Corvallis and Hamilton met in the opening game of the tournament and the first-game jitters were evident in both teams as they combined for only eight points in the first quarter.
“I thought both teams really struggled to get their legs in that first quarter,” said Corvallis coach Joe Jessop.
But the Blue Devils went to their inside game and with junior Jayce Gilder driving to the basket, or dishing outside, they began to get control of the game. Gilder finished with 17 points.
Hamilton kept chipping away at the Blue Devils. Teague Blome, who was 100 percent from three-point land, hit a huge trey to spur a bit of a rally midway through the third quarter. Josh Heath followed that up with a bucket and Kameron Kohn converted off a Blue Devil turnover on an inbounds pass to pull Hamilton back within five points at the buzzer.
Corvallis’ Chaney Waldo hit a trey to jump-start the Blue Devils in the fourth quarter. Jessop said Waldo’s point production was needed in the win.
“That three that he hit was big. They were kind of sagging off of us,” he added.
The Blue Devils then went on nine-point run and went on to win. They sank 22 of 27 free throws and pulled down seven more rebounds than Hamilton did.
“Free throws,” said Jessop. “This whole tournament is probably going to come down to free throws.”
Kohn had 18 points to lead the Broncs. He also had 10 rebounds, and three blocked shots. Josh Bauder added eight points.
Corvallis 56, Hamilton 42
Corvallis– Alma Powell 6, Jayce Gilder 17, Chaney Waldo 10, Brigham Parish 11, Andrew Leopold 6, Chase Jessop 3, Austin Bankston 3.
Hamilton – Josh Heath 6, Kris Cleveland 1, Teague Blome 6, Kameron Kohn 18, Ty Burt 3, Josh Bauder 8.
It was an emotional game for the Corvallis Blue Devils against the Dillon Beavers and those emotions got the best of the Devils. They were hit with four technicals in the game. The first technical put an end to a rally midway through the first quarter after Brigham Parrish had hit a trey and another field goal. Dillon then went on a six-point run. Corvallis made a couple more runs but were unable to stop the Beavers and fell, 59-38.
“It wasn’t a game that we were proud of as far as our emotions. That’s not us,” according to Jessop. “But you know the kids, they laid it all out there. Sometimes when you lay it all out there, it’s hard to get it all back.”
For much of the second quarter and a good portion of the third, starters Jayce Gilder and Alma Powell sat on the bench in foul trouble. But even with them sitting on the bench, the Blue Devils played a tough defensive game. The Blue Devils won the rebounding in the first half but had 17 turnovers. Corvallis made one more run at Dillon midway through the third quarter but was hit with another technical, their third, and the momentum swung to the Beavers for good.
The Blue Devils then had to play Anaconda on Saturday morning in loser out action. Coach Jessop said his team regrouped from the earlier loss and played a great game. Brigham Parrish had 16 points and Alma Powell added 14 more. Corvallis won, 63-45.
That win sent the Blue Devils to the consolation match against Butte Central. After sinking the first basket, the Blue Devils played catch up for the first half. Whether it was tired legs from the morning game or trying to be more composed, Corvallis didn’t have the edge they had against Dillon on Friday. Both teams were tired.
Kale Guldseth hit a couple of key treys for the Maroons in the first quarter to give them some momentum while Brigham Parrish was cold from beyond the arc. The Blue Devils were held to only two points in the second quarter but rallied back to score 18 in the third. However they were unable to stop the Maroons and fell, 52-41, and finished fourth in the Southwest A.
“Nobody thought at the beginning of the season – there wasn’t a coach, another player, another school, another town – everybody picked us dead last and our boys made a commitment. They worked hard in the summer. We’re going to be back and we’re going to be better than we were this year. That’s the commitment that we’re making at Corvallis. These boys sacrificed time to do that and it shows,” concluded Jessop.
Gilder finished with 16 points and Parrish had 13 for the Blue Devils.
After losing to Corvallis, Hamilton had to take on Butte Central. The Broncs lost, 81-53. However the score didn’t reflect it, the tough, physical game the Broncs played. The difference, according to coach Toby Stack, was the 10 three point baskets in the first half.
“We spot them 30 points,” said Stack. “That was huge.”
Butte Central was forced to play their starters much of the second half in order to keep the Broncs at bay. On the line, a trip to the consolation game just four hours later. Both Kameron Kohn, a senior, and Josh Heath, a sophomore, had nine points to pace the Broncs.
Stack said it was hard for the seniors but he was proud of the way they kept their attitudes up and inspired the younger players. “We know we play in the toughest conference in the state, and that we can play with them,” concluded Stack.