CORVALLIS: Silverton had a lead on Crescent Valley for less than two minutes, total, in Wednesday afternoon’s 5A boys quarterfinal basketball game at the OSAA / OnPoint Community Credit Union 5A Basketball Championships held at Gill Coliseum in Corvallis. The Foxes, however, were the team ahead at the end and won the thriller, 49-47, to defeat their Mid-Willamette Conference rivals for the third time in as many tries this season.
The rivalry between these two teams was apparent from the first tip. The teams were familiar with one another and it was chippy throughout.
It also was close throughout. How close? The teams were tied, 9-9, at the end of one quarter. They were tied, 25-25, at halftime and knotted at 37-37 after three.
In between, however, Crescent Valley led for the majority of the game. The Raiders opened the scoring in the first with three points, scored the first five of the second quarter, the first seven of the third and the first six of the fourth. Teams that are constantly fighting from behind don’t win games like that, so how did Silverton find a way?
“Nine seniors, definitely” noted Silverton head coach Jamie McCarty. “This senior class is something special; it’s the toughest team I’ve ever coached. We haven’t been pushed like that in a long time and I was a little worried about having a close game like that and having to get it done. I thought our kids never gave up. They were ready to throw up out there. They were ready to fall down. They played a lot of minutes. The toughness of the seniors is what got it done for us.”
Crescent Valley came into the game the lower seed, but it was Silverton that was ranked lower in the OSAAtoday Coaches Poll for most of the 2021-2022 season. No matter, because the teams looked and played like mirror images of one another. Both teams played hard-nosed, man-to-man defense, passed well and were effective from long range. It seemed inevitable from early on that the game would be decided by no more than a bucket or two.
Cooper Wakefield scored on a floater to give Crescent Valley (20-7) and early lead. The Raiders never trailed in the quarter and led by four, 9-5, after Noah Dewey scored on a stick back and Wakefield stole the ball and went the distance for the score. Silverton (22-5) knotted the game before the horn sounded on a Ryan Brown deuce inside and shot jumper from Jordan McCarty, who led all scorers with six.
Jake Leibelt opened the second quarter with a three-point shot, the first of the game by either team; and Rocco McClave added two more as Crescent Valley again went into the lead. The quarter was very entertaining and featured a great sequence that started when McCarty drew a charge with Silverton down 20-15. McCarty hit a triple off of an assist from Neil Efimov to cut the Raider lead to two, only to see Wakefield answer with a 3-ball on the other end. Efimov answered the answer with another long-range delivery to again cut the lead to two, only to see Leibelt score inside, four straight possessions where the teams came away with points!
Down those four points, Silverton scored the last two buckets of the half to get back to even at the break. Brown scored on a baby hook and then , after an Austin Ratliff steal, Efimov fed Brown all alone for the equalizer.
Dewey, on an assist from Hogan Emigh, opened the third quarter with a bucket and Crescent Valley was off again, starting the quarter with a 7-0 run before Joseph Haugen broke the Silverton scoring drought with a bucket inside three minutes in, assisted by Brown. The Raider lead grew to five after a scoop and score from Leibelt, but Silverton answered with a 7-0 run that included a second triple from Brown and a Efimov steal and score, which gave the Foxes their first lead of the contest. The lead was short-lived, however, as Dewey scored on the jump hook to get back to all square, 37-37, with just eight minutes remaining.
The fourth quarter started with David Marshall scoring off of a rebound for Crescent Valley, part of a 6-0 opening run that put big pressure on Silverton to mount a comeback yet again.
For most of the quarter, it felt like the run would not come. Silverton missed two free throws, lay ups and three pointers. The Foxes looked tired and frustrated.
After three minutes of putting up goose eggs, Silverton got a jolt of energy when Efimov hit a corner three, assisted by McCarty. Crescent Valley responded on a Dewey dunk made possible by a terrific pass inside from Wakefield. Indeed, the Raider lead might have been seven, 47-40, after a Leibelt drive and finish, but it was waved off due to an offensive foul call.
Silverton took advantage of that break by getting an enormous corner three from Haugen, which cut Crescent Valley’s lead to 45-43. CV had a shot to extend the lead to four on a sensational pass from Dewey, but the Raiders missed the layup and Silverton scored in transition off of a sweet no-look pass from McCarty to Haugen inside for an uncontested lay up.
Another Crescent Valley turnover, one of 20 in the game, set Silverton up for the go-ahead bucket, a set play that saw McCarty feed Efimov on the wing, with Efimov then feeding the cutting Brown for an easy deuce.
Crescent Valley’s first opportunity to tie resulted in two missed free throws but the Raiders were able to score when Adam Temesgen negotiated his way through the Silverton defense for a one-handed lay up with 50 ticks remaining.
A one-handed shovel from Brown, who matched McCarty with 16 points for game-high honors, put Silverton on top for good with 31 seconds to play. Crescent Valley had several possessions to tie or go ahead but could not find the bottom of the basket. Silverton missed two 1-and-1s in the closing seconds, but turnovers denied the Raiders one last crack to do something special.
Leibelt had 14 points, nine rebounds and four of the Raiders’ 15 assists (on 19 field goals) to pace Crescent Valley. Dewey and Wakefield each scored 10.
McCarty had four assist and four steals to go along with his 16 points. Brown had four rebounds and four blocks to go along with his 16 points. Efimov, Silverton’s leading scorer during the regular season, was held to 10 points, but contributed five assists and four rebounds.
Coach McCarty said after the game that it was important to have a close game early, because the field is so equally talented that teams will have to win close games to advance.
“I really felt like we had a tough draw,” he added. “That’s a heckuva team there. They’ve been No. 1 in the state all year. To beat a team like that three times says a lot about our program and our kids and how special they are.”
In other quarterfinal games:
No. 1 Redmond 51, No. 8 Ashland 37:
Senior Garrett Osborne scored 15 points in the first half, including two dunks and a three pointer at the end of the second quarter, as top-seeded Redmond (21-5) built a 30-18 lead at the break and cruised to victory.
Ashland (15-10), making its first tournament appearance in more than a decade, built a 7-2 lead to start the game on an Egan Shields three-pointer, but the Grizzlies went cold for more than five minutes thereafter, as Redmond built a lead it would not relinquish.
Ashland got as close as 10 in the fourth quarter, but Osborne, who finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and two assists, scored the next seven points to build an insurmountable 17-point bulge.
Shields finished with 16 points and five boards to pace Ashland. Hawthorn Lapierre added eight points and seven rebounds.
No. 3 Wilsonville 64, No. 6 Crater 58: Crater was pesky. The Comets hustled for 90 feet and 32 minutes. They were relentless, hit threes, attacked the cup when they had an opening and generally gave favored Wilsonville all it could handle and more before running out of time. Wilsonville was composed. The Wildcats (25-2) moved the ball, used their height advantage to score inside and their handle to control the tempo.
Wilsonville built a lead early and kept it, extending the advantage to as much as nine points in the second quarter and 14 in the third. The Wildcats got contributions from all five starters – Kallen Gutbridge,Enzo Chimienti, Maxim Wu, Tristan Davis and Logan Thebiay all scored between 11 and 13 points – and yeoman work off the bench from Kellen Hartford.
And still Crater hung around. As the Wilsonville fouls and missed free throws mounted, the Comets crept closer and closer and closer until Caden Lasater hit a triple from the top of the key. The Wilsonville lead was just two with 35 seconds to play!
Wilsonville was able to hold off Crater by making enough free throws in the end game, but the Comets certainly made things interesting!
Lasater finished with a game-high 14 points for Crater (21-6). Tate Broesder had 13, Kadin Price 11 and Javon Smith contributed nine. Logan Price had five points and 10 boards.
No. 2 Churchill 66, No. 7 Eagle Point 52:
Senior point guard Samaje Morgan scored 24 of his game-high 38 points in the first half, as Churchill established control and never looked back.
Eagle Point (18-8), making its first state appearance in eight years, showed early nerves and fell behind 4-0 at the start. But the Eagles settled down after a time out and eventually took the lead, 16-15, on Stephen Dutton’s deep three. Morgan answered with a jumper at the horn to put the Lancers on top by one after one, then scored 14 second-quarter points to help Churchill pull away to a 38-26 halftime lead.
Morgan had five of his game-high 10 assists in the third quarter, along with seven points, to extend Churchill’s lead to 14 heading into the fourth quarter. The Lancers were not threatened thereafter and won by 14 to advance.
Tommy Johnson and Mickey Redondo had 11 points apiece to lead Eagle Point. Peyton Pierce and Triston McGuire scored nine each. Brennen Neyt, who averages almost 18 points per game, was held to seven.
Cooper Case supported Morgan’s monster night with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting for Churchill (22-5). Bugsy Jensen chipped in with 10.