Crook County scores just 13 points in the second half of blowout loss to Pendleton

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Thaiden Mullan goes around the defense of Pendleton's Chauncey Sams during the first half of Crook County's loss to the Buckaroos on Thursday. Mullan led the Cowboys in scoring with 16 points. The Crook County Cowboys played possibly their worst game of the year on Thursday.

Needing a win to keep pace in the playoff race, the Cowboys fell behind early and never recovered as they were blasted 68-43 by the visiting Pendleton Buckaroos.

"Unfortunately we came out flat in the first quarter," Crook County head coach Darin Kessi said.

The Cowboys never led in the game, as they fell behind early.

Pendleton took the opening tip and scored almost immediately as Dakota Sams hit a long-range three pointer.

A Cayden Lowenbach offensive rebound and score made it 3-2 Pendleton. However, the remainder of the first quarter was all Pendleton.

The Buckaroos outscored Crook County 25-6 in the period, taking a seemingly insurmountable lead.

However, the Cowboys battled back, playing one of their best quarters of basketball all year.

After turning the ball over 10 times in the first quarter against the Buckaroo press, Crook County took better care of the ball in the second quarter and slowly worked their way back into the game.

A pair of Thaiden Mullan three-pointers made it 25-12. A bucket by Kevin Sanchez closed the Cowboys to within 11 at 25-14.

With the Cowboys committing just one turnover in the period and playing tough defense on Pendleton, Crook County got back into the game.

A Mullan basket made the score 33-28 with under 30 seconds left in the half.

Pendleton attempted to hold the ball for the last shot of the half. However, Shane Kessi stole the ball, and passed to a streaking Sanchez, who made a layup just before time expired.

Trailing 33-30 at the half the Cowboys were back in the game.

"I think they did a great job of fighting back," Coach Kessi said. "I thought we had gotten the momentum. Then we came out without that sense of urgency to start the third quarter."

Pendleton scored the first 11 points of the second half, and Crook County never recovered.

The Buckaroos outscored the Cowboys 24-5 in the third quarter, then continued to expand their lead in the fourth.

"Pendleton did a good job of staying tough and answering that run we had," Kessi said.

Pendleton led 68-38 before the Cowboys scored five points in the final minute of the contest to make the final score look closer than it really was.

The Cowboys committed 23 turnovers in the contest with many leading to easy Pendleton buckets.

"We would get through the press," Kessi said. "It wasn't like it was intense pressure. It was just bad decisions, bad passes. Instead of being more disciplined and more fundamental it was like we panicked a little bit."

Pendleton post Tyler Newsom led all scorers with 27 points, many coming on offensive rebounds.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kevin Sanchez goes up for two of his eight points during the Cowboys' 68-43 loss to Pendleton Thursday evening. Crook County trailed by just three points at halftime, but couldn't keep pace  in the second half. "I think that we were trying to contest too much on the shot sometimes," Kessi said. "Then, we were not in position. And we weren't being aggressive enough on the defensive box outs. Newsome is 6-4, athletic, and can jump over the top of people and we just didn't box him out."

Two other Buckaroos were also in double figures in the game. Sams finished with 16 points, while Redmond O'Hanlon added 10, most coming inside the paint.

Mullan was the lone Cowboy in double figures with 16. However, he had just four points in the second half.

Sanchez added eight points for Crook County, while Kessi added six and Dominic Langley came off the bench to score five, all in the fourth quarter.

With the loss the Cowboys fell to 9-11 overall and 1-5 in conference play.

Meanwhile, Pendleton improved to 14-5 overall and 4-1 in conference.

After a promising start where they were 5-2, the Cowboys have struggled in the middle of the season.

Once ranked as high as first in the OSAA power rankings, Crook County has slipped to 20th. The Cowboys have lost six of their last seven games and are in danger of being eliminated from post season play.

The Cowboys go on the road tonight to take on The Dalles, 8-9, 2-2, in a must-win contest. If they lose tonight Crook County will effectively be eliminated from any chance of reaching the playoffs.

"The Dalles is an absolute must-win now," Kessi said. "We have to go up there and we have to put a complete game together. We have got to go on a run, which we have the capability to do. We are just not being consistent."

Pendleton 68, Crook County 43

Thursday, February 7

At Crook County

Pendleton 25 8 24 11 — 68

Crook County 6 24 5 8 — 43

Pendleton – Tyler Newsome 27, D. Sams 16, O'Hanlon 10, Broncheau 5, Sweek 5, Sandford 5, Roberts, Begay, C. Sams, Murray. Totals: 28 6-15 68.

Crook County – Thaiden Mullan 16, Sanchez 8, Kessi 6, Langley 5, Graydon 3, Bishop 2, Chaney 2, Lowenbach 1, Humeston, Smith, Arnold, Ramirez. Totals: 15 6-10 43.

Three-point goals – Pendleton: D. Sams 4, Broncheau, Sandford. Crook County: Mullan 3, Kessi, Graydon, Sanchez, Langley.

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