Crook County Uses Strong Defense To Roll Past Ridgeview
The Crook County Cowboys showed that they were the better team Friday night as they rolled past the Ridgeview Ravens 60-28.
Playing in front of the home crowd on senior night the Cowboys looked sluggish early in the game, but as time wore on they became dominant on defense, holding the Ravens to just six points in the second and third quarter combined as they cruised to the easy win.
"We were really good on defense" Crook County head coach Jason Mumm said. "We were consistent. We flew around. They were patient on offense, and they got some offensive rebounds. They worked the ball around, but for the most part we played stretches of really really good defense."
Starting four seniors, including Garret Bernard, who played just the first possession of the game as he rehabs from a serious knee injury the Cowboys got off to a quick start, scoring the first five points of the game. However, for the remainder of the first quarter the two teams traded baskets and when Nolan Conroyd made a running three-point shot from 25 feet to end the first quarter the two teams were tied 12-12.
However, the remainder of the game was all Crook County. The Cowboys led just 21-16 with 2:38 remaining in the first half. After a Cowboy timeout Crook County ran an inbounds play that resulted in Caleb Arnold getting an easy layup. The Cowboys then scored the final two points of the half to lead 25-16 at the buzzer.
Ridgeview did not score again until there were less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter as the Cowboys outscored the Ravens 11-2 in the third quarter.
Crook County was even better offensively in the fourth quarter as they exploded for 24 points in the period. The Cowboys extended their lead to 51-22 before they began to substitute.
Ridgeview scored eight points in the game's final four minutes, but it didn't matter as the Cowboys had already won the game.
Things turned tense late in the fourth quarter as the two teams nearly got into a fight near the Ridgeview bench. Crook County's Trevyn Smith was called for a technical foul on the play, as was the Ridgeview bench.
"It's just an emotional game and our guys play hard and they play hard," Mumm said. "We play with a lot of emotion which helps us, and they play with a lot of emotion which helps them. It got a little bit out of control, but we reeled it back in and we finished the game."
Conroyd scored 15 points to lead the Ravens. However, no other Raven had more than four points, while the Cowboys had five players score seven points or more.
Cayden Lowenbach led the Cowboys with 15 points, Kevin Sanchez added 11 points and five assists, while Caleb Arnold scored nine, Jrei Ramirez eight and Jordan Graydon seven.
"Our defense was solid, and we proved we were the better team," Graydon said. "They couldn't make very many buckets on us and it resulted in us scoring offensively."
Ramirez agreed that it was Crook County's defense that led to most of the Cowboys' scoring.
"When we have a game where we can't get going on offense, we have to rely on our defense to get us going," he said. "We just stayed persistent we had it in our minds that we weren't going to let up we were going to play with the same intensity the whole game."
One of the keys to the Cowboy defensive effort was their ability to block shots. Crook County finished with eight blocks in the game including three by Lowenbach and three by Kevin Sanchez.
Lowenbach led all players in rebounding with eight, while Kevin Sanchez pulled down seven and Arnold snared six boards.
No Raven had more than five rebounds in the game.
Mumm noted that not only was he pleased with how well his team played, he was also excited about the standing room only crowd.
"It was great," he said. "I loved the atmosphere. I wish it could be like that all the time. For the past couple games it has been like that and our fans are great and Ridgeview traveled well and there were student sections on both sides. Iit was packed that's what high school basketball is all about."
With the win the Cowboys improved to 7-2 in conference play and 15-6 overall, while Ridgeview fell to 1-8 in conference play and 4-18 overall. Perhaps even more important for the Cowboys is that they moved up to 10th in the latest OSAA power rankings. Both Pendleton and Redmond also won on Friday, leaving the Cowboys in a tie for first place in the Intermountain Conference with Pendleton, while Redmond is one game back.
The Cowboys close out the regular season on Tuesday as they travel to Redmond, 13-10, 6-3, for a 7:45 p.m. contest. Regardless of the outcome the Cowboys will finish second in the IMC unless Pendleton loses their final game of the season. That's because the league's tiebreaker is who is highest in the power rankings and the Buckaroos are ranked seventh, while Redmond is just 18th.
Still, there is a lot on the line on Tuesday, as a share of the conference championship would be something the Cowboys have not earned in the last 40 plus years.
In addition, a win could vault the Cowboys even higher in the power rankings, improving who they would play in the opening round of the playoffs.
"We are in it (the playoffs) for the first time in a long time and we are excited to do big things," Ramirez said.
"We are taking it one game at a time, but it is exciting to know that we are going to get deep into the post season," Graydon added.
Crook County 60, Ridgeview 28
Friday, February 21
At Crook County
Ridgeview 12 4 2 10 — 28
Crook County 12 13 11 24 — 60
Ridgeview (28) — Nolan Conroyd 15, Carpenter 5, Schwartz 4, Edmondson 2, Benz 2, Johnson, Millington. Totals: 11 5-10 28.
Crook County (60) —Cayden Lowenbach 15, K. Sanchez 11, Arnold 9, Ramirez 8, Graydon 7, J. Sanchez 3, Nunez 3, Reed 2, H. Smith 1, T. Smith 1, Bernard, Pickhardt, Engstrom. Totals: 21 10-13 60.
Three-point goals — Ridgeview: Conroyd. Crook County: K. Sanchez 3, Ramirez 2, Nunez, J. Sanchez, Graydon.
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