Cowboys battle injuries, personnel problems, still find a way to make playoffs

by: LON AUSTIN/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Parker Wooldridge pitched four innings of no hit ball on Thursday against LaPine

The Crook County High School boys basketball team battled injuries and adversity all season, but still made the state playoffs, winning only the second playoff game in school history.
   "You know when it all comes down to it, overall I'm pleased," said Head Coach Jeff Lowenbach. "I'm not happy with the way the season turned out, but I'm pleased with the way we overcame adversity."
   The Cowboys dubbed earlier in the season as "The Cardiac Kids", because of all their close games, finished the season in third place in the Intermountain Conference with an 8-6 conference mark, and a 16-10 overall record. They made it to the second round of the state playoffs for the second straight year, falling to North Eugene in the second round.
   North Eugene was upset in the first game of the state tournament 51-53 by Jefferson and in an ironic twist may take out every team from the IMC. On Thursday the Highlanders defeated Mountain View in the consolation bracket and they face Hermiston next in the fifth place matchup.
   For the Cowboys the JV team was 8-16 this season while the freshman team went 14-10.
   The team will take three or four weeks off and then following spring break will begin open gyms.
   "Hopefully we will get some people in the weight room and have a busy summer of basketball," said Lowenbach. "We are going to prepare the same way we have the last four years. Camps, summer league and all that kind of fun stuff."
   The Cowboys have had an unprecedented run of success in the last three seasons, making the playoffs three seasons in a row and winning a playoff game each of the last two seasons and Lowenbach is looking to keep that streak alive.
   "We have had three very successful seasons and it's time for the underclassmen to step up to the plate and make sure that we don't have a drop off," said Lowenbach. "We lose a lot of quality seniors this year and it's going to be tough to replace those guys, but it never ceases to amaze me how underclassmen step up when they get the opportunity. It is all going to depend on the amount of work that we do in the off season."
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