Homestanding Cowboys hang on for two-point victory over 10th ranked Pendleton

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Cayden Lowenbach goes to the basket for two of his nine points as the Cowboys held on to defeat the Pendleton Buckaroos 67-65 Friday night in an Intermountain Conference boys basketball game.The Crook County Cowboys held on to win a hotly contested Intermountain Conference basketball game against the 10th ranked Pendleton Buckaroos Friday night in Prineville.

The 67-65 victory both team's league records at 1-1.

"That was a very important win," Crook County head coach Jason Mumm said following the game. "We would have put ourselves into a really big hole if we had gone down 0-2 in league, so this was a very important win for us to kind of keep pace with the other league teams."

The Cowboys had a five-point lead late in the fourth quarter, before a late Pendleton rally tied the game at 62-62.

However, the Cowboys showed poise down the stretch as they held on for a 67-65 win over the Buckaroos.

"I wasn't worried," Mumm said. "We work on execution every single day in practice. We work on situations. We play 3-minute games and every single situation that we were in today down the stretch we had practiced multiple times throughout the year. So, I have complete confidence in our guys to finish, make free throws, and take care of the basketball."

The two teams traded baskets three-point baskets in the opening quarter with Pendleton taking an 18-15 lead into the second period.

The Cowboys cranked their offense into high gear in the second quarter. With Abel Nunez and Kevin Sanchez both hitting a series of three-pointers the Cowboys knocked down 23 points in the quarter as they took a 38-33 lead into the half.

"We started off bad at in our last game at The LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Kevin Sanchez drives to the basket for two of his game-high 29 points Friday night against Pendleton.Dalles," Abel said. "So we needed a win bad to motivate ourselves and keep up the intensity."

The two teams continued to be hot offensively in the third quarter with both teams scoring 19 points as the Cowboys held a 57-52 lead heading into the final frame.

The Cowboys still led by five at 62-57 late in the game. However, Crook County struggled with turnovers down the stretch. The Cowboys committed just 12 turnovers in the game, compared to 13 for the Buckaroos, but eight of those 12 turnovers came in the fourth quarter.

The Buckaroos took advantage of a Crook County turnover to close to 62-59 on a basket by Tanner Sweek. On their ensuing possession the Cowboys turned the ball over again and Dakota Sams hit a long three-pointer to tie the game at 62-62 with just over a minute remaining in the contest.

The Cowboys answered when Jesse Sanchez, who has missed the last three games with an injury hit a three to give Crook County a 65-62 lead.

A Jesse Sanchez steal gave the Cowboys the ball back with just under 30 seconds to play and the Buckaroos were forced to foul.

Caleb Arnold went to the line and calmly sank a pair of free throws to give the Cowboys a 67-62 lead. However, the Buckaroos were not done fighting.

Sams hit another long-range bomb with 12 seconds remaining to bring the Buckaroos to within a bucket.

"It was like wow," Kevin Sanchez said of Sam's three. "But you have to keep your composure. That play is over so let's focus on the next play."

Pendleton fouled Kevin Sanchez on the ensuing in bounds giving the Cowboys another one-and-one opportunity. However, Sanchez missed the first free throw and Sams snared the rebound.

Pendleton quickly threw the ball up the court, but an errant pass gave the Cowboys the ball out of bounds on Pendleton's end of the court with 1.6 seconds remaining on the clock.

Crook County threw a long pass to Kevin Sanchez, who was wide open streaking down the court. Unfortunately, Sanchez tripped and fell, without touching the ball, so the Buckaroos had one last chance with the ball out of bounds under their own basket, still with 1.6 seconds on the clock.

Pendleton passed the ball to Sams, who launched another long three-pointer from the right wing. However, the ball bounced harmlessly off the back rim as the Cowboys held on for the win.

"We need to continue to get better because we still aren't where we need to be to win all of the games that are like that," Mumm said of the tight finish. "I thought man, that was a good high school basketball game. The intensity in the gym was high and the emotions were high on both sides and I thought both teams did a really good job of keeping their poise and making it a really good game."

Kevin Sanchez finished with a game-high 29 points. However, he failed to score in the fourth quarter. Arnold was also in double figures with 10 points, while Nunez and Lowenbach each finished with nine points.

Sams led Pendleton in scoring with 19, while Stockton Hoffman and Sweek were also in double figures with 14 and 12 points, respectively.

Kevin Sanchez and Lowenbach both pulled down seven rebounds for the Cowboys, while Arnold added four. Sams grabbed seven rebounds for the buckaroos, while Nic Sheley pulled down six and Sweek snared five.

The win improved the Cowboys overall record to 9-5, while Pendleton dropped to 10-4.

Crook County does not play again until Friday, Jan. 31 when the Cowboys take on Ridgeview, 3-12 overall and 0-2 in Intermountain Conference play in a 7:45 game.

Crook County 67, Pendleton 65 At Crook County Pendleton 18 15 19 13 – 65 Crook County 15 23 19 10 – 67 Pendleton (65) – Dakota Sams, 19. Hoffman 14, Sweek 12, C Sams 7, Maher 7, Sheley 4 Roberts 2. Totals: 25 6-8 65. Crook County (67) – Kevin Sanchez 29, Arnold 10, Lowenbach 9, Nunez 9, Smith 3, J. Sanchez 3, Graydon 2, Ramirez 2. Totals: 23 7-11 67. Three-point goals – Pendleton: D. Sams 5, Hoffman 2, C. Sams, Maher. Crook County: K. Sanchez 6, Nunez 3, Smith, J. Sanchez, Lowenbach.

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