North Valley's Kevin Brazille, right, steals the ball from Cascade Christian's Justin Cheney during the first quarter on Wednesday. - Andy Atkinson

Knights knock off Challengers

Undefeated North Valley beat Cascade Christian 58-43 in the Wells Fargo Advisors Christmas Classic semifinals at Cascade Christian High on Wednesday, setting up a meeting in the finals tonight with unbeaten Phoenix.

The Pirates (7-0) defeated Coquille 62-53 earlier in the day.

Jake Herklotz had 16 points and 10 rebounds and Kevin Brazille offered up 11 points for the Knights (8-0), who take on Phoenix at 7:15 tonight.

North Valley led 32-27 at halftime, but saw the Challengers (3-2) fight back to gain a three-point lead early in the third quarter. The Knights responded by switching to a zone defense and firing off a run of their own to construct a nine-point edge by the end of the period.

"We could not execute our zone offense," Cascade Christian head coach Brian Morse said. "I thought we'd be able to shoot our way out of the zone defense. We've got some good 3-point shooters and just didn't hit anything."

North Valley outscored Cascade Christian 11-5 in the fourth to seal the date with the Pirates, who are the defending Class 4A state champions and a Skyline Conference rival.

"It doesn't get much better than this," North Valley head coach Jeff Nelson said of tonight's matchup. "Phoenix is awfully good with a lot of returning guys. We are looking forward to the challenge. We want to play teams that are at a high level."

JJ Chirnside registered eight points and three blocked shots and sophomore Cameron Lyon rattled off eight straight points in the second quarter for the Knights, knocking down two 3-pointers and then sinking a floater in the lane.

"We weren't shooting the ball very well early," Nelson said. "Cameron really sparked us."

Eric Morse turned in a team-best 15 points and nine rebounds, David Sellers had 10 points and six rebounds, Justin Cheney chipped in five points and six rebounds and Alex Miller contributed nine points and two steals for the Challengers.

"We knew Cascade Christian would be a good team," Nelson said. "They are well coached every year. They are a physical team who make it tough inside."

North Valley's Jeremiah Rusk helped slow down Eric Morse, who did most of his damage in the first quarter. Cascade Christian shot 17 percent from the floor in the second half.

The Knights pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, including seven by Herklotz.

"They killed us on the offensive boards," coach Morse said. "They killed us with second-chance points."

The Challengers play Coquille in the third-place game at 3:45 p.m. today.

NORTH VALLEY (58) — Herklotz 16, Brazille 11, Chirnside 8, Lyon 8, McCue 4, Vandehey 4, Rusk 4, Dean 2, Abbott 1, Mooney 0. Totals: 24 7-16 58.

CASCADE CHRISTIAN (43) — Morse 15, Sellers 10, Miller 9, Cheney 5, Siliga 4, Sha 0, Laws 0, Brown 0, Joffer 0, Thompson 0. Totals: 17 7-10 43.

North Valley 17 15 15 11 — 58

Cascade Christian 14 13 11 5 — 43

3-point goals — North Valley 3 (Lyon 2, Brazille 1), Cascade Christian 2 (Morse 2).

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