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After 23 turnovers, Country couldn't overcome Damascus Christian in 64-34 loss

PIONEER PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Country Christian senior Drew HalversonAfter Country Christian's girls' basketball team stomped Damascus Christian earlier in the night, the boys' team had a tough act to follow in the Tuesday, Dec. 4 doubleheader. After beating 1A Riverdale in the season opener, the Cougars came back to Molalla looking to stay unbeaten.

Damascus Christian had other ideas.

The Eagles ran over Country Christian 64-34 at the end of 32 minutes of play. Country Christian fell to 1-1 on the season, and Damascus Christian improved to 3-0, 1-0 in the Valley-10 League.

The Cougars matched baskets early, with sophomore Howie Long and senior Sean Gilmer keeping up with Spencer Powers and Jason Budey. Thereafter though, the Eagles took off, scoring four uncontested baskets to make the score 14-4, and eventually 17-9 with 2:32 left in the first quarter.

"We didn't have much help on our defense, and when we pressure guys we need help on the back end," head coach Dawson Nofziger said. "We missed out on a lot of charges, we weren't rotating for the help, so they got a lot of easy looks. I was pleased with us in the first half, they're usually a team that casts it from deep. We stopped the 3-point shot, but gave them easy lay-ins which isn't what we want to do."

From that point until a little bit into the second stanza, it was all Damascus Christian as they went on an 11 point run. Country Christian's Long ended the drought with a bucket, but shortly thereafter junior Chris Gilbert went down after taking an elbow to the face. Gilbert immediately hopped up, spit a piece of his molar out, and the game moved on.

"It was just a part of his molar, got it chipped right out of there," Nofziger said. "When I didn't see blood, I knew he would be alright and he could get back in there."

At the end of the half, Country Christian was down 34-18.

The third quarter was just as difficult for the Cougars, who only managed 8 points. Two baskets from Long, two points from Gilbert, and a layup from freshman Cooper Halverson. Damascus meanwhile put up 18 points from six different scorers, with two baskets apiece from Johnathan Shields and Jacob Zakharyuk. By the end of the third quarter, Country Christian was down 52-26.

The final quarter was only a little better, as the Eagles outscored the home team 12-8. The final basket of the game came from sophomore Adon Farner, which brought the deficit to 30. Damascus had won the encounter, 64-34.

Over the course of the game, Damascus Christian's strong offense and Country Christian's turnovers were the really pivotal point

"Turnovers were big, we had 23 turnovers," Nofziger said. "That's about 10 more than we want to have. Turning the ball over, and unforced, was big. We game planned for smart passing, but it's different game planning for a team that's been doing it since they were little. It was just that tough."

Long led the way for the Cougars in scoring with 8 points, and was followed by senior Drew Halverson, Lambert, and Gilmer with 6 points apiece. It was a rough night from the court as the team shot just 39 percent from inside the arc, and was 2-of-15 from 3-point range.

Country Christian faced Elkton on Friday, Dec. 7 and picked up a decisive win 53-45. In the opening quarter, the Cougars stayed close early trailing 11-9 up through the 3:15 mark. But after that Days Creek took over 21-10 by the end of the quarter. By the half, Country Christian trailed 35-18, and ultimately lost 57-41, falling to 2-2. The team faces North Clackamas Christian on Dec. 11.

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