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Crook County falls to 13th in power rankings despite win pushing their record to 8-4

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Crook County High School boys basketball coach Jason Mumm.The Crook County Cowboys closed out their nonleague basketball season with a 74-60 victory over the Class 4A Cottage Grove Lions.

The homestanding Lions hung with the Cowboys for much of the contest, but in the end, Crook County's balanced scoring proved to be too much for the Lions.

"We were good offensively, but they broke us down off the dribble too much," said Crook County head coach Jason Mumm. "They played us really tough, though, so a lot of credit goes to them for their effort and the intensity they played with."

The two teams traded baskets in a fast-paced first quarter with no one able to gain an advantage.

Tied 15-15 heading into the second quarter, the teams again traded baskets for much of the second period. Crook County took a tenuous 37-33 lead into the locker room at the half, after scoring 22 points in the quarter.

Crook County continued to score at will in the third quarter as the Cowboys slowly opened up a nine-point lead.

Leading 57-48 heading into the final period, the Cowboys looked like they had the momentum.

However, Cottage Grove aggressively attacked the basket, earning trips to the free throw line and keeping the game close.

The Cowboys finally put the game away with a late surge and were able to empty their bench for the final minute of the contest.

Starting point guard Jesse Sanchez is still out with an injury and is not expected to rejoin the team until late in the month. However, Mumm said that did not hurt the Cowboys offensively.

"You could tell that we missed him with our depth, but scoring-wise, we had guys pick up the slack," he said. "So honestly it didn't hurt us much."

Crook County outscored Cottage Grove 63-42 from the floor. However, the Lions shot 29 free throws, converting 18, while Crook County shot just 14 free throws in the contest.

The Cowboys shot well from the line, however, hitting 11 free throws for 78% shooting.

The Cowboys were led by Kevin Sanchez and Cayden Lowenbach, who each knocked down 20 points. Cowboy post Caleb Arnold once again had a solid game, scoring 17, while Jordan Graydon finished with seven and Hogan Smith six.

Jayden Cameron led the Lions with 23, while Landon Colburn was also in double figures with 18.

With the win, the Cowboys improved to 8-4 on the year, while Cottage Grove fell to 4-9. Despite winning the game, the Cowboys fell from eighth to 13th in the OSAA power rankings.

Crook County does not play again until Friday, Jan. 17, when they go on the road to take on The Dalles Riverhawks, 3-7, in a 6:30 p.m. game.

"We have to sharpen up offensively," Mumm said of the Cowboys' preparation for the Intermountain Conference opener. "We've got to work on our defense, and we just have got to continue to do what we do, which is push the tempo, knock down open shots and then get stops on defense."

Crook County 74, Cottage Grove 60

Crook County 15 22 20 17 — 74

Cottage Grove 15 18 15 13 — 60

Crook County (74 ) — Kevin Sanchez 20, Cayden Lowenbach 20, Arnold 17, Graydon 7, H. Smith 6, Ramirez 4, Nunez, Engstrom, Pickhardt, Reed, Smith. Totals: 27 11-14 74.

Cottage Grove (60) — Jayden Cameron 23, Colburn 18, Anlauf 9, Berry 5, Bascue 5, Murphy, Kishen, Humphreys, Underwood Thielke. Totals: 18 18-29 60.

Three-point goals — Crook County: Sanchez 4, Lowenbach 3, H. Smith 2. Cottage Grove: Colburn 3, Cameron 2, Anlauf.

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