For three quarters of a Class 4A Cowapa League boys basketball matchup between the Valley Catholic Valiants and the Tillamook High Cheesemakers it certainly appeared that a win was up for grabs in what was a close, evenly played contest.
The Mooks (1-6 Cowapa League, 2-8 overall) trailed by just seven midway through the third quarter and a victory was undoubtedly within their reach. However, the Valiants (4-4 league, 4-6 overall) took control of the contest with a 10-0 run in the final quarter to build a double digit advantage and they maintained their momentum until the end for a 62-42 win Wednesday at Valley Catholic High School in Beaverton.
The Mooks, guided by third-year coach Johnny Begin, will be seeking to get their next win Wednesday, June 23, against a yet to be determined opponent when they compete in a three-day season ending tournament June 24-26 at Seaside High School.
"This is a growth year for us, because we're really young and we only have one senior (Isaac Hornbeak)," said Begin. "For him to come out here and continue playing after he's already graduated is just a good testament to his character. He's a class act and he's one of those kids that works his tail off in practice. Other seniors have moved on with their life and are doing their own thing. It's just great that Isaac is sticking with his team until the end and I'm really proud of him for doing that. Everyone else is just fighting for a spot for next year and we're just hoping to see some improvement in those guys."
Tillamook played it's final league contest Friday against the Banks Braves. The Mooks followed with nonleague games June 19 against the Estacada Rangers and June 22 versus the North Marion Huskies (results unavailable because of Headlight Herald press deadline).
On June 12, the Cheesemakers recorded an impressive victory with a 72-31 win over the Class 5A North Bend Bulldogs (4-7). The day before, Tillamook lost 45-38 to the Marshfield Pirates (10-3). On June 14, Tillamook lost 63-48 to the Seaside Seagulls (5-2, Cowapa League, 8-3 overall).
In a seesaw first quarter that included four lead changes, Tillamook took a 3-0 lead when sophomore guard Trask Petersen (14 points) sank three free throws after he was fouled on a three-point field goal attempt.
After the Valiants moved in front 5-3 with a 5-0 run, junior Marshall Allen (six pts.) sank two from the line, knotting it 5-5. Petersen sank a three-pointer from the top of the arc to help Tillamook regain the lead at 8-7.
Valley Catholic then outscored Tillamook 11-8 to build a 19-15 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Valiants then extended their advantage to 23-15 early in the second. The Mooks then got the momentum going in their favor with a 9-0 run, capped by a three pointer from the top of the arc by junior Colton Seals (14 pts.), putting Tillamook back in front for the final time at 24-23.
Valley Catholic responded with a 7-3 run to take a 30-27 halftime advantage. The Valiants then extended their lead to 36-27 early in the third, forcing a Tillamook timeout with 6:06 on the clock.
Tillamook came back, trimming the margin to 38-31 with 4:50 left in the third, while keeping their hopes alive of a possible come-from-behind win. That was the turning point of the game though as the Mooks wouldn't get any closer for the remainder of the contest.
The much more experienced Valiants (five seniors) built a double-digit lead at 47-35 after three quarters and the Mooks were unable to get to within single digits again. A 10-0 Valiant run at the outset of the fourth made it 57-35.
"It's tough losing like this, especially after we were right there in the third with a chance to win," said Begin. "Then we just had a gap where we just couldn't seem to get anything going and we fell behind by double digits in the fourth quarter. We had good ball movement early in the game and we were hitting our open shots in the first half. I'm proud of the kids, they competed and they never gave up by any means. We just have to put four quarters of good basketball together, but we haven't really been able to do that this season."
A young Mooks squad (two freshmen) with just one senior in Isaac Hornbeack, had trouble penetrating the Valiants tough, aggressive two-three zone defense and they just couldn't get untracked offensively.
"We were doing pretty good in the first half, but then shortly after halftime something happened and we just couldn't figure out how to turn things around," said Hornbeak. "We weren't getting a whole lot of good looks on inside shots, so most of our offense was from the outside. It's definitely been quite a different season from what we normally have had in the past, but I'm just glad to be out here playing. We weren't even sure if we were going to be able to play this year."
The Mooks first points of the fourth came with just 2:25 left when freshman Tanner Hoskins fired in a three-pointer from the corner, making it 57-38.