In a game that easily could have gone either way, the Crook County High School boys basketball team survived, taking a 71-69 victory over the Gladstone Gladiators Tuesday, Jan. 24 in Prineville.
“Our kids resilience tonight was what won us that game, not our execution or anything like that,” said Crook County head coach Jason Mumm. "We never quit and we got some calls down the stretch which helps, but you have got to give credit to Gladstone too. They played all out. They got after us from the start and they played really well and had a shot to beat us.”
Crook County was assessed a technical foul before the game started for a dunk in warmups. Gladstone took advantage, hitting both free throws and then scoring on their first possession before Crook County even saw the ball. A Crook County turnover followed by a three-point shot from Cohen Daves, who finished with a game-high 32 points, gave the Gladiators a 7-0 lead less than 30 seconds into the game.
The Cowboys closed to within a bucket midway through the quarter when Kiernan Teasdale snared an offensive rebound and went strong to the basket for two, making the score 9-8 Gladstone. However, the next few minutes were all Gladstone as the Gladiators reeled off eight consecutive points to increase their lead to 17-8.
Crook County buckled down defensively, and went on a run of their own. When Tyson Martinez hit a three-point shot at the buzzer the Cowboys were back in contention, trailing just 19-15. Martinez hit a two-pointer to start the second quarter, and the Cowboys were within a bucket. Crook County still trailed by two at 21-19 before Gladstone went on another scoring run, outscoring the Cowboys 10-3 in the next two minutes to increase their lead to 31-22. Trailing by nine with three minutes remaining in the second quarter, the Cowboys called timeout. Crook County played better the remainder of the half, but still trailed 37-31 at the break.
The third quarter, tough, was the difference. Crook County came out on fire in the third, outscoring the Gladiators 26-7 to take a 57-44 lead into the final period.
“With our team it's al about mindset,” Teasdale said. “When we are not ready to play and we are not in a good mindset, we play like the worst team, but when we are in a good mindset as coach Lowenbach (Crook County assistant coach Jeff Lowenbach) we have flames coming out of our eyes. We decided to kick it into gear and be the team that we are supposed to be.”
Despite the lead, not everything was going well for the Cowboys. Eddie Freauff, who led Crook County in scoring with 24 points, picked up two fouls within 15 seconds late in the period and went to the bench in foul trouble. With Freauff on the bench and Gladstone pressure causing Crook County turnovers, the Gladiators scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to claw back to within seven points at 57-50.
Freauff quickly returned to the game and the Cowboys appeared to regain the momentum as a Freauff two and a Martinez three-pointer increased the Cowboy lead to 11 at 62-51 with 4:17 remaining in the contest. However, the Gladiators were not done. They staged a furious rally, tying the game 65-65 with just over a minute remaining. Gladstone then took advantage of a Crook County turnover and missed shot to take a four-point lead, 69-65, with just under a minute to play.
On their ensuing possession, Logan Mathews drove to the basket and Gladstone's Brayde Owen knocked Mathews down, denying him the layup, but drawing a foul. While Mathews was still laying on the ground, Owen stood over him yelling "yeah," and flexing, earning a technical foul.
Mathews made both technical fouls, but missed the two free throws from the original foul, closing the Cowboys to within two. Crook County then took the ball out of bounds because of the technical foul and Freauff drove to the basket for two, tying the game at 69-69.
Daves missed a shot on Gladstone's next possession and Teasdale snared the rebound. The Cowboys ran the clock down to under 10 seconds when Freauff missed a shot. The Cowboys were given the ball out of bounds and capitalized as Teasdale scored on the inbounds play, putting Crook County up by two with 2.9 seconds remaining in the game. Gladstone's Ben Hoffman missed a three-point attempt and Teasdale grabbed the rebound, as Crook County held on for the narrow victory.
“We wanted to come out at halftime and set the tone defensively,” Mumm said of the team's big third quarter. “We got after them defensively and that's what drives us is that energy and effort on defense because then we can get out in transition and run. Things open up then inside out for us and we can knock down threes. As soon as we start rolling, man, it's fun to watch. That's the thing. We have got to get more consistent. If we can repeat that third quarter for all four quarters of the game, we can get there.”
In addition to Freauff's 24 points, three other Cowboys were also in double figures as Martinez finished with 15, Teasdale 11 and Mathews 10. Besides Daves, Carver Mellema was also in double figures for Gladstone with 18 points.
The Cowboys outrebounded the Gladiators 27-22, led by 13 rebounds from Freauff and eight from Teasdale. No Gladiator had more than five rebounds. With the victory Crook County improved to 3-0 in league and 9-7 overall while Gladstone fell to 1-2 in league and 8-8 overall. Perhaps more importantly the Cowboys moved up from 10th to ninth in the OSAA power rankings.
The Cowboys are on the road Thursday when they take on the Estacada Rangers, 2-1, 9-6. Crook County returns home on Tuesday to battle the Madras White Buffalos, 1-2, 8-8. Thursday's game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., while next Tuesday's matchup with the White Buffalos is set for 7 p.m.
“We have got to go in with the mentality that this is our game,” Teasdale said. “We have got to go in ready to go. We can't turn the ball over and we have got to play defense and run our stuff and we will be good.”
Crook County 71, Gladstone 69
at Crook County
Gladstone 19 18 7 15 – 69
Crook County 15 16 26 14 – 71
Gladstone – Cohen Daves 32, Mellema 18, Hoffman 7, Owen 4, Linfoot 4, Conner 2, Cummins 2, Ramsey. Totals: 24 14-18 69.
Crook County – Eddie Freauff 24, Martinez 15, Teasdale 11, Mathews 10, Levesque 5, Teskey 3, Ossenkop 3. Totals: 28 7-14 71.
Three-point goals – Gladstone: Daves 5, Mellema 2. Crook County: Martinez 4, Mathews 2, Ossenkop, Teskey.