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Cowboys make 23 of 27 free throws in narrow road victory over the Estacada Rangers

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Thaiden Mullan goes to the hoop during a game earlier this year. Mullan and Cayden Lowenbach each scored 13 points on Saturday to lead the Cowboys to a 54-51 victory over the Estacada Rangers.The Crook County Cowboys looked rusty for much of their Saturday night basketball game against the Estacada Rangers but did just enough to win as they edged the host Rangers 54-51.

"We definitely weren't firing on all cylinders the whole game," said Crook County head coach Darin Kessi. "But we made our free throws, and defensively, we really buckled down in the second half."

The Cowboys were an impressive 23-for-27 from the free throw line in the contest, and that proved to be the difference as the Rangers were just 3-for-9 from the foul line.

The Cowboys led 12-7 at the end of one period, but a sluggish second quarter from Crook County gave Estacada a 25-24 halftime lead.

The Cowboys took control in the third quarter, outscoring the Rangers 13-7 as they opened up a 37-32 lead.

Crook County pushed their lead to eight points early in the fourth, but the Rangers battled back, closing to within a point late in the quarter.

However, the Cowboys made their free throws down the stretch as they held on for the win.

"They knocked down a couple of shots, and we had a couple of turnovers late," Kessi said. "We looked like we hadn't played in a couple of weeks, but we had a good defensive stand when we needed it."

Cayden Lowenbach and Thaiden Mullen led the Cowboys with 13 points apiece, while Kaleb Savage added nine, Shane Kessi eight, and Kevin Sanchez seven.

Cody Syring led the Rangers with 20 points, while Domingo Telles finished with 11.

With the win, the Cowboys improved to 8-5 on the year, while the Rangers fell to 2-10.

Still, Kessi was impressed with what he saw from Estacada.

"They are going to win some games in the Tri-Valley League," he said. "They are solid, and they are really tough at home."

Next up for the Cowboys is a home game against Cottage Grove tonight with game time set for 5:30 p.m.

It will be just the second home game for Crook County so far this year.

The team will be at home again on Friday when they open the Intermountain Conference season with a 6:30 p.m. game against The Dalles, 4-7.

Crook County 54, Estacada 51

Saturday, January 5

Crook County 12 12 13 17 — 54

Estacada 7 18 7 19 — 51

Crook County – Thaiden Mullan 13, Cayden Lowenbach 13, Savage 9, Kessi 8, K. Sanchez 7, Graydon 4, J. Sanchez, Langley, Bishop. Totals: 13 23-27 54.

Estacada – Cody Syring 20, Telles 11, Keller 8, Hagel 6, Dryden 6, McDonald, Snyder, Crombie, Lang. Totals: 21 3-9 51.

Three-point goals – Crook County: Mullan 2, Lowenbach, Savage, K. Sanchez. Estacada: Syring 5, Dryden.

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