two minutes to play. Brewer came off a double screen at the top of the key and was able to create just enough space to get off a three-pointer.

The ball didn't even graze the rim. It splashed through the bottom of the net, giving the Cougars the five-point lead.

"I didn't want to let (Gresham)'s box-and-one frustrate me. I just wanted to stick to coach's game plan and not force anything," Brewer said.

Brewer ended up scoring 10 points in the final quarter and hit seven of his eight free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

"I thought we persevered very well. When a team makes a run, one of the biggest things is to not let them get the lead," Evans said. "Once they get the lead, they start to get that extra momentum going…We were always able to keep (Gresham) at bay and I think in the end it just wore on them."

Following that impressive showing, Canby faced off with Hillsboro on Dec. 16 and won the road game 48-39 to bring their overall record to 3-3. The Cougars will play Del Sol in the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas on Dec. 20.

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