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Toughest game so far for the Crook County High School team is a 16-point victory

LON AUSTIN - Kevin Sanchez squeezes past a group of Redmond defenders during the Cowboys' 64-48 win. Although it was a comfortable 16-point victory, it was the toughest game the Cowboys have had this season to date. The senior guard led Crook County with 21 points. He also hit for 14 in a 59-29 blowout over Pendleton on the road, a game which Caden Lowenbach led the Cowboys in scoring with 16.

Heading into Friday's showdown with the Hood River Valley Eagles, the Crook County High School boys basketball team remained undefeated.

The Cowboys blasted Pendleton 59-29 on the road Tuesday, then defeated Redmond 64-48 on Thursday to improve their Intermountain Conference record to 2-0 and 5-0 overall.

Crook County was in control from the start at Pendleton, rolling to an 18-4 lead at the end of one quarter and a 38-16 advantage after two. Crook County continued to extend their lead in the third quarter, outscoring the Buckaroos 19-8 in the period as they pushed their lead to 57-24.

With a new rule requiring running clock in the fourth quarter if one team is ahead by 30 points or more, the remainder of the game was played with a running clock. With the Cowboys going deep to their bench Pendleton outscored Crook County 5-2 in the period.

Cayden Lowenbach led the Cowboys in scoring with 16 points, while both Hogan Smith and Kevin Sanchez finished with 14 points. Jesse Sanchez added nine points for Crook County, while Ozzie Reed finished with six.

Pendleton was led by Easton Corey with seven points and Gauge Rueber with six.

"That's the best defense we have played so far this season," head coach Jason Mumm said Thursday prior to the start of Crook County's matchup with Redmond.

The game with Redmond was another story. Although the Cowboys ultimately won by 16 points, the game was much closer than the final score would indicate.

"That was a test for us," Mumm said. "They are really good defensively. They make open shots. They are tough. They are physical. They get in your face, and they don't go away. They battle the whole time. I mean, that's a state tournament team."

With both teams playing tough, physical defense, Crook County struggled to get on track early on, and trailed the Panthers 12-11 at the end of the first period. Redmond continued to lead throughout most of the second quarter, and took a 26-25 lead into the half.

"I thought our defense was really good tonight," Lowenbach said. "It was good stuff all around from everyone. But, we weren't making a whole lot of shots in the first half. We made shots in the second half."

With their offense going into high gear, the Cowboys outscored Redmond 19-8 in the third quarter to take command of the game. The Cowboys led 44-34 heading into the fourth quarter and continued to pull away as they outscored the Panthers 20-14 to close out the game.

Kevin Sanchez finished with 21 points to lead the Cowboys in scoring, while Lowenbach and Jesse Sanchez each scored 13. Smith chipped in with seven points, while Reed came off the bench to finish with five.

Redmond was led by Skylar Jones with 19. Charlie Rawlins, 12, and Garrett Osborne, 10, were also in double figures for the Panthers.

Despite Osborne getting 10 points, Mumm was especially pleased with how well Smith played defense on the Panther star.

"Defensively, we stepped up when we had to," Mumm said. "We did a great job. And, Hogan on Osborne was unreal. I don't know if he has ever had a guy play him like that before, so that was huge for us. We have been playing each other so we know what the other team is going to do. That's what you get when you are prepared. You get a tough defensive battle and the team that makes the most shots wins the game. "

The Cowboys faced undefeated Hood River Valley on the road on Friday, with first place in the conference on the line. Coverage of that game will be in next week's Central Oregonian.

Crook County hosts Ridgeview tonight in a 7 p.m. contest. The Cowboys then play at The Dalles on Thursday, and host Bend in a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday.

Crook County 59,

Crook County 18 20 19 2 – 59

Pendleton 4 12 8 5 – 29

Three-point goals – Crook County : H. Smith 4, J. Sanchez 2, K. Sanchez 2. Pendleton: Devereaux, Sheley, Jennings.

Crook County – Cayden Lowenbach 16, K. Sanchez 14, H. Smith 14, J. Sanchez 9, Reed 6, P. Smith, Teskey, C. Smith, Wood, Carr. 22 7-9 59.

Pendleton – Easton Corey 7, Rueber 6, Devereaux 5, Preston 3, Sheley 3, Soaring Eagle 2, Gunter 2, Swanson, Minthorn, Et. Carey, Oja. 12 2-4 29.

Crook County 64, Redmond 48

at Crook County

Redmond 12 14 8 14 – 48

Crook County 11 12 19 20 – 64

Three-point goals – Redmond: Young. Crook County: J. Sanchez 3, Nunez, Smith, Reed, K. Sanchez.

Redmond – Skylar Jones 19, Rawlins 12, Osborne 10, Young 5, Haigh 2, Saito, T. Jones. 19 9-12 48.

Crook County – Kevin Sanchez 21, J. Sanchez 13, Lowenbach 13, H. Smith 7, Reed 5, Nune 5, T. Smith. 19 19-30 64.

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