1A girls hoops

Crane’s Riley Davis blocks Annie Bafford’s shot.

The Country Christian Cougars girls basketball team faced the top-ranked Crane Mustangs on the hardwood for the second time this season, but Wednesday’s rematch had higher stakes.

The Mustangs won 64-44 in the quarterfinals of the Class 1A state tournament at Baker High School, improving to 27-0.

Crane won the first game between the schools, 65-33, on Jan. 3 at Pendleton.

Although Wednesday’s result wasn’t what the Cougars, from Molalla, hoped for, they gained even more respect from their opponents.

“I thought their kids played as well as I have seen them all year,” Mustangs head coach Stub Travis said. “Country has a great program.”

From the moment the clock started to run Wednesday in the tournament’s opening game, the Mustangs put defensive pressure on the Cougars, leading to 14 turnovers.

Though Davis needed to make some adjustments during the game, he was impressed with how his undefeated team kept up the pace.

“We are a great defensive team at times,” Travis said.

Main component in stopping the Cougars offense was junior Riley Davis. As Crane’s center, Davis knew she had a role to fulfill in order to stop Country Christian’s momentum. She racked up 17 rebounds and six blocks.

“It was pretty big,” Davis said. “When I have a lot of players on me it keeps other players open.”

After a slow start, the Cougars began to sink their shots in transition. To keep his team fresh, Country Christian head coach Russell Halverson substituted frequently. The strategy was successful, with Crane leading just 35-25 at halftime.

“I want to have legs, our goal here is to get hardware and to advance,” Halverson said.

But things began to click in the second half for the Mustangs, who have beaten three other teams in the 8-team field this season — St. Paul, Mohawk and Joseph. Crane also beat Kennedy, the No. 1 seed in the Class 2A ranks.

In transition Wednesday the Mustangs kept the ball moving and found open players — in particular sophomore Kelsie Siegner, who had a game-high 23 points.

“Kelsie’s just a great shooter, she’s had a lot of games where she is scoring close to thirty,” Travis said.

Though they couldn’t stay within reach in the second half, Halverson isn’t discouraged. As a team with no contributing seniors, the Cougars are ready to take on the consolation side of the bracket to gain experience and fight to stay alive for a trophy.

“They got to perform on the floor, and if they can do that, that’s the next step.” Halverson said. “A lot of that came down to working through the fatigue.”

Crane, seeking its second state title (its first was in 2004) will face 5th-seeded Joseph Friday at noon in a championship semifinal.

COUNTRY CHRISTIAN (44)

Barden 2 0-0 6, Halverson 1 0-0 2, Syphard 3 0-1 6, Bafford 7 -2 14, Grandle 2 5-5 9, Huffstetler 0 0-0 0, Carrrillo 0 0-0 0, Shelton 1 0-0 2, Begley 1 1-1 3, Grant 0 0-0 0, Burruel 1 0-0 2, Warrington 0 0-0 0. Totals 18 6-9 44.

CRANE (64)

Hammack 1 0-0 2, Siegner 10 2-5 25, Clark 6 0-0 15, Davis 3 2-6 8, S. Doman 5 0-0 10, L. Doman 0 0-0 0, Carson 0 0-0 0, Thompson 0 0-0 0, Witzel 2 0-1 4, Zander 0 0-0 0. Totals 27 4-12 64.

Country Christian 14 11 9 10 — 44

Crane 22 13 15 14 — 64

Three-point baskets — Barden 2, Siegner 3, Clark 3. Total fouls — Country Christian 12, Crane 10.

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