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Cougars pull away in final minutes

Crook County's upset bid falls short

by: TIM STUMM/CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Thomas McCarthy lays up during Crook County's matchup with Mountain View on Tuesday. McCarthy finished with a team high 25 points.

For nearly four quarters, the Crook County boys basketball team was able to keep Intermountain Conference frontrunner Mountain View at bay.
   Led by the sharpshooting of Thomas McCarthy, the Cowboys jumped out to a 19-11 first quarter lead and quickly silenced a normally raucous Cougar crowd.
   Each time the home team countered with a run of their own, the Cowboys seemed to have an answer.
   With less than three minutes left in regulation, however, they ran out of responses. The Cougars took their first lead of the night at 48-47 and held on for a 53-47 victory.
   Mountain View increased their win streak to ten and remain atop of the IMC at 5-0, 10-1 overall, while the Cowboys fall to 2-2, 6-6.
   "Without a doubt it was our best performance of the year," said coach Jeff Lowenbach. "Our guys definitely played good enough to win. We had every opportunity to win, we just missed some shots down the stretch and that's what it boiled down to."
   McCarthy put forth arguably his best performance of the season, recording 13 of his team high 25 points in the first quarter.
   Late in the second quarter he ignited a rally that squashed a 13-4 Cougar run and gave the Cowboys the momentum heading into the intermission.
   With just over a minute left in the half, McCarthy drove, stopped short and dished it outside to a wide open Rory Priday. Priday converted the three-pointer to give the Cowboys a 30-24 lead.
   McCarthy poked the ball loose on Mountain View's ensuing possession and scored on a breakaway layup to complete a 5-0 run.
   "He was the guy we were going to," said Lowenbach. "He was able to score even with the pressure defense they were giving us."
   Mountain View, however, proved why they are the team to beat this year in the IMC as they closed out the contest with a 13-3 run for the victory.
   Chad Howard recorded a couple key steals late in the game, but the Cowboys were unable to convert.
   After finding themselves in foul trouble in the first half, Crook County was in the opposite position in the second half. Needing seven overall team fouls to send the Cougars to the line, the Cowboys had only committed three with three minutes left to play. They therefore sacrificed precious seconds off the clock as Mountain View was able to inbound the ball after each ensuing foul.
   Simon Currie sealed the win when he made two free throws in the game's final seconds.
   The Cowboys are hoping some of their momentum will carry over when they host a tough Redmond squad tonight at 7 p.m.
   "If our guys can come out with the same intensity and same focus, it will be one heck of a game in the gym on Friday night," said Lowenbach.