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Cougars sink Cowboys

Last second shot lifts Mountain View past CC in ovetime thriller

by: FRED HOUSTON JR./CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Senior Sean Santucci, left, put up seven points against Mountain View on Friday.

A full crowd received almost everything they could have wished for in a basketball game when Crook County hosted the Mountain View Cougars on Friday. For Cowboys fans, the only thing to be desired was a win.
   With only seconds left on the clock, Cougar Matt Laszlo got hold of a ball just passed into play, and took it for a run, laying up for the winning points in overtime. Taking time out to set up the play, Crook County used the last few seconds in a three-point attempt to steal the game, but fate sided with the Cougars, and the attempt remained simply an attempt. The Cougars have now handed the Cowboys two close defeats this season, this one, 66-64, closer than the first.
   "Even though we came up a little short both times, they played with class, they lost with class," said coach Jeff Lowenbach. "And when we win, we win with class and that's a big thing for Crook County basketball."
   Rory Priday stepped up as the team's sharpshooter for the game. He put away five three-point shots over the course of the game, four of which were in the second quarter.
   When the first quarter left the Cowboys with an 11-6 deficit to conquer, they set a steady pace in the second to draw alongside the Cougars. When the quarter was half gone, Carter Gill put the ball out to the top of the arc. Priday looked for a pass inside, then, when none came quickly, took aim for his second three-point basket, giving the Cowboys their first lead, 19-17, since Court Abell earned the first hoop in the game. Crook County kept the lead for most of the rest of the quarter, until a last second free throw exchange sent the two teams tied into the half, 31-31.
   When Mountain View had played host to Crook County, the Cowboys had held the lead right up until the end of the game, when the Cougars pulled away for a win. The lead would change hands half a dozen times during Friday's game, however, and the Cowboys were on the Cougars' heals for most of the third quarter.
   The fourth quarter would see leads for both teams, but Mountain View managed to hold a couple of points over the Cowboys heads the majority of the time. While the final minute counted down, a volley of penalty shooting commenced. With seven seconds remaining, Crook County found themselves three points down, 57-54.
   Kyle Huntley set the ball in play from the defensive goal-line. Priday swung wide to shake a defenseman, and received the ball near the right bounds. Taking a short drive center, Priday was met by pressure from the Cougars, and took a last awkward shot behind the arc, reaching around a defensive player. The shot was a clean score, and earned the Cowboys overtime to try and take the lead.
   The last four minutes were hard fought, but the Cowboys found themselves in a similar situation, but with less time, and failed to convert the same play the second time.
   "We're disappointed with the outcome," said Priday, "We're not disappointed with the effort. We played hard tonight, we played our hearts out. That's how every game should be played."
   Hood River Valley 67, Crook County 46
   Worn out from their emotional loss Friday, the Cowboys came out flat Saturday and were defeated on the road by Hood River Valley 67-46.
   Thomas McCarthy led Crook County, who drops to 4-7 IMC, 8-11 overall, with 11 points.
   They travel to Hermiston (Friday, 7 p.m.) and Pendleton (Saturday, 2:45 p.m.) this weekend.