Cascade Christian junior Cody Coggins, center, passes the ball against Valley Catholic during Saturday's game.

Challengers fall short

If it were golf, the Cascade Christian boys basketball team might ask for a mulligan on No. 2.

As in, Quarter No. 2.

The Challengers were dominated and derailed in one devastating eight-minute blow during the Southern Oregon Subaru Christmas Classic final against Valley Catholic on Saturday night.

The Valiants, who are the top team in the Class 3A state power rankings, downed Cascade Christian, 59-46, to capture the crown. Their 29-7 surge in the second quarter, fueled by the explosive play of 6-foot-2 senior guard Jarrett Gray and an intrusive 1-2-2 three-quarter court defense, made the odds of a Challenger comeback unfavorable.

And to think: Cascade Christian (6-2) led 14-12 in the first quarter and outscored Valley Catholic (8-1) in the second half.

But in the end, the Challengers' 20 total turnovers, the Valiants' 14 steals and that disastrous period were too much.

"It was a buzz saw we ran into," Cascade Christian head coach Brian Morse said. "But we made some corrections and adjustments at halftime and the kids didn't give up. We just dug ourselves in a hole in the second quarter. ... I think if we handle that press a little better we are right there with them."

Gray turned in 25 points, five rebounds, five assists and five steals (including 15 points in the second period) and University of Portland commit Gabe Taylor added 16 points for the Valiants, who led 41-21 at halftime.

When Gray wasn't snatching the ball away and zooming to the hoop for a layup, he was deflecting passes both long and short.

"We just had active hands as coach taught us all year and my teammates were denying the other passes and making it possible," he said.

The championship game was a rematch of a 3A state quarterfinal contest last year, which Valley Catholic won, 64-44.

"We watched some of that film today," said Valley Catholic head coach Joel Sobotka, who was once head coach at Portland State and an assistant at Portland. "We knew we were going to get their best shot. We felt that way about Blanchet Catholic when they beat us the next round and we opened with them this year. We were hungry to get back and show them we can play a better game. ... Our guys were ready for it, but (Cascade Christian) is a quality team, it really is."

Cascade Christian junior guard Cody Coggins got off to a magnificent start, scoring 11 of his 18 points in the first quarter. He hit three 3-pointers in the opening eight minutes as the Challengers built an eight-point edge.

A bucket by David Sellers, who finished with 14 points, six rebounds, two blocks and two steals, put Cascade Christian on top 17-12 early in the second quarter.

But with under four minutes to go before intermission, the Valiants scored 19 unanswered points.

"That is the best quarter we've played all season," Sobotka said.

The Challengers outscored Valley Catholic 11-9 in the third and 14-9 in the fourth.

The Valiants were dominant in the Christmas Classic, winning three games by margins of 21, 25 and 13 points. They made 23 of their 41 attempts against Cascade Christian and their biggest lead was 25 points (50-25).

"We came out with a better intensity than I have ever seen with this group," said Taylor. "Every game we got better and we turned it up every game, which is hard to do in a long three-day tournament like this."

Sellers is hungry for a rematch.

"This was a good game to size them up and to see how we will play against them later in the season because I'm sure we'll see them in the (state) tournament," he said.

VALLEY CATHOLIC (59) — Braun 0, Parthasarathy 0, Krishnakumar 0, Gray 25, Lane 11, Baglai 0, Prunty 0, Buuck 7, Menkens 0, Butz 0, Vanderzanden 0, Taylor 16, Osswald 0. Totals: 23-41 11-16 59.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (46) — Kammerzell 2, Laws 0, Wager 0, Coggins 18, Knox 2, Alvarez 0, Palmer 0, Cesaro 9, Sellers 14, Battiato 0, Winter 1. Totals: 16-38 10-17 46.

Valley Catholic 12 29 9 9 — 59

Cascade Christian 14 7 11 14 — 46

3-point goals — Valley Catholic 2-4 (Gray 1, Lane 1), Cascade Christian 4-13 (Coggins 4).

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email Find him online at or

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