Cowboys fall to Panthers


Redmond never trails in, 63-57, win over Crook County

The Crook County Cowboys dropped another close ball game on Friday as they fell to the host Redmond Panthers, 63-57, in an Intermountain Hybrid Conference basketball matchup.

“They came out and set the tone instead of us,” said Crook County Head Coach Darin Kessi. “We knew what we needed to do. We just lacked defensive and offensive focus and discipline.”

The Panthers controlled the tempo early in the contest, jumping out to an 18-13 first quarter lead. Redmond built their lead to 35-26 by halftime.

Crook County did a better job of controlling the tempo in the second half of the contest. The Cowboys outscored the Panthers 12-11 in the third period, and 19-17 in the fourth, but the damage had already been done.

At one point the Cowboys closed to within three points in the final period, but the Panthers were able to hold on for the win.

Brandon Benson scored all eight of his points in the fourth quarter for the Panthers as they withstood the Cowboys' late charge.

Michael Belmontes led the Panthers with 15 points, hitting four big free throws late in the contest. Cody Winters added 11 points and Ben Burroughs finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds for the host Panthers.

Crook County’s Seth Kessi led all scorers, finishing with 16 points. Andrew Sofich and Blake Bartels were also in double figures with 13 points apiece, while Kohlter Kee finished with eight points for the Cowboys.

Crook County did a good job of taking care of the ball in the game, committing just 11 turnovers to 17 for Redmond. The Cowboys also outscored the Panthers from the free throw line, hitting 12 of 17 shots compared to eight of 17 for Redmond.

However, the Cowboys gave up seven 3-point field goals and were outscored by 10 points from the field by the Panthers.

“We didn’t have a sense of urgency that hey, these guys had already beaten us twice,”?said Kessi. “We were right there both times and we needed to take this game from these guys, but we never established that kind of intensity.”

Kessi added that the team spent the entire week stressing the importance of stopping Belmontes, then left him open on three critical 3-pointers.

“You can’t leave that kid,” he said. “You have to know where he is and what they are trying to do. It’s almost like we see what they are doing two seconds after they do it. We just showed our lack of basketball intelligence. The boys are pretty disappointed because they know that they didn’t perform at the level that they are capable of.”

With the loss the Cowboys fell to 3-19 overall and 1-13 in the IMC. Meanwhile, the Panthers raised their record to 4-16 overall and 3-10 in league play.

The Cowboys play their final regular season game of the year tonight when they travel to Redmond to take on the Ridgeview Ravens in a critical Special District 1 matchup.

The two teams are tied at 1-1 in district play. The winner of the deciding game will earn the district’s lone automatic play-in berth.

With Crook County mired in 41st place in the latest OSAA?power rankings their only hope to reach the playoffs is to win tonight’s contest. Meanwhile, the Ravens, who are 23rd in the latest power rankings, still have a small chance to win an at large play-in berth.

“I believe that we are going to bring great intensity, and great focus into the Ridgeview game,” Kessi said. “We are going to have our best effort and we are going to play collectively like we can. When we take excellent shots rather than just sub-par shots we are pretty good. The key is we are going to have to control some things in that game.”

Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. Should the Cowboys win they would go on the road on Friday, Feb. 28, or Saturday, March 1 to take on a yet to be named opponent. Likely opponents would be Philomath, La Salle Prep, or Sutherlin, who currently hold the top three places in the power rankings.

Redmond 63, Crook County 57

Crook County (57) — Seth Kessi 15, Sofich 13, Bartels 13, Kee 8, Tavernia 5, Villagomez 2. Totals 20 12-17 57.

Redmond (63) — Michael Belmontes 15, Winters 11, Burroughs 10, Benson 8, Troutman 7, Moss 5, D. Brown 5, T. Brown 2. Totals 24 8-17 63.

Crook County 13 13 12 19 — 57

Redmond 18 17 11 17 — 63

Three-point goals — Crook County: Kessi 2, Bartels, Tavernia, Sofich; Redmond: Belmontes 3, Winters, Moss, Troutman, D. Brown.