By Jeremy McDonald
MOUNT ANGEL, Ore.– The scoreboard won’t do Gervais’ valiant effort against one of 2A’s best in Kennedy.
The Trojans won 68-37 in the Tri-River Conference contest, but for the first 16 minutes of the game it had felt like an eight-point game with Kennedy leading 36-22 at the halftime break.
That fourteen-point lead though, came on the heels of the Cougars rallying to tie the game up at 19 a minute into the second quarter. That was preceded by the Trojans pushing ahead 19-14 following Gervais’ hanging around with Diego Contreras tying the game up at 14 with a minute left in the first quarter.
It was one of those stretches that caught the Trojans off-guard as the Cougars looks to make a push for a league playoff spot by season’s end.
“It started really well. It was one of the best moments just keeping up because they’re a great team in 2A so it’s a pretty good accomplishment,” Gotti Ramon said. “All around. Our defense was unstoppable in the first quarter. Offense, we were good too. But I would say mainly defense.”
Ramon had a four-point stretch there in the first quarter that tied the game up at eight midway through the first quarter with the Trojans not being able to shake Gervais’ strong start to the game.
“We came out really slow, a little low on energy. As the game progressed, we stepped up and got a lot of transition points and just got into the groove of things,” Kennedy’s Riley Cantu said. “I thought we caused a lot of turnovers; we were just more aggressive on defense and just brought the energy on that side of the ball that led to offensive points for us.
Cantu led the Trojans with 25 points, nine coming in the second quarter alone as Kennedy began to wake up. Starting about the seven-minute mark and the next forty-five seconds the Trojans turned a quick 7-0 run.
That run eventually evolved into the 17-3 run that got Kennedy the halftime lead that they built from in the second half. But though it felt closer than it appeared with Gervais missing a few opportunities that could’ve got it to single-digits, they weren’t able to sustain that first quarter energy throughout.
“Just work hard. Keep practicing our shooting, we’ll get up there and eventually we’ll win some,” Ramon said on how they can build from this game.
The Cougars travel to play Sheridan on Thursday as Ramon finished with 12 points. Juan Esquivel had a team-high 13 points for Gervais.
For the Trojans, who play a Santiam team coming from an off-night following a last second cancellation from Colton, they’ll look to come out stronger against the shooters that the Wolverines have.
“Bring the energy on the bench, on the court, run what we run and stick to the things we’ve practiced and play hard the whole game,” Cantu said.
Luke Beyer contributed eight points. Stephan Salinas and Brett Boen each contributed six in the win for Kennedy.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald