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Shields beats No. 1 team with a 3 at the horn

Damascus Christian boys advance to 1A's Final Four


THE OUTLOOK: DAVID BALL - Damascus Christian coach Terry Calhoun called timeout with 0:07 left to design a final play, as the Eagles knocked off No. 1 Yoncalla in the 1A quarterfinals Thursday.



1A BOYS BASKETBALL
State quarterfinals

Team Score
#3 Damascus Christian
45
#1 Yoncalla
42


Damascus Christian senior Ben Shields scored three times down the stretch, pushing the Eagles in front on the scoreboard each time. That clutch shooting stretch ended with a 3-pointer at the horn that gave the Eagles a 45-42 win over top-ranked Yoncalla in Thursday's 1A quarterfinal game in Baker City.

Damascus appeared to be in trouble trailing 33-26 with less than five minutes to play after an Eagles' player was hit with a technical foul.

Rather than imploding, the Valley 10 champs rallied.

“We had to go to an aggressive defense, speed the game up and force them into some hurried shots,” Eagles coach Terry Calhoun said.

Shields knocked down a 3-pointer and point guard Hunter Straub swiped a steal and beat everyone down the floor for a layup. The comeback continued when David Zakuaryuk drew a charge on the defensive end that turned into points on a 3 by Ryan Patrick.

Damascus scored eight points in less than a minute, and it wasn't done yet.

Patrick knocked down another long ball to tie the score 37-37 as the clock ticked under three minutes to play.

The teams traded the lead three times down the stretch with Yoncalla's Will Shaw tying the game 42-42 on a free-throw-line jumper with 0:23 on the clock.

Damascus drained the clock to seven seconds and called timeout to design a final shot.

“We wanted to get Hunter inside and see if we could draw a foul and get to the line,” Eagles' coach Terry Calhoun said.

The final play saw Straub dribble into the lane where he was surrounded by three defenders. Ryan Patrick was an escape option in the corner of the court, but that passing lane was blocked off. Shields watched the play develop and shifted into open space on the left wing hands up ready if a pass came his way. Straub took notice and sent the ball out just in time for Shields to fire the winning 3.

“It wasn't what we had drawn up, but I yelled his name and he kicked it out,” Shields said. “It was definitely a thrill to see that shot go in.”

“He never missed in the game and picked a great time to keep that streak going,” Calhoun laughed.

Damascus (25-3) advances to play in the semifinals against Valley 10 foe Columbia Christian at 3:15 p.m. today. Damascus won two of the three regular-season meetings with all of those games being decided by five points or less.

“After we stumbled at district, we made a pact that we needed a five-game win streak — it's a confident group,” Calhoun said.

The 1A championship game is set for 8:30 p.m. Saturday.

Damascus rushed to an 11-2 lead over Yoncalla on a series of 3-pointers by Straub and Shields. The team maintained the upper hand on a Patrick long ball to start the second quarter.

That proved to be their final basket before halftime, and Yoncalla took a 21-16 lead into the locker room. Yoncalla stretched the gap to 10 points, putting Damascus into catch-up mode for most of the second half.

Shields went 5-for-5 from the field and knocked down all four of his free throws to finish with a team-high 18 points, while Straub scored 10. Silas Marvin led the effort on the boards against a taller Yoncalla squad, finishing with a team-high six rebounds to go along with seven points.

Yoncalla was held to only 3 for 16 (.188) shooting from 3-point range and made barely half of its free throws. The team was also held scoreless for an eight-minute stretch that included most of the third quarter.

Zack Van Loon, 1A's top scorer, put up 18 points for Yoncalla, but did so on just 6 of 15 (.400) shooting.