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Cougars stay in playoff hunt with road win

Clackamas leads throughout during an 81-71 win at Mt. Hood


by: ESTACADA NEWS: DAVID BALL - Clackamas CC guard Tim Lott turns away Mt. Hoods Denzel Green during the Cougars 81-71 road win last week.The Clackamas CC men’s basketball team delivered at crunch time last week to pick up a key 81-71 win over rival Mt. Hood.

The visiting Cougars took a 59-45 lead midway through the second half after Grant Sitton swished a 3-pointer with a defender flying toward him.

But Mt. Hood’s Blake Updike got hot at the other end of the court. After being stopped on a back-to-back drives into the lane, Updike stayed on the perimeter and hit a 3. On the next trip down court he swished another, this time from a step farther back. Moments later, he was on the move again, hitting a fade-away jumper from the free-throw line that slice the margin to seven points.

The Saints kept the charge going when Denzel Green followed up a teammate’s miss with a two-handed slam that brought the crowd to its feet. Green added a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to bring Mt. Hood within 67-63 with 3:20 to play.

Strangely enough, Mt. Hood’s comeback came to an end on a miss by the Cougars.

The Saints grabbed the rebound and guard Jalen Thomas used a spin move at halfcourt to leave three defenders in his wake. But Mt. Hood failed to convert on the fastbreak opportunity when Brandon Halter blocked a shot attempt under the basket. All of those Cougars in the backcourt were now prime targets, and Halter let loose with a length of the court pass to Tim Lott, who was left with an easy layin at the far end.

Clackamas put the game out of reach by going 10-for-10 at the free-throw line over the final two minutes. Spencer Bankhofier knocked down four of them.

Lott led all scorers with 27 points, while Halter poured in 21. Green led the Saints with 16 points and eight rebounds. Mt. Hood shot just 25 for 69 (.362), while Clackamas connected on better than half of its shots.

The Cougars’ win leaves them tied with Mt. Hood for the fourth and final playoff spot at the halfway point of the league season.



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