By Jeremy McDonald
TURNER, Ore.– If this was the classic video game NBA Jam, Crosshill Christian’s Ben Hemelstrand would have triggered the classic soundbyte ‘He’s on Fire’ when he hit on three of the Eagles four third quarter three-pointers in near rapid succession in Thursday night’s 48-39 victory over Perrydale.
The nine-point frame for the junior, part of the 15 point second half and 18 total points, had helped swing momentum in favor of the Eagles in the battle of two unbeaten 1A Casco League rivals on this particular evening. Turning a then 26-24 Pirates lead at the 5:20 mark into a 33-26 Crosshill lead three minutes later. It was just last year that Perrydale, located in between Dallas and Amity on Highway 99, snapped Crosshill Christian’s 40-game league winning streak and were the lone team to do so. The record since January 23, 2019 now stands at 47-1 in league play, not including league playoffs where the Eagles haven’t dropped a game either in that span going back to the 2018-19 season.
Hemelstrand’s brother, Kyler, had the other three in the frame as Crosshill flipped the script and went into the fourth quarter with a comfortable lead, leading 36-28 going into the fourth quarter.
“They were big, I was cold in the first half and I knew at halftime I had to change it up. I’m glad I came out, shot the ball with confidence and got them to go. They were big and swung the momentum, we needed momentum to win that quarter,” Ben Hemelstrand said of his third quarter performance. “This is a big league game, we were both 4-0, we were undefeated and had targets on our backs. We both wanted to come out here to win, so getting the win for us proves a lot for us that we need to work hard in every practice. To get a win here feels amazing.”
Perrydale got the game back to within eight on a few occasions after the Eagles lead touched 11-points in the third quarter at 39-28 and 42-31 two minutes into the fourth quarter. But nothing came out of the rallies with Crosshill Christian clamping down each time a run was just about to happen.
And with a stretch ahead that includes league games against St. Paul, Willamette Valley Christian, Falls City/Kings Valley Charter and non-league games against Elkton, Coulmbia Christian and Alsea between now and February 4 will be important games going into the second half of the regular season.
“This next stretch will give us a lot of momentum…We know we got things to work on (like) not allowing base cuts, that was a big part. Just knowing when to go up for shots and knowing when people are open,” the Pirates Kameron Poulson said.
Poulson led Perrydale with nine points, Erik Danka contributed another eight points for the Pirates. Noah Dallum contributed 13 points for Crosshill Christian, who host Mohawk Saturday night at 7:30pm. The Eagles hit nine three-pointers to the Pirates four.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald