By Jeremy McDonald
PENDLETON. Ore.– Kennedy played as well as they could Thursday afternoon. But Western Christian found, and took advantage of, those little opportunities to advance to the 2A State Semi-Final Round Friday. Defeating the Trojans 46-43
Kennedy led 6-0 early. Hung tough during the run the Pios made and rallied from a 28-20 halftime deficit to make it a 32-29 game. Challenging Western Christian inside, racking up three fouls on Chaz Storm to try to open their shot selection against the tough Pioneer defense.
But timely shots when Kennedy couldn’t do it, seemed to be the difference. Good defense by the Pios led to the difficulty in making shots, and Western did what Western normally does and makes you pay.
But nonetheless, with 1:45 left, Kennedy rallied. Finding themselves down 42-39 to the Pios.
“I thought we came out ready to play, we just got some unlucky breaks. We just got to come out ready,” Ethan Kleinschmit said.
“We just had to fight through it. We had a few eight, nine-point leads and we took our foots off the gas. We just need to fight through and finish the game,” Western Christian’s Lucas Zook said. “Play team basketball and enjoy the moments we have because we got two games left.”
Zook hit two free throws that was followed by a Brett Boen put-back. A steal set up an tying opportunity for the Trojans. The couldn’t hit as Kennedy had to resort to fouling, where Western Christian sealed their Quarterfinal win.
Kennedy plays the breakfast game Friday at 9am while the Pioneers play at 130. Both games at the Pendleton Convention Center.
Zook finished with ten points to Kleinschmit’s game-high 14. Owen Stalkner led the Pios with 13 points.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald