>Boys basketeball team cruises past Lindenberg (Wash.) in last game of the Ellenburg Tournament
After two last second losses in a row, the Crook County boys basketball team was not about to leave anything to chance. The Cowboys wrapped up play at the Ellensburg Tournament in grand fashion Thursday, defeating Lindenberg (Wash.) 66-40.
   After a close first quarter, Crook County put the game out of reach in the second quarter outscoring Lindenberg 25-4. The Cowboys brought a 23-point advantage, 40-17, into the intermission.
   "It was nice to be able to coast on into the end," said coach Jeff Lowenbach. "We played well. This leaves us with a good feeling coming back from the tournament."
   Thomas McCarthy led the Cowboys with 17 points while Carter Gill (16) and Kyle Huntley (14) were close behind.
   The win improves Crook County to 4-4 overall and leaves them in good position as they continue conference play this weekend with home matches against Hermiston and Pendleton.
   Both teams were at the tournament and while the Cowboys didn)t get a chance to play against Pendleton, they were able to see them compete.
   Hermiston, Crook County was able to see first hand.
   The Bulldogs handed the Cowboys a 66-65 heartbreaking loss Wednesday when a desperation shot fell short. The Cowboys rallied back from a ten-point fourth quarter deficit to take the lead with 19 seconds remaining, but were unable to hold on.
   "We got a good look at two teams in our league and now know what they have to offer," said Lowenbach. "It was good for us to figure out what they are going to do before bringing them to our home gym this weekend."
   Crook County will open up with Hermiston on Friday at 7 p.m. then host Pendleton at 2:45 p.m. on Saturday.
   Both teams are similar in that their offenses revolve around one main scorer and Lowenbach said his team will prepare accordingly.
   "We are going to be preparing to stop their inside game and looking at ways to control their outside game," he said. "By preparing for one [team] you are pretty much preparing for the other."
   Paul Carollo leads the Hermiston attack with an average of 20.6 points a game, while Ryan Reed (18.9 points a game) is Pendleton)s go-to guy.
   After a 48-45 win over The Dalles on December 18 the Cowboys are 1-0 in Intermountain Conference and Lowenbach believes with wins this weekend his team can set an important tone for the rest of the year.
   "These games this weekend are very important for us," he said. "Early in the season, these are the games we need to win to put ourselves in good position down the road."
   Pendleton (0-2 IMC, 3-6 overall) faces Hood River Valley tonight and Redmond on Friday while Hermiston (0-2 IMC, 5-4 overall) is scheduled to take on The Dalles-Wahtonka tonight.
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