Crook County is blasted by both Woodcreek, Californian, and Clackamas as team struggles to handle pressure

CENTRAL OREGONIAN FILE PHOTO - Thaiden Mullan hits a 3-pointer in a game earlier this year against Redmond. Mullan had three 3-pointers Tuesday against Woodcreek, California. Mullan added another three on Wednesday against Clackamas. Crook County lost both games. The Crook County Cowboys are struggling right now.

After a strong performance at La Pine less than two weeks ago, the Cowboys dropped three basketball games at the Les Schwab South Coast Classic.

The last two games in that tournament especially stung as they were both close losses.

With just one day to prepare after the tournament in Marshfield, the Cowboys then had the daunting task of playing in the Capital City Classic, a tournament held at Willamette University in Salem.

The tournament features some of the top teams on the West Coast, and the first two games in the four-day tournament have not gone well for the Cowboys.

Crook County was whipped 71-35 Tuesday evening by the Woodcreek Timberwolves, a school from Roseville, California.

Then Wednesday, the Cowboys had even more trouble as they fell 83-24 to the Clackamas Cavaliers, last year's Class 6A state runner-up.

"Tuesday we competed well in the first half," Crook County head coach Darin Kessi said. "Their pressure got to us in the second half, but we played hard. Then, today (Wednesday) was a rough one against Clackamas. "

Woodcreek won the Northern California Open Division championship a year ago, then went on to finish second in California's highest division of basketball, compiling a 32-3 record.

The Timberwolves received bad news when starting center Jordan Brown unexpectedly transferred shortly before the school year started.

However, Woodcreek is still loaded with talent, including 6-7 senior post Chris Cagle and 6-2 point guard Delis Boggs-Smith.

The Timberwolves, who have six players taller than the tallest Crook County player, used their height to good advantage against the Cowboys. However, it was their quickness that eventually proved to be the difference.

Crook County hung with Woodcreek for the first quarter, trailing just 14-10 at the end of the period.

The Cowboys continued to stay close for much of the second quarter before the Timberwolves went on a late run, taking a 34-20 lead into the half.

Woodcreek upped the defensive pressure in the second half, outscoring Crook County 20-6 in the third period to open up a 54-26 lead.

Playing their bench, the Timberwolves continued to pull away in the fourth quarter, outscoring the Cowboys 17-9 as they coasted to the easy win.

The Cowboys were led by Chase Bales (6-2) with 12 points and Thaiden Mullan (6-1) with 11. However, the remainder of the Crook County team struggled to score, as just six Cowboys earned points in the contest. Jacob Kasberger (6-1) added four points, while Dominic Langley (5-10) and Holt Porfily (6-2) each had three, while Jordan Graydon (6-2) finished with two.

Meanwhile, a balanced Woodcreek attack had four players in double figures.

Cagle led the Timberwolves with 14 points, while Carter Krupp (6-1) added 12, and Boggs-Smith and Kyle Kern (6-7) each pitched in with 11. Five other Timberwolves also scored, including Isiah Tolbert (6-0), who finished with eight.

Woodcreek defeated McNary 54-52 in overtime Wednesday night to advance to the tournament semifinals where they faced Skyview, Washington, on Thursday.

Then Wednesday, the Cowboys had even more trouble as they fell 83-24 to the Clackamas Cavaliers, last year's Class 6A state runner-up.

Clackamas, which has been in the top echelons of Class 6A basketball for several seasons, has struggled early in the season, dropping games to Jesuit, Grant and McNary, but had no trouble with the Cowboys.

The Cowboys looked tired early in the contest, and the Cavaliers took advantage. Clackamas used relentless pressure, forcing the Cowboys into numerous turnovers as they rolled to a 24-2 lead at the end of the first period.

The Cavaliers continued to pressure early in the second quarter before finally taking their press off. The Cavaliers led 45-13 at the half, 67-21 at the end of the third quarter, and continued to throttle the Cowboy offense in the fourth period as they outscored Crook County 16-3.

Once again, just six Cowboys scored in the contest, led by Bales with nine. Porfily chipped in with six, while Mullan had three and Langley, Shane Kessi (5-11) and Will Combee (6-2) each scored two.

Clackamas was led by 6-7 David Aspidov with 23 points, while 5-11 Russell Gray added 11. Dane Agost (6-7) and Artur Gavrilovich (5-7) were also in double figures with 10 points apiece.

"Honestly, they were two of the best teams that Crook County has probably ever seen," Kessi said of the competition. "Those teams could play basketball, that's for sure."

The Cowboys played the Stayton Eagles on Thursday, with the tournament concluding Friday.

"They (Stayton) have a pretty big team, but I think that we can play against them," Kessi said. "At least they are a 4A school, and it will show us how we stack up against top 4A competition. It's not easy to compete with those big teams, but we thought that if we executed we could compete."

Woodcreek (California) 71, Crook County 35

Tuesday, December 19

At Willamette University

Woodcreek 14 20 20 17 — 71

Crook County 10 10 6 9 — 35

Woodcreek — Chris Cagle 14, Krupp 12, Kern 11, Boggs-Smith 11, Tolbert 8, Zaya 4, Covello 4, Cooke 5, Sidhu 2, Hearl, Habermehl, Braner. Totals: 26 16-20 71.

Crook County — Chase Bales 12, Mullan 11, Kasberger 4, Porfily 3, Langley 3, Graydon 2, Savage, Bishop, Kessi, Humeston, Combee. Totals: 13 3-5 35.

Three-point goals — Woodcreek: Kern, Cook, Boggs-Smith. Crook County: Mullan 3, Porfily, Kasberger, Bales.

Clackamas 83, Crook County 24

Wednesday, December 20

At Willamette University

Clackamas 24 21 22 16 — 83

Crook County 2 11 8 3 — 24

Clackmas — David Aspidov 23, Gray 11, Agost 10, Gavrilovich 10, Turner 9, Bletko 9, Alstrom 7, Sofia 4, McDonald, Jaha, Modjeski, Kennewell. Totals: 34 8-11 81.

Crook County — Chase Bales 9, Porfily 6, Mullan 3, Kessi 2, Langley 2, Combee 2, Kasberger, Savage, Bishop, Humeston. Totals: 8 5-9 24.

Three-point goals — Clackamas: Aspidov 3, Gavrilovich 2, Alstrom, Bletko. Crook County: Porfily 2, Mullan.

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