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Tournament canceled almost immediately after Cowboys' win in consolation round

LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Caleb Arnold puts up a shot for the Cowboys in their 72-50 win over West Albany in consolation action Thursday morning. Arnold scored 18 points. Thursday's win was the first state tournament victory in the history of Crook County boys basketball. The tourney was canceled following the game due to novel cornonavirus precautions. The Crook County Cowboys came back from a loss in the state quarterfinals Wednesday to overwhelm West Albany 72-50 in the consolation semifinals at the OSAA Class 5A State Basketball Championships Thursday morning, March 12.

"I was really pleased with how we played, especially in the second quarter," Crook County head coach Jason Mumm said. "We stretched our lead, played really well. We did a really good job. We are excited. We are going to be ready to go tomorrow, whoever we play, we are going to be ready. We know both teams."

Unfortunately for the Cowboys — and all the teams and prep basketball fans — the tournament was canceled after the Crook County-West Albany game because of novel coronavirus concerns.

With only a handful of school officials from both teams and a small number of media present, the game at times felt more like a summer league contest instead of a state tournament game. But the Cowboys came out ready to compete and jumped out to an early 8-2 lead. They would never look back, leading the entire game.

West Albany made a run late in the first quarter to close to within 16-15 at the end of the period. However, from that point on, it was all Cowboys.

Crook County outscored West Albany 23-8 in the second quarter as they extended their lead to 39-23 at halftime. The Cowboys continued to control the tempo in the third quarter, outscoring the Bulldogs 18-10 to open a 57-33 lead by the end of the period.

The Cowboys increased the lead to a whopping 29 points at 62-33 early in the fourth quarter before starting to sub additional players into the game.

West Albany went to a full court press late in the game against Crook County's substitutes, cutting the lead to 18 at one time. But in the end, it was all Crook County as the Cowboys took the easy win.

Kevin Sanchez led all scorers with 24 points, while Caleb Arnold had 18 and Cayden Lowenbach 13. T.J. Zimmermann led West Albany in scoring with 18 points, while Luke Killinger and Koby Ruiz were also in double figures with 13 and 10 points, respectively.

The game was played without spectators by order of Gov. Kate Brown, who signed an executive order late Wednesday banning gatherings of 250 or more people.

Immediately following the game, it was announced that the 5A tournament has been suspended until further notice as no further games will be allowed at Oregon State.

The game ended a magical year for the Cowboys and first-year coach Mumm. It marked Crook County's first trip to the boys state tournament since 1948. Crook County ended the memorable season with a win at the tournament and the Intermountain Conference co-championship shared with Pendleton.

Crook County 72, West Albany 50 Crook County  16  23  18  15 – 72 West Albany  15  8  10  17 – 50 Crook County (72) – Kevin Sanchez 24, Arnold 18, Lowenbach 13, Graydon 7, J. Sanchez 5, Nunez 3, H. Smith 2, Engstrom, Ramirez, Pickhardt, Ross, T. Smith. Totals: 29, 4-7, 72. West Albany (50) – T.J. Zimmermann 18, Killinger 13, Ruiz 10, Wittier 2, Stanaway 2, Henderson 2, Carmichael 1, Reese, Cale. Totals: 20  9-14  50. Three-point goals – Crook County: K. Sanchez 2, Arnold 2, Graydon, J. Sanchez, Lowenbach. West Albany: Ruiz.


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