St. Marys 65
Coquille 62

On Friday, the St. Mary’s Crusaders traveled to Coquille to take on the Red Devils in what was, in many ways, a must win contest for both teams. The packed, loud gym testified to the fact that everyone understood the game’s implications.

St. Mary’s Jaden Foster easily controlled the tip off and teammate Noah Friesen took advantage of an open look and hit a quick three pointer to open the game. Coquille came right down and matched it with a quick three of their own. For the next few minutes, both teams traded points back and forth in a hard fought contest until Coquille went on a run late in the first quarter to end with a ten point 24-14 lead.

Opening the second quarter, the Red Devils caught fire hitting three point shot after shot, and pushing their lead to 20 points. With minutes left in the half and the game hanging precariously in the balance, St. Mary’s head coach Kyle Walker called a time out. Using the opportunity to refocus his team and inspire them to fight, the Crusaders came out looking like a different team, going on a furious 16 unanswered point run. The home team finally ended their drought just before halftime with Coquille up 40-32.

The second half opened up once again with each team battling physically to settle into their game. The Red Devils refused to give up their lead, but the Crusaders continued to chip away at the deficit. Despite an unbalanced foul differential in the third quarter—11 against St. Mary’s versus 2 for the home team at one point, the Crusaders refused to go away and made up ground ending the quarter down 54-48.

The final quarter was poised to be an epic finish. Coquille desperately clung to their lead, but St. Mary’s refused to be put away. In a pivotal moment before the final horn, St. Mary’s senior guard Tyson Delplanche, an all-defensive league selection last season, went to the floor on defense diving after a loose ball. A Red Devil player jumped through the air, landing on Delplanche’s head, slamming his face into the court and breaking his nose. While he was unable to continue, his teammates rallied around his fearless effort and came out of the ensuing timeout with a previously unseen focus and determination.

With under fifty seconds to go in the contest and his team down by one point, senior Noah Friesen hit a clutch three pointer to add to his game high 28 points and give his team their first lead since early in the first quarter, at 61-59. The Red Devils missed their next shot and were forced to start fouling. Kayden Walker was quickly fouled and stepped up to the charity stripe to cooly hit both ends of a one-and-one and give the Crusaders a 4 point lead. However, Coquille also refused to go away easily, and quickly hit a deep, acrobatic three pointer to cut the lead to one point. The Crusaders got the ball in again to Walker, who was fouled with just 3.6 seconds left on the clock. However, after a conference amongst the officials, they changed the remaining time to 5.2 seconds, despite objections from Coach Walker. Once again Kayden Walker proved unflappable, hitting both free throws and pushing the Crusader lead back to three. Coquille was unable to push the ball up the court in time to get a good look and were forced to heave a desperation shot from beyond half court. St. Mary’s came away with a hard fought 65-62 win.

The entire Crusader team showed grit and toughness and simply refused to give up despite facing huge deficits and a hostile environment. Coach Walker praised his team saying, “It was a big win for us. These guys will just never give up. To be down by twenty on the road and fight back speaks volumes about their character.” The Crusaders kept their post season hopes alive with this win and will visit Glide High School next Wednesday.

Scoring Breakdown:
Coquille Red Devils
11 Peyton Leep- 3
14 Gardner Scolari-10
15 Hunter Layton-7
21 Zak Farmer-2
23 Canyon Luckman-6
24 Hayden GeDeros-22
30 Dean Tucker-12
31 Isaac Felton
35 Aiden Haan

St. Mary’s Crusaders
Kent David- 5
Noah Friesen-28
TJ Flowers- 2
Chris Kranenburg- 2
Jaden Foster- 3
Kayden Walker- 11
Tyson Delplanche- 6
Heemir Patel- 8

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Brian Pannell


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