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Cougars' 51-48 overtime road win over Vikings snaps four-game streak of losses

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Gervais senior Alex Kalugin led the Cougars in scoring in back-to-back games, pouring in 18 against Western Christian on Thursday, followed by 11 against Chemawa on Friday.After starting last week on a high note, the Gervais boys basketball team was unable to continue the momentum at home, going 1-2 over a four-day span against Tri-River Conference opponents.

The Cougars (5-11, 2-5 Tri-River) entered the week looking to end a recent string of losses dating back to the beginning of the year. Gervais had lost its final two games of the Crusader Classic Invitational in Salem on Jan. 3-4 and followed with back-to-back defeats to league powers Kennedy and Sheridan.

Facing an 0-10 Colton team on the road that was hungry to pick up its first win of the season, the Cougars were wary of becoming the first team to give up a victory to the Vikings.

In the end it took five quarters, but Gervais was able to walk out of Colton High School with a victory, winning 51-48 in overtime on Tuesday, Jan. 14.

Junior wing Michael Toran led the Cougars with 13 points in the win, while junior post Auggie Guido added 10. Brian Limage chipped in nine, while Daniel Hernandez had seven.

It was just what the Cougars needed heading into a difficult home double-header to end the week.

Gervais was tasked with slowing down the defending state champion Western Christian Pioneers — a team whose last loss to a league opponent came in 2017 when they were Western Mennonite, a string of 41 consecutive games including league playoffs.

While the Cougars were unable to stop the No. 1 Pioneers (12-3, 6-0), falling 78-42, the team had a few positives to take away. Followed a lackluster performance at Colton in which he fouled out, senior post Alex Kalugin bounced back with an 18-point night to lead the team in scoring. The team's 42 points was also higher than the scoring output of last year's games against the Pioneers combined — a general trend of upward improvement on the offensive end this season.

PMG PHOTO: PHIL HAWKINS - Gervais senior Daniel Hernandez cuts to the basket along the baseline against Chemawa on Friday. Hernandez had nine points in the Cougars 63-44 loss.Unfortunately, Gervais was unable to carry that momentum into Friday night's game against Chemawa (2-9, 2-5), a rematch of the team's 72-63 win over the Braves on Dec. 16 in Salem.

It was the Cougars' first win of the season, breaking a streak of losses dating back more than a year, and the Braves were eager for payback.

Senior guard Davey Hogan came out on fire, scoring nine of his team's first 12 points to help the Braves establish a 17-4 lead midway through the first quarter.

Hogan finished with a game-high 30 points, leading Chemawa to a 63-44 victory. Thirteen of his points came in the opening quarter, as the Braves took a 23-9 lead.

Gervais rallied at the end of the period and into the second. The Cougars cut their deficit to single digits in the second quarter when freshman guard Jose Esquivel sank a corner-3, capping an 8-0 run to pull within 27-20.

Chemawa responded with an and-one from Hogan to make it a 10-point game again, but back-to-back perfect trips at the line from Toran and Kalugin cut the deficit to 30-24.

That's as close as the Cougars would get, however.

Chemawa senior Trajan Carlos nailed a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer and the Braves extended their lead back to double-digits in the third quarter, where it remained for the rest of the game.

The Cougars were led by Kalugin with 11 points, while Hernandez had nine and Limage had eight.

In addition to Hogan's big night, Carlos had 18 points for the Braves.

The loss dropped Gervais a game behind Culver (3-10, 2-3) for fifth place in the Tri-River Conference.

Gervais was scheduled to host Culver on Tuesday, followed by a trip to Delphian (3-8, 1-5) on Thursday to finish the week.

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