By Jeremy McDonald
PENDLETON, Ore.– Regis threw everything and the kitchen sink at Salem Academy, overcoming any kind of deficiencies that they had and put the Crusader feet to the fire to beat them Thursday evening at the Pendleton Convention Center.
They led 26-22 at the halftime break and trailed 42-41 midway through the fourth quarter to Salem Academy before the Crusaders finally made their final push and pulled away from the Rams in their 54-44 victory to advance to the 2A State Semi-finals.
“We had tons of passions and just came up short. I don’t know how to describe it,” Isaiah Koehnke said. “Box out, rebound, trying to keep the Ogelsby (twins) off the boards, they’re big. We did better than the last time we played them, still not good enough.”
Finishing the job was a crucial thing for the Crusaders, who await the winner of Kennedy-Santiam Friday night. Another Tri-River Conference opposition as the lower half of the 2A State Playoffs is looking more like the League Playoff bracket this season as they look to duplicate Thursday’s success into Friday.,
“That was the most important thing. We were coming out, we were talking about it at halftime how slacked off in the first half…our defense was struggling and we let Koehnke going and that guy is very dangerous when he gets going,” Salem Academy’s Landon Mitchell said. We were talking about slowing down the pace and still looking for opportunities to give it to Jackson (Ogelsby). No matter what happens, we’ll have a very tough league opponent. So coming out with a lot of energy is a must for us.”
Mitchell finished with 12 points and five rebounds, Jackson Oglesby contributed another 12 points with 18 rebounds for the Crusaders. Koehnke led all scorers with 20 with Diego Aguilar scoring another 11 points with seven rebounds for the Rams.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald