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SUBARU CHRISTMAS CLASSIC: Crater boys rally in overtime thriller

Nate Bittle was instrumental in Crater’s second-half comeback and took over in overtime as the Comets defeated Class 3A top-ranked Dayton, 62-58, in the semifinals of the Southern Oregon Subaru Christmas Classic Friday at Cascade Christian High.

The Comets (7-1) will face Santiam Christian in the tournament final at 7:30 tonight

Bittle, a 6-foot-10 sophomore, had a spectacular line with 24 points, 20 rebounds and seven blocked shots.

In overtime, the Comets capitalized from the free-throw line to pull out the victory. Bittle accounted for six points, with four coming from the stripe, and Nathan Horton added three free throws.

Dayton came out strong from the start and went into halftime with a 34-27 advantage.

“For some reason we had low energy,” said Crater coach Chris Schmerbach. “It was being ready to play. We weren’t taking care of the ball and were letting them get too many offensive rebounds.”

Crater limited the Pirates to 19 points in the second half and no 3-pointers after the Pirates drained four in the first two quarters.

“At halftime, we talked about defending the 3 and forcing them into Nate,” said Schmerbach. “With Nate in the middle, they were forced to take shots inside they aren’t used to taking and that helped us.”

Comet senior wing Nathan Johnson made an important contribution with nine points, including a key 3-pointer late in the fourth.

“That was one of the best games (Johnson) has played,” said Schmerbach. “He was attacking the basket and made that big 3.”

Horton, a senior wing, finished with 16 points.

For Dayton, 6-6 post Jaysen Howard tossed in 21 points and Braeden Nowlin provided 18.

“If there is anything to take away from a tight, close, overtime game, it’s that we were playing five sophomores who are not used to this type of pressure with the crowd and intensity,” said Schmerbach. “I’m happy we learned and never quit.”

CRATER (62): Ray 2, Horton 16, Jaasko 2, Chubb 5, Eaton 2, Edwards 2, Johnson 9, Bittle 24. Totals: 20 17-25 62.

DAYTON (58): Nowlin 18, Findley 11, Spink 0, Ju. Morales 0, Garrison 2, Ja. Morales 2, Howard 21, Ashley 4 Totals: 21 12-14 58.

Crater111612149— 62

Dayton16189105— 58

3-point goals — Crater 5 (Horton 3, Johnson 1, Bittle 1), Dayton 4 (Nowlin 3, Findley 1). Fouled out — Garrison.

PHOENIX 66, ST. MARY’S 53: Phoenix junior forward Ethan Hutsell scored 12 of his 22 points in the second quarter to help the Pirates advance to the tournament fourth-place game.

The Pirates went out to a 36-20 halftime advantage.

St. Mary’s (6-6) was paced by Gavin Rajagopal (16 points) and Tre Foster (15).

In today’s games, Phoenix plays Cascade Christian at 10:30 a.m. and St. Mary’s faces Hidden Valley at 1:30 p.m.

ST. MARY’S (53): Kaeo-Wailehua 2, Young 0, Conner 4, Hadley 5, Rajagopal 16, Sternenberg 4, Snyder 7, Foster 15. Totals: 20 9-16 53.

PHOENIX (66): Martinez 3, Serna 4, Goff 5, Hutsell 22, Stella 6, Watts 10, Beer 2, Stanfield 13, Tuenge 3. Totals: 27 8-13 66.

St. Mary’s9111716— 53

Phoenix16201317— 66

3-point goals — St. Mary’s 4 (Conner 1, Rajagopal 2, Sternenberg 1), Phoenix 4 (Goff 1, Stanfield 2, Tuenge 1)

HIDDEN VALLEY 59, CASCADE CHRISTIAN 54: Hidden Valley 6-foot-5 senior post Joe Blanton was a matchup problem for the smaller Cascade Christian lineup in the consolation semifinals.

Blanton put up a game-high 26 points as the Mustangs (6-4) rallied after being behind 29-28 at halftime.

The Challengers’ shooting touch turned cold and turnovers hurt their cause in the third quarter and the Mustangs surged ahead.

Sophomore guard Dominic Lewis paced Cascade Christian (1-9) with 22 points and junior Layne Collom chipped in 13.

Today’s tournament games in the consolation bracket have been rearranged so teams do not have to go against league foes. Cascade Christian plays Phoenix at 10:30 a.m. while St. Marys faces Hidden Valley at 1:30 p.m.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (54): Reece 5, Sciapiti 5, Schaan 5, Jackson 0, Miller 0, Coppedge 4, Lewis 22, Collom 13, Spurlock 0, Brehm 0, Flenner 0. Totals: 20 6-7 54.

HIDDEN VALLEY (59): Harry 3, McLean 10, Byrd 5, Blanton 26, Wright 9, Hagerty 2, Iwamizu 4, Tucker 0 Totals: 21 11-17 59.

Cascade Christian9201015— 54

Hidden Valley9191516— 59

3-point goals — Cascade Christian 8 (Reece 1, Sciapiti 1, Schaan 1, Lewis 2, Collum 2), Hidden Valley 6 (McLean 2, Byrd 1, Wright 1).

Girls

CRATER 73, KLAMATH UNION 31: Maya Van Hook scored nine of her game-high 16 points in the second quarter and Crater took advantage of its transition attack to advance into today’s tournament finals.

The Comets (7-2) will be going for their sixth consecutive Classic championship against Santiam Christian at 6 p.m. at Cascade Christian High.

After Klamath Union (4-4) cut Crater’s lead to four points in the second quarter, the Comets came up with four straight steals that led to fast-break baskets by Van Hook.

Crater, which amassed 24 steals with pressure defense, put together another 8-0 run in the third quarter to distance itself from the Pelicans.

The Comets’ Sydney Gray tallied 14 points and seven steals and Eliza Idiart contributed 13 points and four assists.

KLAMATH UNION (31): Haupt 0, Carson 5, Powless 4, Charkins 0, Anderson 7, Mendez 0, Wells 2, Watah 10, Bustamante 3. Totals: 11 6-12 31.

CRATER (73): Gugliotta 2, Hirsch 0, Dance 5, Idiart 13, Van Hook 16, Westbrock 6, Oestreich 0, Gray 14, Ellis 2, Dutkiewicz 9, Woodard 0, Bowers 3, Young 3, Waters 0. Totals: 33 8-12 73

Klamath Union416101— 31

Crater12212020— 73

3-point goals — Klamath Union 3 (Carson 1, Watah 1, Bustamante 1) Crater 5 (Dance 1, Idiart 3, Dutkiewicz 1).

CASCADE CHRISTIAN 52, EAGLE POINT 50: Cascade Christian’s Emily Stephens scored the go-ahead basket on a runner in the lane in the final minute, and Mallory Meilicke came up with a steal to deny Eagle Point a last opportunity in the consolation semifinals.

Stephens, a senior guard, had 20 points and grabbed seven rebounds for the Challengers (7-3), who will face Far West League foe St. Mary’s in today’s fourth-place game.

Cascade Christian also received 13 points and eight rebounds from Katelyn Willard, and Abigail Alexander added 10 points and nine rebounds.

Eagle Point (5-4) countered with 10 3-pointers, led by Nicole Lawler’s four.

Teya Amidei led the Eagles with 14 points and Kierssa Hogan chipped in 13.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (52): Joseph 0, Quast 0, Alexander 10, Meilicke 7, Willard 13, Hagloch 2, Sweem 0, Stephens 20. Totals: 21 6-8 52.

EAGLE POINT (50): Shelton 0, Hogan 13, Monroe 8, Flores 1, Amidei 14, Burgess 5, Swanson 0, Sked 2, Lawler 12, Sather 0. Totals: 17 6-9 50

Cascade Christian7141417— 52

Eagle Point718916— 50

3-point goals — Cascade Christian 4 (Meilicke 1, Willard 2, Stephens 1), Eagle Point 10 (Hogan 3, Amidei 3, Lawler 4).

ST. MARY’S 49, PHOENIX 36: Emma Bennion had a career-high 27 points to spark St. Mary’s in the consolation semifinals.

St. Mary’s (6-3) plays Cascade Christian for fourth place at noon today at Cascade Christian High.

Ibixica Alvarez added 12 points for St. Mary’s, who combined with Bennion for five of the Crusaders’ seven 3-pointers.

St. Mary’s capitalized on 13 offensive rebounds in the second half that led to numerous second-chance points.

For Phoenix, Josie Bolstad posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

The Pirates (4-7) face Eagle Point for seventh place at 9 a.m. today.

ST. MARY’S (49): Young 2, Alvarez 12, Bennion 27, Lippert 6, Rajapogal 0, Dunn 0, Ward 2. Totals: 18 6-8 49.

PHOENIX (36): Carrillo 6, Villasenor 3, Skaff 2, Bolstad 14, Tellez 0, Flores 2, Badillo 0, Parent 9. Totals: 13 7-10 36.

St. Mary’s1213138— 49

Phoenix13788— 36

3-point goals — St. Mary’s 7 (Alvarez 2, Bennion 3, Lippert 2), Phoenix 3 (Carrillo 1, Villasenor 1, Parent 1).

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