Crescent Valley High overcame a sluggish opening half on both ends of the court to keep its season alive.
Locked in a 35-all tie after 16 up-and-down minutes, the Raiders opened the third quarter on an 11-1 run to seize control of Wednesday’s 5A boys basketball state play-in game against visiting Ashland. CV comfortably led for most of the second half to pull out a 66-58 victory, sending the Raiders to Saturday’s state round of 16.
No. 11 CV (15-10) will travel to sixth-seeded Mountain View (18-5) of Bend for a spot in next week’s state tournament at Gill Coliseum.
“I think we were just slow in the first half,” CV coach Mike Stair said. “Slow moving and slow to adjust to what they were doing, which was interesting because, other than one subtle difference, we basically saw what we had practiced for two days.
“There were probably a little bit of nerves there, but I thought offensively we got some good opportunities for ourselves that kept us in it in the first half.”
AJ Sandvig led the way for CV, knocking down five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 22 points. Teammate Tariq Harris added 18 points while Preston Heede and Cam Sanders had nine apiece.
Sandvig’s sharpshooting opened up the paint for CV, which had an interior size advantage against Ashland (7-18).
“The defense spreads out to the 3 to guard (Sandvig), then we have our inside passes to Preston and me and Cam,” Harris said. “It gets us those wide-open layins that we had the third quarter.”
Harris scored the first four points of the third — including a steal and one-handed transition flush — to put CV up 39-35. Terrific interior passing led to a Kyle Killen layup before Sandvig canned a straight-away 3 that gave the Raiders their first double-digit advantage at 46-36.
CV won the third quarter 16-5 and headed to the fourth with a 51-40 lead.
An Adam Jones 3 off a no-look pass from KJ Pippa pulled Ashland within eight at 61-53, and Jones later knocked down another triple that trimmed it to 63-56 with 2:40 remaining.
Pippa converted a tricky layup to make it 64-58 with 1:15 to go, but CV made enough of its free throws down the stretch to hold on. The Raiders were 7 for 12 from the line in the final period.
Anthony Swanson paced the Grizzlies with 18 points while Pippa added 17. Jones finished with 11 points.
Wednesday’s game was a rematch from December’s Crescent Valley Invitational, a 71-61 Raiders victory. CV has now won four straight games entering the round of 16.
The Raiders came up empty on their first three possessions to dig themselves an early 5-0 hole. Sandvig knocked down consecutive 3s that put the Raiders up 8-6, and the hosts scored the final five points of the quarter to grab a 20-15 lead.
“We’ve really been working with him the past couple of weeks in terms of we need him to make good shots, so we need to encourage him to take good shots,” Stair said of Sandvig. “If the ball is not going in, don’t worry about it. Just make sure you are taking the quality shots we are looking for.”
Ashland continued to hang around, tying the game at 20 before Sandvig buried another triple. A Pippa layin put the Grizzlies back in front at 25-23 and forced Stair to call a timeout.
Sandvig’s fourth triple of the half tied it at 33, and the senior connected on a long two that made it 35-all at the break.
The Raiders will be facing another familiar opponent in Saturday’s round of 16. Back in early December, Mountain View defeated CV 64-45 at a tournament in Wilsonville.
“When we do things our way and we do things the right way, we can beat anybody that we see,” Harris said.