Cascade Christian 52 – De La Salle 51
In a game of ebbs and flows, Cascade Christian emerged on top to earn the chance to defend their state title Saturday night. The Challengers and Knights took turns making runs as this game see-sawed back and forth to the very end. Several times it looked like Cascade would run away and hide from De La Salle, only to have the Knights battle back in it.
The teams would play to a 14-all tie after one period, then Cascade appeared to start to take control, eventually taking a six-point lead, 29-23 into the locker room. The Knights were not going to go away quietly, however as they battled back to enter the fourth only down four points.
A frenetic fourth quarter started with a Cascade turnover and bucket by Jaylen Hill to cut the Cascade lead to two. The next four-plus minutes saw the Challengers extend their lead to seven points and, again appear on the verge of putting the game away with a 46-39 lead and only 2:47 left in the game. The Knights then put on another run with help from the Challengers, as they committed four fouls over the next 1:18. De La Salle converted six of eight free throws and found themselves only down one with 1:29 left. After two Cascade Christian free throws a huge three-pointer by Elliot Ball-Downing tied the game at 48 with 1:16 left. After a Brian Morse timeout the Challengers set up a nice play from Austin Maurer to Drew Hall to regain a two-point lead with 36 seconds remaining. From there, a big De La Salle turnover forced them to foul and put the Challengers on the line where they split a couple pair of free-throws to extend the lead to four, 52-48 with just eight ticks left. A last second three by the Knights provided the final score of 52-51 and a shot for a Cascade Christian to repeat as state champions.
Austin Maurer led the way for the Challengers with 18 points and 17 rebounds and Drew Hall chipped in with 13 points. The Knights were led by Quincy Aranda’s 12 points and Jaylen Hill’s double-double of 10 points and 10 boards.
Cascade Christian will now take on #1 seed Westside Christian March 4th at 8:30 p.m. for the 3A state championship. The two teams met back in December with the Challengers coming out with a convincing 57-26 victory. I don’t think anyone expects that kind of lopsided affair this time however, and the Challengers will need their best effort to bring home another state title for Coach Morse.