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Crook County rebounds from loss to Grants Pass to roll past McKay and Juanita, Washington

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kevin Sanchez goes to the basket for two of his game-high 18 points against Grants Pass Friday afternoon in Bend. Grants Pass won the game, however, the Cowboys came back to win their next two contests to finish in fourth place in their division of the three-day tournament.The Crook County Cowboys played one bad quarter during the Oregon Holiday Hoopfest and were left wondering what if.

After falling behind early to Grants Pass in the opening round of the tournament, the Cowboys rallied to make the final score close as they fell 64-53 to the Cavemen Friday afternoon at Bend Senior High.

Saturday and Sunday were another story as the Cowboys crushed McKay 77-35 Saturday, also at Bend, then steamrolled Juanita, Washington, 68-35 Sunday morning at Summit High School.

The 2-1 record left the Cowboys in fourth place in the Summit division of the tournament.

"If we take away that first quarter, we aren't playing at this time," Crook County head coach Jason Mumm said early Sunday morning. "We are playing at a later time, but it's always good to play some good teams and work on our stuff and just get after it."

Friday afternoon the Cowboys and Cavemen were tied 4-4 early in the first quarter before Grants Pass went on a tear.

The Cavemen outscored the Cowboys 22-5 the remainder of the quarter as they used an aggressive full-court press, relentless rebounding, and a lightning quick fast break to roll out to a 26-9 first quarter lead.

After the initial onslaught, the Cowboys settled down and outscored the Cavemen the remainder of the game.

Crook County scored 17 points in the second quarter, while holding Grants Pass to 12 as the Cowboys slowly got back into the contest.

Still, the Cowboys were trailing 38-27 at the half.

Three successive turnovers to start the third quarter left the Cowboys down 43-27.

However, after a timeout, Crook County regained their composure as the two teams traded baskets the remainder of the period.

Trailing 54-37 heading into the final quarter, the Cowboys found a way to make the game interesting.

After giving up an early three to the Cavemen Crook County held Grants Pass to just one more field goal in the period.

Trailing 62-47 with just over a minute left, the Cowboys made a furious rally.

Kevin Sanchez hit a three to make the score 62-50. A steal by Jordan Graydon and another three-pointer from Sanchez made the score 62-53.

A Grants Pass turnover gave the Cowboys a chance to get even closer, but Jrei Ramirez was blocked by Cade Ealy as he attempted to shoot a fast break layup. In the ensuing rush for the ball, the Cowboys fouled Tyson Dixon, who made both ends of a one and one as the Cavemen held on for the win.

Sanchez led all scorers with 18, while Cayden Lowenbach was also in double figures for the Cowboys with 11. Caleb Arnold also had a solid game, chipping in with eight points.

Grants Pass was led by Tyson Dixon with 14 and Cade Anderson with 12.

Lowenbach had 10 rebounds for the Cowboys, while Arnold had seven and Sanchez five.

Ealy led the Cavemen in rebounding with seven while Dixon pulled down six.

"We have to play four quarters of basketball," Lowenbach said. "We can't just play three or we end up loing to good teams."

The Cavemen, 7-4, then lost to the eventual champion West Valley Eagles out of Northern California. West Valley went on to win the division championship, while Grants Pass finished third.LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Caleb Arnold goes up for two of his 26 points during the Cowboys' 77-35 victory over McKay Saturday afternoon in Bend. After falling 64-53 to Grants Pass on Friday, Crook County defeated McKay Saturday, then rolled past Juanita, Washington, 68-35 Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys jumped all over McKay in Saturday in the first round of consolation play.

After falling behind 2-0 to start the game, the Cowboys went on a tear, outscoring the Royal Scotts 23-4 the remainder of the period.

The Cowboys ran their press to perfection in the period as the pressure generated several McKay turnovers, which led to easy Crook County baskets.

The Cowboys stopped pressing in the second quarter but continued to extend their lead. McKay scored just two points in the quarter, both on free throws, as the Cowboys outscored the Royal Scotts 24-2 in the quarter to take a 47-8 lead into the locker room at the half.

Crook County did not play with the same intensity starting the third quarter, and the Royal Scotts took advantage.

McKay scored the first four points of the quarter before the Cowboys settled down.

"We took a little break in the third quarter Saturday, but we came back and we got it back together," Lowenbach said. "It doesn't seem to matter as much when you are up by 40."

McKay outscored the Cowboys 16-11 in the quarter, but Crook County still held onto an insurmountable 60-24 lead.

Crook County then outscored McKay 18-11 in the final period as they pulled away to win by 42.

The only blip in the game for Crook County was that Jesse Sanchez went down with an injury early in the fourth quarter and did not return to the game.

Sanchez did not accompany the team to Sunday's game, and is reportedly out for as much as a month before he will be able to return.

Arnold had a career scoring high in the game, knocking down 26, while also pulling down 10 rebounds. Kevin Sanchez had another outstanding game, scoring 25, while snaring seven rebounds.

Ramirez, Hogan Smith and Graydon each scored six in the win, while Lowenbach led all rebounders with 13.

McKay was led by Cole Casmay with eight and Elijah Hectocta with seven.

Despite not having Jesse Sanchez to direct the Cowboy offense on Sunday, the Cowboys cruised out to a big early lead.

Consecutive threes by Lowenbach and Kevin Sanchez gave Crook County a 10-0 lead with just under four minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

However, the Cowboys went cold late in the period as the Juanita Rebels from Kirkland, Washington, outscored the Cowboys 7-2 to close out the quarter.

The Cowboys went to a full-court press to start the second quarter and the strategy worked as Crook County outscored the Rebels 23-9 in the period to open up a 35-16 halftime lead.

Once again, Crook County started slowly early in the third quarter, but a timeout and increased defensive pressure got the Cowboys going again as they outscored the Rebles 18-13 in the period to extend their lead to 53-39.

Playing their entire bench, the Cowboys still outscored the Rebels 17-6 in the final quarter as they rolled to the easy 33-point win.

"We talked at halftime about how we can't come out flat like we did yesterday," Lowenbach said. "And I think we did that. We definitely learned a lot at this tournament, and we learned that we have to play four quarters. I think it was a good tournament and a good learning experience."

Once again, Sanchez led the Cowboys with 21, while Lowenbach added 17 and Arnold finished with 10. Juanita was led by Ben Taylor with 14 and Beckham Lie with 11.

In addition to his 17 points,Lowenbach also led all players in rebounding with 11, while Graydon pulled down eight and Sanchez six. Jordan Tate led Juanita in rebounding with nine, however, no other Rebel had more than three rebounds as the Cowboys outrebounded Juanita 37-23 in the contest.

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Cayden Lowenbach goes up for a basket against the Juanita Rebels on Sunday. Lowenbach scored 17 points in the game as the Cowboys rolled to an easy 68-35 win over the Rebels."The press gets us going," Mumm said. "We start rolling and we start knocking down some shots in transition. Our press gives us opportunities that we don't get if we don't run it."

Mumm added that he was pleased with how well the team shared the ball during the tournament.

"That's kind of been these guys deal for as long as I've been coaching them," he said. "They share the ball really well. It doesn't matter who's open, they are passing it to him, which makes us hard to guard. We finished off the tournament strong. Other than that, first quarter on Friday we played pretty well."

The Mountain View division of the tournament was won by Sheldon, which defeated Pendleton in the championship round.

Crook County, 7-4, does not play again until Tuesday, Jan. 7, when they travel to Cottage Grove, 4-7, for a 7:15 p.m. game.

The Cowboys then have 10 days off before opening the Intermountain Conference season on Friday, Jan. 17 at The Dalles, 3-7.

Grants Pass 64, Crook County 53

Friday, December 27

At Oregon Holiday Hoopfest

Grants Pass 26 12 16 10 — 64

Crook County 9 17 11 16 — 53

Grants Pass (64) — Justin Farris 14, Anderson 12, Alderson 9, Law 8, Ealy 7, Coyle 5, Dixon 4, Maravilla, Amaral. Totals: 21 12-21 64.

Crook County (53) — Kevin Sanchez 18, Lowenbach 11, Arnold 8, Ramirez 5, Smith 4, Graydon 4, J. Sanchez 3. Totals: 21 3-3 53.

Three-point goals — Grants Pass: Farris 3, Alderson 3, Law 2, C. Anderson, Ealy. Crook County: K. Sanchez 4, Lowenbach 2, J. Sanchez, Ramirez.

Crook County 77, McKay 35

Saturday, December 28

At Oregon Holiday Hoopfest

Crook County 23 24 13 18 — 77

McKay 6 2 16 11 — 35

Crook County (77) — Caleb Arnold 26, K. Sanchez 25, Ramirez 6, Smith 6, Graydon 6, Lowenbach 4, Nunez 3, J. Sanchez 2, Pickhardt. Totals: 29 12-10 77.

McKay (35) — Cole Casmay 8, Hectocta 7, Byrd 6, Miller 4, Chokai 3, Sterling 2, Brady 2, Tenoria 2, Mendez 1, Lee, Enlet, Coburn. Totals: 12 9-17 35.

Three-point goals — Crook County: K. Sanchez 4, Arnold 2, Smith 2, Nunez, J. Sanchez.

Crook County 68, Juanita 35

Sunday, December 29

At Oregon Holiday Hoopfest

Crook County 12 23 18 17 — 68

Juanita 7 9 13 6 — 35

Crook County (68) — Kevin Sanchez 21, Lowenbach 17, Arnold 10, Nunez 6, Smith 5, Reed 5, Graydon 4, Ramirez. Totals: 26 5-9 68.

Juanita (35) — Ben Taylor 14, Lie 11, Byrne 7, Tate 2, McLeod 1, Addo-Kufuor. Totals: 12 5-8 35.

Three-point goals — Crook County: Lowenbach 4, Snachez 3, Arnold 2. Juanita: Lie 3, Taylor 3.


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