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Huffman free throws win it in the end

Senior comes off bench and sinks game-winning foul shots with three seconds on the clock
by: Clinton Vining, Gama Olivares (above) had six points, two rebounds, two steals and an assist in the Rangers’ win over Cascade in their first home conference game last week. He led the Rangers in scoring with Jordan Nation against Gladstone on Friday. Each player had eight points.

Senior forward Andrew Huffman wasn't on the floor Tuesday night as a scoring threat, but with three seconds left he made two foul shots and won the game for the Rangers, 48-47, over Cascade.

'It feels awesome,' Huffman said after the game.

Huffman came off the bench to win the game. He hadn't played in the second half when Estacada head coach Kevin Kirchhofer put him in the game for his defensive prowess.

'When I put [Huffman] in we were down and it was just purely for defensive principle,' Kirchhofer said. 'He's a great defender, he's quick and he reads the game pretty well defensively … it was in my mind at that point to just get the ball back.'

Huffman did get the ball back and a chance to shoot one-and-one from the foul line and win the game, an opportunity his coach says he's been looking for.

'He's got ice in his veins,' Kirchhofer said. 'He loves that situation. He thrives for that situation. He plays it over and over in his mind and he pulled it out tonight.'

Until the win over Cascade, the Rangers had lost all of its closest games, losing two by just one point and another by two in overtime.

'Whew, we won a close one,' Kirchhofer said. 'That's a big win, coming off three tough losses, really tough losses. We needed this one tonight against a top-rated team.'

Cascade was ranked 10th in the state on the 4A Coaches Poll.

'They've got all the pieces. They've got some kids who can shoot. They've got an inside game. [Justin] Lowder is a big tough post, but Houston [Webb] did a great job inside against him.'

Starting guard Mike Ellis scored first for the Rangers, nailing a three-pointer early in the first quarter. He brought the Rangers within four at halftime with a buzzer-beater three-pointer to end the second quarter.

The Rangers trailed most of the game, until Cody Best fed Houston Webb the ball under the hoop for two. The play, with 23 seconds on the clock in the fourth, gave Best his third assist and Webb 20 points on the night.

Webb played well defensively, as well. He helped shut down Cascade's 6-foot-10 post Ryan Hibdon, who scored just a pair of free throws, and Lowder scored only nine points.

Cascade outscored the Rangers in all but the final quarter. The Cougars led 15-12 at the end of the first, 32-28 at half time and 39-34 after three quarters.

The Cougars went on a scoring drought in the fourth, scoring just one free throw in the final four minutes of play. EHS beat the Cougars 14-8 in the final period.

Gladstone 61 - Estacada 43

A 16-5 second quarter gave the Gladiators the edge in Friday night's Capital Conference match-up at Gladstone High School.

The Glads beat the Rangers 61-43, holding all of Estacada's scorers in the single digits.

Gama Olivares and Jordan Nation led the Rangers scoring effort with eight apiece. Olivares averages 8.9 points per game and Nation averages almost 8.5 ppg.

Webb, coming off a season high 20 points against Cascade and averaging 11.4 ppg, was held to just six. The junior did, however, lead the Rangers with seven rebounds.

Gladstone led 18-17 at the end of the first quarter, but claimed a demanding lead by halftime, going into the locker room with 34-21 on the scoreboard.

The Rangers played tough in the second half, only losing by two, 12-10, and four, 15-11 in the final two quarters, but didn't have enough steam to beat the Gladiators.

Gladstone improved to 1-1 in the Capital Conference and Estacada dropped to 1-2. The Rangers are 5-8 for the season and currently in fifth place in the conference standings.

The Rangers will play at North Marion at 7:15 p.m. on Friday.