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Cowboys keep season alive with 66-65 win over Ravens - Central Oregonian

February 23, 2014
Crook County High School

Seth Kessi hit a dramatic 3-point shot at the buzzer to give the Crook County Cowboys a thrilling 66-65 Special District 1 victory over the Ridgeview Ravens Monday night in Prineville.

Kessi, who finished the game with 15 points, hit the shot from at least four feet behind the 3-point arc, giving the Cowboys just their third win of the season and evening the two teams Special District 1 record at 1-1. 

“It feels amazing,” said an excited Kessi following the game. “Now we only have one more game against these guys. With this momentum we can win the next one and that’s a playoff berth right there.”


It wouldn’t actually be a playoff berth, nonetheless, should the Cowboys win the third and final meeting between the two teams, Crook County would earn a play-in game, and a shot at reaching the playoffs.

The last-second heroics by Kessi was just one in a series of dramatic plays as the Cowboys, who trailed the entire game, came from behind for the big win.

The two teams traded baskets for much of the first quarter. When Andrew Sofich hit a 3-pointer midway through the quarter the two teams were tied 9-9. After a pair of Ridgeview baskets, Sofich made a pair of free throws to make the score 14-12 Ridgeview. The Ravens then scored the final four points of the quarter to take an 18-12 lead. Kessi hit a basket to open the second quarter, as the Cowboys closed to within four points at 18-14. However, Ridgeview responded scoring eight of the next 10 points as they opened up a 26-16 lead.

The Cowboys slowly clawed their way back into the contest, but still trailed 34-30 at the half.

“I think the boys have been learning that if they keep playing hard and keep playing together they have a chance,” said Crook County Head Coach Darin Kessi. “Now they have a sense of belief. They know that the other team is going to make some runs, it’s part of the ebb and flow of the game, but there’s a feeling of calm now where before when a team would make a run we just didn’t have the mental strength to come back.”

The Cowboys continued to claw back into the game in the third quarter and finally took a short-lived lead on a basket by Sofich with two minutes remaining in the third quarter.

However, the Ravens quickly regained the lead scoring the next seven points of the contest to lead 49-44.

The Ravens continued to lead, holding on to a 51-46 lead at the end of the third period and extending their lead to 53-46 before the Cowboys once again closed the gap. When Carl Kilthau hit a 3-pointer with five minutes remaining in the contest as the Cowboys closed to within a bucket at 55-53.

Ridgeview responded, scoring six of the next eight points to lead 61-60 with two minutes remaining in the contest.

On the ensuing play Sofich drove the middle only to have the ball knocked away. Sofich and Ridgeview’s Tony Stanton both dove for the ball with Sofich landing on top of Stanton.

As the officials called a jump ball Stanton pushed Sofich away and then stood and threw a punch, failing to connect. Stanton then threw the ball at Kohlter Kee and both players were assessed technical fouls. Several Redmond coaches then ran on the floor fearing that a fight was breaking out. After a lengthy discussion the officials called a technical foul on the Redmond bench, but did not eject either Stanton nor the Redmond coaches even though the rules call for automatic ejections for the infractions. 

Kessi made one of the two technical foul shots to make the score 61-56. Then Kee was fouled going to the basket as Redmond Head Coach Nathan Colvill was assessed a technical foul for running on the court to protest that the clock did not start properly on the play. Once again the officials did not appear to properly administer the technical foul as they previous technical should have been assigned to the head coach. That would have made Colvil’s technical his second, which would have required his ejection from the contest.

Kee made two of the four free throws as the Cowboyss closed to within three points at 61-58. A basket by Sofich made the score 61-60. Leading by one, the Ravens attempted to run the clock out. Kee committed a foul and Ridgeview’s Tanner O’Neal made one of two free throws to give the Ravens a two point lead. After a Crook County turnover, the Cowboys fouled again and Justin Alvarez made one of two free throws to extend the Raven lead to 63-60.

Then with 10 seconds remaining Ricky Hernandez got an offensive rebound for the Cowboys, dribbled out to the 3-point line and calmly drilled the shot for his only points of the game. With the score tied 63-63 the Ravens called time out and set up an inbounds play.

George Mendazona was able to take the inbounds pass and drive the length of the court to score with two seconds left to give the Ravens a 65-63 lead.

On the ensuing inbounds play Kessi hit his shot and the Cowboys escaped with the win.

Sofich finished the game with 20 points to lead all scorers, while Kee was also in double figures with 12.

Sofich also led the Cowboys in rebounds with 12, while Kee added seven and Kessi finished with five rebounds and five assists to go with his 15 points.

“It keeps the season alive,” Sofich said of the win. “It feels good to beat a team like Ridgeview. I think practice will be a lot more intentional now and there will be a lot more focus because now it’s personal between us and Ridgeview.”


Mendazona led the Ravens in scoring with 17 points, while Alvarez added 16 and O’Neal and Garrett Albrecht each finished with 11.

The Cowboys had one of their best shooting nights of the year, going 7-16 from beyond the 3-point arc, and hitting 23-49 shots overall (47 percent). Meanwhile, the Ravens shot nearly as well hitting 23 of 52 shots (44 percent).

With the win the Cowboys move to 3-17 on the year while the Ravens fell to 9-11.

“That’s the biggest win for our program since I’ve started,” Kessi said. “What I loved about tonight was we knew that they would have the potential to be a little over-emotional and get frustrated so we wanted to be able to handle the adversity and let them be the team that had trouble keeping their composure and I thought we did a good job of that and we did a good job of keeping our poise.”

The Cowboys travel to Redmond tonight to take on the Panthers, then play at Ridgeview on Tuesday with the winner taking the Special District 1 title and earning the league’s lone play-in berth. Ridgeview, is ranked 23rd in the latest power rankings so is still in the hunt for an at large berth. However, the Cowboys have fallen to 41st in the latest ranking so have no opportunity to earn an at large berth.

“It’s going to be a big game,” Kessi said. “Ridgeview’s a really solid team that has been playing well lately. We are going to have to be ready to play.”

Crook County 66, Ridgeview 65

Ridgeview (65) — George Mendazona 17, Alvarez 16, O’Neal 11, Albrecht 11, Bowman 5, Stiles 2, Stanton 2, Hovey 1. Totals 16 11-20 65.

Crook County (66) — Andrew Sofich 20, Kessi 15, Kee 12, Kilthau 7, Bartels 5, Hernandez 3, Villagomez 4. Totals 16 13-28 66.

Ridgeview 18 16 17 14 — 65

Crook County 12 18 16 20 — 66

Three-point goals — not available.

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