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Crook County defeats La Salle Prep, then falls to the host Marshfield Pirates in semifinals before rebounding to whip North Bend in third-place contest

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kevin Sanchez looks to shoot at a game earlier this year. Sanchez scored 51 points in three games as the Cowboys went 2-1 at the Marshfield Les Schwab South Coast Classic this past weekend. The Crook County Cowboys continued their up-and-down season this weekend with a third-place finish at the Marshfield Les Schwab South Coast Basketball Tournament.

Crook County edged La Salle Prep in the opening round of the tournament, 50-40, despite not having their best shooting game.

Then, in the semifinals, the Cowboys had a one-point lead heading into the fourth quarter of their game with Marshfield, before the Pirates scored 29 fourth-quarter points en route to a 59-44 victory over the Cowboys.

Crook County then dominated North Bend in the third-place game, scoring 23 points in the second quarter as they pulled away for a 61-38 victory.

"It was good for our first road test," Crook County Head Coach Jason Mumm said of the tournament. "We learned a lot about who we are., so it was a good learning experience for us."

La Salle Prep slowed the tempo down in the opening round of the tournament, running time off the clock whenever possible. The Eagles mixed up their defenses, utilizing both man-to-man and zone pressure on the Cowboys.

Mumm noted that it was the first time all year that the Cowboys had seen a zone defense and that they initially struggled against the zone.

Still, Crook County was able to hold a lead throughout the contest.

The Cowboys led 9-8 after one quarter and extended their lead to 27-19 at the half.

La Salle tried to rally in the third quarter, however, Crook County still led 36-29 heading into the final frame.

From there, the Cowboys did just enough to hold onto their lead, as they gradually stretched their lead to 10 points by the end of the game.

Mumm said that the Cowboys didn't shoot well from the field in the game. However, Crook County shot well from the free throw line, going 9-10 in the contest, including 5-6 in the fourth quarter.

Cayden Lowenbach led the Crook County offensive attack with 14 points, while Kevin Sanchez was also in double-figures with 13. Caleb Arnold also had a solid game, finishing with nine.

Nic Boyd was the lone Eagle in double-figures with 14 points.

The win put the Cowboys into the semifinals against the host Marshfield Pirates.

Marshfield played a zone the entire contest, and the Cowboys struggled to find their way offensively.

"We haven't seen a lot of zone yet this season, and they shut down our inside game with their zone," Mumm said. "I think we only had five two-pointers in the game, and we missed a lot of open shots too. They are pretty scrappy, and they got after it. They flew around in their zone, which made it difficult for us."

Marshfield took a 11-9 lead at the end of the first quarter, then held Crook County to just five points in the second quarter as they took a 22-14 lead into the locker room at the half.

Crook County made some adjustments at halftime, and came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Pirates 17-8 to take a 31-30 lead heading into the fourth quarter.

Marshfield responded with a 7-0 run in the first minute of the fourth quarter to once again take control of the game.

With the Cowboys in foul trouble, and the Pirates parading to the free throw line, Marshfield continued to pull away, stretching their lead to 14 points by the end of the contest.

Marshfield went 18-24 from the free throw line in the game, while the Cowboys were just 4-4. The Pirates went to the free throw line 15 times in the fourth quarter, hitting 13 as they pulled away for the easy win.

Still, Mumm was pleased that Crook County was able to battle back in the third quarter despite not shooting well during the contest.

"That's one thing that our team always does," he said. "It doesn't matter if we are up 20 or down 20, we are going to play the way that we play. So far this year, we have battled back in games and we have extended leads in games. It's a testament to our kids never giving up and just fighting."

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Hogan Smith was singled out by head coach Jason Mumm for his defense this past weekend during the three-day Marshfield Les Schwab South Coast Basketball Tournament. The Cowboys went 2-1 at the tournament, finishing in third place. Kevin Sanchez was the lone Cowboy in double-figures with 17, while Jesse Sanchez finished with nine. Hogan Smith and Lowenbach each added six.

Marshfield had three players in double-figures including Mason Ainsworth with 18, Dominic Montiel with 12 and Landon Ginn-Forsberg who finished with 11 points.

According to Mumm, the Cowboys played much better on Saturday as they led the entire game against North Bend.

The Cowboys led 13-5 at the end of one quarter, then exploded for 23 points in the second period as they extended their lead to 36-15 at the break. From their Crook County played their entire roster as they cruised to the easy win.

"We didn't shoot the ball so well the first two nights," Mumm said, "but we played much better today. We hadn't seen a lot of zone yet, so we struggled a little bit early on the first two nights with that. But they played a zone today and we handled it really well. We got to learn a lot about playing against a zone over here."

The Cowboys knocked down 13 three-pointers in the contest, including five by Sanchez and two each from Jrei Ramirez and Abel Nunez.

Once again, Sanchez led the Cowboys in scoring with 21, while Caleb Arnold rebounded from a scoreless game against Marshfield to knock down nine against the Bulldogs.

Lowenbach added seven points, while Jordan Graydon, who also didn't score against Marshfield, knocked down six points against North Bend. Ramirez and Nunez also each finished with six points.

North Bend was led by Garrison Mateski, who finished with 10 points.

"I think if you look at the book that Kevin Sanchez led us offensively, he got the numbers," Mumm said. "He played pretty well, and Hogan Smith was really good defensively."

After going 2-1 on the weekend, the Cowboys have improved their record to 5-3 on the season and perhaps even more importantly have moved up to seventh in the Class 5A OSAA power rankings.

Things don't get any easier for the Cowboys in the week ahead.

After taking a short break for Christmas, the team is back in action for the three-day Summit Oregon Hoopfest.

Mumm says that the tournament, which is filled with mostly Class 6A schools, will be a good test for the Cowboys.

"We have another test coming up right after Christmas at Summit," he said. "Those teams we play there are going to be really good again, so we are going to get tested just like we did this weekend."

Crook County opens the tournament Friday against Grants Pass (5-3 and ranked 15th in Class 6A) with the game scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Bend High School. The winner of Friday's game will play the winner of West Valley, Washington and McKay (0-5) game Saturday at 4 p.m. at Summit High School, while the loser will face the loser of West Valley and McKay at 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Bend.

The tournament continues on Sunday with the championship game set to begin at 1:15 p.m. at Summit High School.

"We will see how we do at Summit, but I am happy with where we are right now," Mumm said. "We just have to continue to improve, continue to bet better."

Crook County 50, La Salle Prep 40

Thursday, December 19

At Marshfield Les Schwab South Coast Basketball Tournament

Crook County 9 18 9 14 — 50

La Salle Prep 8 11 10 11 — 40

Crook County (50) — Cayden Lowenbach 14, K. Sanchez 13, Arnold 9, Graydon 5, J. Sanchez 4, Nunez 3, Smith 2, Ramirez. Totals: 18 9-10.

La Salle Prep (40) — Nic Boyd 14, Nick Robertson 6, Ian Simmons 6, Liam Crowley 4, Rosumny 4, Owens 4, O'Brien 2, Taylor, Peterson, Edeline, Frick, Hortaleza. Totals: 15 4-6 40.

Three-point goals — Crook County: Lowenbach 2, K. Sanchez, Graydon, Nunez. La Salle Prep: Simons 2, Robertson 2, Boyd 2.

Marshfield 59, Crook County 44

Friday, December 20

At Marshfield Les Schwab South Coast Basketball Tournament

Crook County 9 5 17 13 — 44

Marshfield 11 11 8 29 — 59

Crook County (44) — Kevin Sanchez 17, J. Sanchez 9, Lowenbach 6, Smith 6, Nunez 3, Ramirez 3, Arnold, Graydon. Totals: 14 4-4 44.

Marshfield (59) — Mason Ainsworth 18, Montiel 12, Ginn-Fosburg 11, Swinson 6, Niblett 6, Jimenez, Daugherty, Weatherston, Waterman, Mahaffy. Totals: 19 18-24 59.

Three-point goals — Crook County: J. Sanchez 3, K. Sanchez 2, Smith 2, Ramirez, Nunez. Marshfield: Ainsworth 2, Swinson.

Crook County 61, North Bend 37

Saturday, December 21

At Marshfield Les Schwab South Coast Basketball Tournament

Crook County 13 23 11 14 — 61

North Bend 5 10 9 14 — 37

Crook County (61) — Kevin Sanchez 21, Arnold 9, Lowenbach 7, Ramirez 6, Graydon 6, Nunez 6, J. Sanchez 3, Smith 3, Engstrom, Pickhardt, Reed, Ross. Totals: 21 6-9 61.

North Bend (37) — Garrison Mateski 10, Martin 8, Byers 7, Porter 4, Burgmeir 4, Reasor 2, M. Mateski 1, Spencer. Totals: 14 7-15 37.

Three-point goals — Crook County: K. Sanchez 5, Ramirez 2, Nunez 2, Lowenbach, J. Sanchez, Smith, Arnold. North Bend: Martin 2, G. Mateski.

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