By Jeremy McDonald
PENDLETON, Ore.– John Pass’ three-pointer with 1:25 left in the game was the biggest play of the game against Knappa.
With the Loggers chopping at the bit, cutting it to 33-32 moments earlier off a Nicolai Ogier three-pointer in one of those grinding-type games, the clutch three-pointer gave them a bit more breathing room as they went back to work defensively.
“That three was huge. It gave us a cushion and we ended up really needing it at the end,” Pass said of the three. “We struggled. We gave them points that we shouldn’t have. We extended our lead, so it was a big thing.”
Saturday afternoon’s game was a far-cry from their 59 point performance with both teams shooting below 23-percent in the second half. But a gritty win is still a win as they hung tough. They got Logan Morrill into foul trouble with four going into the fourth quarter. Morrill finished with a game-high 18 points
“It was big, Chase (Brown) and Johnny (Pass) stepped up on their big guys. They stepped up,” Jaren Oglesby said.
Salem Academy’s lead topped-off at 37-32 before Shane McMahon hit a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left to make it a one possession game. Knappa had an opportunity to tie off a quick steal, no luck as Jackson Oglesby pushed the lead to 38-34 at the 12 second mark.
The Crusader defense held strong again, holding the Loggers to two more missed three-point shots in the final 12 seconds to hang on to win 38-34 to set-up an all Tri-River Conference Title bout with Western Christian Saturday evening at the Pendleton Convention Center.
“(This game) was a grind. Just making sure, we tried to stay away from the turnovers because we had some early ones that hurt us. We had shots, but we had to keep shooting and wait for them to go. They did,” Pass said. “(Western Christian), they’re a good team. Going into this, I think we have nothing to lose. I hope we come out super hard and whatever happens, happens. I hope we can stay with Chaz (Storm) and Austin (Sladek) because they’re their big guys. If we can shut them down, then we have a chance.”
Pass finished with 18 points and eight rebounds in the win. Jaren Oglesby finished with nine poitns, five rebounds and two steals.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald