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Cougars avange earlier loss to Trinity Academy before running out of gas in title tile with Open Door

An up-and-down season for the Country Christian boys basketball team simply ran out of gas June 19 in the Valley 10 League playoffs.

The Cougars got a measure of satisfaction in the semifinals, avenging an earlier loss to Trinity Academy by a 48-37 count before struggling in the second half of a 54-37 loss in the title game to Open Door Christian Academy.

"We played Trinity in the first round of the district playoffs, a rematch from a couple weeks earlier where we lost 60-39," coach Dawson Nofziger said. "This time around was a different story. The boys executed the gameplan and played their tails off in a grind-it-out physical game."

The Herald-Pioneer.

Matthew Weissenbrunner led the way with 14 points and 8 rebounds. Team captain Luke Stopper was "our anchor late in the game, scoring 8 of his 10 points in fourth quarter and pulled down 10 rebounds, a critical double-double for us."

Cooper Halverson added 10 points in the win.

"Our offense couldn't have gotten going if it wasn't for our defensive energy," Nofziger added. "Dominic Doyle and Malachi O'Connor led the way, wearing down their best players all night and pressuring them into turnovers which led to easy buckets for us."

Open Door 54, Country Christian 37

In the title game on June 19, a good start couldn't sustain itself.

"We started off the game with the energy we ended Thursday night with, playing the Huskies within one (point) at halftime," Nofziger said. "The second half we started to lose our legs and couldn't get anything going offensively, only scoring four points in the third quarter."

That hole would prove to big to climb out of as Open Door slowly pulled away for the win.

Elijah Wallbaum led the team with 10 points and Weissenbrunner added 9.

"It wasn't the ending to the season we wanted but for an unorthodox season I couldn't be more proud of how the boys improved and fought every game," Nofziger said.

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