Cowboys continue to dominate the hardwood
The Crook County boys basketball team is by far the class of the Intermountain Conference and likely among the best of any 5A team in the state.
The Cowboys pushed their season record to 12-0 with a trio of victories this past week.
On Tuesday, the Cowboys clobbered the Pendleton Buckaroos 72-39 in a home contest. Then on Thursday, Crook County went on the road where they defeated Redmond 69-53 in a game that virtually guarantees the Cowboys the Intermountain Conference championship. On Friday, Crook County returned home and defeated The Dalles 61-44 to close out a busy week.
"It just gets tougher because you have three-game weeks," said Crook County head coach Jason Mumm. "There is no real rest. There's no real practice. You've got to practice things in games and guys are beat up and sore and tired, so we are just going to have to continue to be tough."
Tuesday the Cowboys were in control throughout the game as they led wire to wire. Crook County led 18-9 at the end of one quarter, and 43-15 at the half. The Cowboys continued to extend their lead in the third quarter as they rolled out to a 65-23 lead.
With the Cowboy backups on the floor and a running clock the entire fourth quarter, Crook County was outscored 16-7 by the Buckaroos in the final period. Four Cowboys were in double figures in the game with Kevin Sanchez leading the way with 20. Jesse Sanchez hit four three-point shots as he finished with 14 points, while Abel Nunez finished with 12, and Cayden Lowenback 11. Blake Swanson led the way for Pendleton with 15 points.
Wednesday was a showdown for first place in the IMC, and the Cowboys came out ready to play. Crook County rolled to a 17-7 lead at the end of the first quarter, then extended their lead to 34-15 at the half.
Redmond mounted a comeback in the third quarter, outscoring the Cowboys 25-18 in the period, as they closed to 52-40. However, that was as close as they could get as Crook County outscored the Panthers 17-13 in the fourth period to hold on for the win.
Lowenbach led the Cowboys with 22, while Kevin Sanchez finished with 14, Jesse Sanchez 11, and Hogan Smith nine. Garrett Osborne, 18, and Skyler Jones, with 16, led the way for the Panthers in the game.
Crook County looked tired to begin their game on Thursday against The Dalles. Midway through the first quarter Crook County clung to a 5-4 lead.
However, the Cowboys picked up the tempo, outscoring the Riverhawks 16-8 the remainder of the first quarter as they rolled out to a 21-12 lead at the end of one. The Cowboys still struggled to make shots in the second period, but were able to extend their lead to 36-20 at the half.
Once again, the Cowboys struggled offensively in the third quarter, but The Dalles was unable to make a serious run as the two teams each scored just nine points in the quarter. Leading 45-29 to start the fourth period, Crook County once again went to their bench. With the backups playing much of the period, Crook County still outscored the Riverhawks 16-15 in the fourth as they put the game away.
Kevin Sanchez finished with 17 points to lead all scorers despite playing less than half of the second quarter and not scoring in the third.
Lowenbach finished with 14 points and Hogan Smith with 10. Triston Bass led The Dalles in scoring with 14 points, but Simpson had 13 of those points in the meaningless fourth quarter.
"We want to get out in transition and run a little more than we did tonight, but they do some things on defense that are hard to prepare for," Mumm said following the game. "Like I told our guys, there's nothing really to complain about when you are 12-0. You can make adjustments. You can get better, but you'll take 12-0 anytime you can get it."
The Cowboys are currently 8-0 in conference play, while Redmond and Hood River Valley are tied for second with 5-2 league marks. Crook County played Ridgeview on Monday on the road, then will host Hood River Valley on Thursday, while both Redmond and Hood River Valley will play three league games next week.
If the Cowboys beat Ridgeview as expected on Monday, Crook County would wrap up the conference championship. Even if they were upset by Ridgeview, Crook County can do no worse than tied for the league championship.
The Crook County at Hood River game earlier this year was the closest game the Cowboys have had all year, with Crook County escaping with a five-point win.
"That's going to be a tough one for us," Mumm said. "They played us super tough up there. They are capable of beating us. We have got to play well. We have got to prepare for them. We have got to do things right. We have got to knock down shots and we have got to defend them."
Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Crook County 72, Pendleton 39
at Crook County
Pendleton 9 6 8 16 – 39
Crook County 18 25 22 7 – 72
Three-point goals: Pendleton – Carey. Crook County – K. Sanchez 4, J. Sanchez 4, Abel 3, P. Smith, H. Smith, Carr.
Pendleton – Blake Swanson 15, Ruerer 8, Corey 7, Deveraux 6, Carey 3. Totals: 15 8-14 39.
Crook County – Kevin Sanchez 20, J. Sanchez 14, Abel 12, Lowenbach 11, H. Smith 5, P. Smith 3, Carr 3, Reed 2, Wood 2, Teskey, C. Smith. Totals: 27 4-5 72.
Crook County 69, Redmond 53
Crook County 17 17 18 17 – 69
Redmond 7 8 25 13 – 53
Three-point goals: Crook County – H. Smith 3, Abel 2, J. Sanchez, Reed. Redmond – Saito 3, Jone 2, Rawlins.
Crook County – Cayden Lowenbach 22, K. Sanchez 14, J. Sanchez 11, H. Smith 9, Reed 7, Abel 6, Carr. Totals: 24 14-20 69.
Redmond – Garrett Osborne 18, S. Jones 16, Rawlins 9, Saito 9, Haigh 1, Wachs, T. Jones. Totals: 19 9-12 53.
Crook County 61, The Dalles 44
at Crook County
The Dalles – Tristan Bass 14, DeLeon 11, Taylor 10, Floyd 7, Pullen 2, Cummings, Simpson, Donivan, Schwartz, Niko, Brock, Stewart. Totals: 18 5-10 44.
Crook County – Kevin Sanchez 17, Lowenbach 14, H. Smith 10, Reed 6, Carr 5, Wood 4, Reed 3, Abel 1, Freauff 1, C. Smith, P. Smith, Teskey. Totals: 19 13-21 61.
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