By Jeremy McDonald
MILL CITY, Ore.– Man, one run decided this one for the Tri-River Conference League Playoff Championship Game between Kennedy and Santiam.
A 10-2 run to start the third quarter put the Trojans into the driver seat against the Wolverines Saturday afternoon, turning a 26-24 halftime lead into a 36-26 lead with 3:24 left in the third quarter and Kennedy led as much as 12 in the frame before Santiam chipped it down to 43-35 going into the fourth quarter.
That was when the Wolverines made their run back into contention. That run by the Trojans had helped weather what was coming over those last eight minutes.
“That was pretty clutch because we knew that they were going to get hot sooner-or-later, so it was good to stay ahead,” Kennedy’s Ethan Kleinschmit said. “We just had to find a way to piece it all together and make it happen. It was a good momentum booster to keep it going.”
Santiam wanted to protect home court and remind everyone in attendance that they’re not going down without a fight.
And boy did Dem Canyon Boys step up big. Fighting all the way back to have a chance to tie the game up, or for the win, with five seconds left in the game. And though that final shot didn’t fall, it did reinforce a chip on their shoulder going into the 2A State Playoffs in hopes to turn this negative into a positive.
“It gives us a chip on our shoulder, I knew we were going to come out and be as good as we can be and we’re just going to keep pushing,” Santiam’s Quentin Clark said. “After last year, we want it all. We want to win and that’s all we want to do. Just keeping pushing forward and practicing hard and do what we do, it’ll all take care of itself.”
Clark finished with 18 points, Ezra Downey finished with 16 and Gage Twede finished with 12 points. Brett Boen finished with 18 points for the Trojans, Charlie Beyer had 12 points and Kleinschmit finished with eight points.
Photos by Jeremy McDonald