Crook County plays Mountain View tough despite 27-point loss

The Crook County Cowboys dropped their 11th straight basketball game on Friday as they fell 75-48 to the Mountain View LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Parker Kilthau drives to the basket during the second half of the Cowboys loss to the Mountain View Cougars on Friday. Kilthau finished the game with three points.

Despite the loss, Crook County Head Basketball Coach Darin Kessi was pleased with the effort that he saw from his players.

“We lost by 59 points average in our first two games with Mountain View,” said Kessi. “We lost by 27 tonight to an amazing team, so on quite a few levels we outplayed them.”

The Cowboys jumped out to a quick start behind the hot shooting of Andrew Sofich. Sofich hit 13 points in the first quarter. The Cowboys held an early 10-8 lead. The two teams were tied 14-14 before Mountain View went on a run late in the quarter.

The Cougars held a 24-18 lead at the end of the period. Crook County pulled to within three points, 28-25, midway through the second period. However, Mountain View stretched their lead out to 37-28 by the half.

Mountain View continued to stretch their lead in the third period and held a 56-41 lead going into the final stanza. From there, Mountain View continued to pull away for the easy win.

“This is the fourth game in a row that we have been in the game,” Kessi said. “Right now, I would pick the fight of my team over any team in the IMC. They’ve won just one game, but they are not playing like that. They are playing like they have won every game. They are fighting.”

Sofich, who battled foul problems most of the game, finished with 15 points to lead the Cowboys. Seth Kessi added nine points, while Blake Bartels pitched in with eight, and Kohlter Kee finished with seven.

Sofich added seven rebounds, while Kessi finished with three rebounds and five assists, and Bartels added four rebounds and five assists.

As a team, the Cowboys finished with 22 rebounds and 11 assists, while the taller Cougars finished with 28 rebounds and 13 LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Ricky Hernandez looks for an opening in the Mountain View defense during the Cowboys loss to the Cougars Friday night.

The Cowboys (2-17, 0-11 IMC) hit on nearly 45 percent of their shots, 17 for 38, for one of their best shooting performances of the year. However, the Cougars shot even better, hitting 50 percent of their shots, going 23 for 46 in the contest.

Mountain View (15-3, 10-1 IMC) was led by Grant Lannin with 16 points, while Davis Holly and Ments Haugen were also in double figures with 11 points apiece.

Although the Cowboys have not won a game since December, the team is clearly playing their best basketball of the year, and they are doing it with a patchwork lineup. Starter A.J. Cooper is out for the year with a knee injury, while fellow starter Nate Jones has missed the last two games. Arron Tavernia has also missed the last two contests.

“I love what our seniors are doing,” said Kessi. “They are doing a great job of leading because they are accepting whatever role they have and doing the very best they can with that role. They are making us better and they are exceeding my expectations of what they were going to be able to do. That’s a huge testament to their strength of character.”

Still, the Cowboys have been competitive in recent weeks. Since the beginning of February the Cowboys have lost by 16 points to No. 6-ranked Bend and 27 points to No. 4-ranked Mountain View. Sandwiched between those two games the team fell by two points to Redmond, and five points to Summit.

Although still losses, compare that to early in the Intermountain Conference season when the team was losing by an average of 34 points a contest, and by 59 points to Mountain View.

The Cowboys hope to find out just how much they have improved on Monday when they take on the Ridgeview Ravens in Special District I action. The Ravens took the first meeting between the two teams, so the game is a must-win situation for the Cowboys, who must win each of the final two games against Ridgeview to have any chance to make the playoffs.

The Cowboys close out their homestand on Tuesday when they take on the Bend Lava Bears.

The team is back in action on Friday when they travel to Redmond to take on the Panthers. All three games are scheduled for 7 p.m.

Mountain View 75,

Crook County 48

Mountain View (75) — Grant Lannin 16, Holly 11, Haugen 11, Cattell 7, Vance 6, Kurzynowski 6, Albin 5, Hjelm 4, Houston 3, Roth 3, Vansise 2. Totals 23 21-29 75.

Crook County (48) — Andrew Sofich 15, Kessi 9, Bartels 8, Kee 7, Kilthau 3, Hernandez 2, Parker 2, Harper 2, Villagomez, Stubblefield, Lapsley, Fahlgren. Totals 17 10-21 48.

Mountain View 24 13 19 19 — 75

Crook County 18 10 13 7 — 48

Three-point goals — Mountain View: Holly 2,

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