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Cougars pound the boards to stay in the playoff chase


Clackamas is just one game out of the playoffs after an 80-72 win over Mt. Hood CC

by: PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: DAVID BALL - Clackamas CC's Matt Bryant splits a pair of Mt. Hood defenders to get to the basket during the second half of Wednesday's 80-72 home win.

OREGON CITY — The Mt. Hood Community College men’s basketball team went cold down the stretch and suffered an 80-72 loss at Clackamas CC on Wednesday night.

Neither team could pull away by more than a few baskets until Clackamas put on a surge down the stretch, dominated by second-chance points. Parkrose High graduate Jordan Mosby-Barber set the stage with putbacks on back-to-back possessions, highlighted when he snatched a missed 3-point try above the rim and put it in off the glass before his feet touched the ground.

“We turned our effort up a notch,” Barber said. “It definitely made a difference. You get those offensive boards and the entire team feeds off that energy.”

The Cougars continued to attack the glass with Kirby Hawkins crashing inside to put a missed 3 over the front of the rim, extending the lead to 69-63 as the clock rolled under two minutes.

Clackamas used the full shot clock on its next trip down court before hoisting a shot that clipped the rim. But once again, it was the Cougars who came down with the ball. This time, Brock Lutes reached over the top of a Mt. Hood player to pull down the board forcing the Saints into fouling with less than a minute on the clock.

The Cougars went 9-for-10 (.900), and grabbed the rebound on their only miss from the line.

The win pulls Clackamas (5-6) into a tie with Mt. Hood for fifth place in the South Region — both trailing Portland CC (6-5) by a single game in the chase for the final playoff berth.

Mt. Hood took its biggest lead at 9-3 in the opening minutes after three quick passes scrambled the defense, giving guard Landon Rushton space to drive to the basket for a layup.

Steals on back-to-back possessions would bring Clackamas back into the game quickly and it would remain close throughout the first half.

The Saints went up 33-30 late when Barlow High graduate Brock Otis dribbled to the middle, then spun back toward the baseline and put an 8-footer off the glass. But Clackamas would take a two-point lead into the locker room after Grant Sitton beat the buzzer with a running 3-pointer.

The lead changed hands 10 times in the second half with the Saints going ahead for the final time on a 3 by Rushton with 5:40 to play.

Clackamas responded with Michone Hopkins converting a reverse layup before the Cougars pulled away by attacking the boards late.

Mt. Hood was held to 11 of 37 (.297) shooting in the second half, while Clackamas converted at a 50-percent clip.

Rushton led the Saints with 17 points, while Blake Updike added 13.

The Cougars had six players score in double figures led by Kirby Hawkins with 14 points.