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Cowboys drop close game to Panthers 78-74


Furious comeback comes up just short as Crook County falls to Redmond in Intermountain Hybrid basketball action

A furious rally by the Crook County Cowboys came up just short as the Cowboys fell 78-74 to the Redmond Panthers in Friday night Intermountain Hybrid basketball action.

“I was proud of them, program wide,” said Crook County Head Coach Darin Kessi. “Every team battled tonight. It was the best we’ve played as a program all year.”

The Cowboys came out strong to start the game and took a 19-18 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Panthers battled back in the second quarter to take the lead and held a narrow 33-31 lead at the half.

The Cowboys came out flat to start the third quarter, while the Panthers were on fire. Redmond outscored Crook County 28-7 in the period and looked like they were going to run away with the contest as they took a 61-38 lead into the fourth quarter.

“We decided that we were going to go back to old bad habits,” Kessi said. “Redmond was giving it to us in the third quarter. They were playing loose and knocking down shots and we were reeling. Their fans were chanting 'It’s all over' at the end of the third quarter and I said ‘You guys hear that?’ It kind of served as a catalyst.”

The Cowboys juggled their lineup, and went into a full-court press in the fourth quarter and the tone of the game changed dramatically.

Crook County forced some turnovers, and made a couple of easy baskets while Redmond suddenly went cold.

“We picked up our intensity and started knocking down some shots and they came down and missed some shots,” Kessi said. “The boys' confidence started to surge and Redmond started to get tight.”

Crook County continued to roll the entire fourth quarter, outscoring Redmond 36-17, but it wasn’t quite enough as the Panthers held on for the win.

The 36 points the Cowboys scored in the fourth quarter were more points than they have scored in six of their 11 games this season, while the 74 points were 26 points more than their previous season high.

“It was a huge step for us,” Kessi said. “They played together and they wanted to win. They battled. I feel like that was one of the defining moments of our season. We can build on that for sure.”

Crook County was led by Blake Bartels and Kohlter Kee, who scored 18 and 16 points, respectively. Meanwhile, Redmond was led by Michael Belmontes with 27 points. Ben Burroughs was also in double figures for the Panthers with 14 points.

The win was the first of the year for the Panthers, who are now 1-9 on the seaon and 1-2 in the IMC. Meanwhile Crook County fell to 2-9 on the season and 0-4 in league play.

The Cowboys are back in action on Tuesday when they return to Redmond to take on the Ridgeview Ravens in Special District I action. The Ravens are 5-7 so far this season, and 1-3 in the IMC. With Ridgeview ranked 23rd in the latest OSAA?power rankings, and the Cowboys mired in 38th place, the game is a must win as most likely only the Special District I champion will earn a play-in game at the end of the season.

“We are going to get together Sunday for a shoot around, and then Monday we are going to practice,” Kessi said. “We are going to lace them up for Ridgeview and I hope that we can surprise them”

Redmond 78, Crook County 74

at Redmond

Crook County (74) — Blake Bartels 18, Kee 16, Jones 9, Kessi 9, Sofich 7, Tavernia 6, Villagomez 4, Kilthau 3, Falghren 2. Totals 21 23-33.

Redmond (78) — Michael Belmontes 27, Burroughs 14, E. Brown 9, Troutman 8, Moss 5, Benson 6, T. Brown 4, Willingham 2, Andrews 2, Winters 1. Totals 23 19-28 78.

Crook County 19 12 7 36 — 74

Redmond 18 15 28 17 — 78

Three-point goals — Crook County: Bartels 2, Kessi 2, Sofich, Tavernia, Kilthau, Jones, Kee; Redmond: Belmontes 4, Troutman 2, E. Brown 2, Benson 2, Moss.