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for the Burns Times-Herald
With two more games in the win column last week, the Crane Mustang boys earned a trip to the State 1A Championship Tournament. The tournament will take place in Baker City Wednesday, Feb. 27, through Saturday, March 2. Crane will match up against the Elkton Elks on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Baker City High gym.
Crane hosted the Cove Leopards Wednesday, Feb. 20, in their first game of the playoff bracket, and came out on top 61-57 in overtime.
The game was fought hard, and the lead changed hands several times. Crane had a 16-14 edge at the end of the first quarter, and led 30-27 at the half.
Zalin Arritola, Nic Nyman and Travis Landon hit three-pointers to start the Mustangs scoring in the third period, and Crane went into the final period up 48-37.
But the Leopards turned things around over the next eight minutes, taking advantage of Crane’s turnovers to outscore the Mustangs 16-5 and tie the game up, 53-53.
Crane settled down again in the overtime period and took the ball to the inside for points, drawing fouls and converting on the charity stripe to seal the game and advance in the playoffs.
1 2 3 4 OT Final
Cra 16 14 18 5 8 61
Cov 14 13 10 16 4 57
On Friday, Feb. 20, the Mustangs were in action against the Triad Timberwolves of Klamath Falls. Crane downed Triad 69-55, giving the Mustangs a berth in this weekend’s state 1A tournament.
The lead went back and forth over the first three quarters of Friday’s game, as both teams understood a loss ended their season.
The Mustangs were up 14-12 after one quarter, but shortly into the second period, the Timberwolves full-court press resulted in a turnover and a basket for 14-all. Turnovers plagued the Mustangs, and the Timberwolves capitalized on their own possessions. Triad’s offense relied on their quick moves to the basket and pushing the ball up the court, and Triad went up 28-26 at the half.
Triad continued to wreak havoc on Crane in the third quarter, with one of the quickest defensive transitions that Crane had seen. Any lapse of ball control by the Mustangs resulted in steals and lay-ins for the Timberwolves, and they soon had a 34-26 lead. Crane called a time-out at 6:32, and came out of it to battle back into the game. Tyler Opie scored, followed by Nyman and Arritola. The Mustangs started to rebound better on both ends of the court. Over the rest of the third period, and into the fourth quarter, the lead changed many times.
Midway through the final eight minutes, Triad tied the score, 53-53, and called a time-out. The Mustangs took the floor with possession of the ball and took control of the game’s outcome for good. Opie opened up the last four minutes with two points, then hit Arritola under the basket for four more. Landon gave Crane a 10-point lead with just over one minute remaining. Arritola found Matt Witzel wide open under the basket for two more, and Witzel connected on two free throws at the end of the game for the Mustang win, 69-55.
Arritola and Nyman scored in every quarter to keep the Mustangs in position to win. Arritola led Crane with 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists. Nyman dropped in 22 points and grabbed nine defensive boards in the winning effort to extend his last year in the Mustangs uniform. Opie added seven points and eight rebounds, Witzel five points and eight boards. Landon had four points and Corbin Hammond one.
1 2 3 4 Final
Cra 14 12 19 24 69
Tri 12 16 13 14 55