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Corvallis High pulled away in the fourth quarter and defeated Crescent Valley 54-32 at Raider Gym on Monday in the opening round of their two-part Mid-Willamette Conference season series.

The Spartans (3-1, 3-0) used a 16-0 fourth-quarter run to break open what had been a competitive game. CHS led just 33-27 heading into the final stanza, when it held the Raiders (2-5, 1-2) without a basket for the final seven minutes and outscored them 21-5.

“We emphasize defense daily and our guys did a good job of switching up our different zone and man-to-man looks,” CHS coach Ross Duerfeldt said. “We were upset at giving up eight offensive boards in the first half and we really wanted to shore that up in the second half.

“We did a much better job in the second half of limiting them to one shot and I think we ran their legs out a little bit after we started doing that and got some easy buckets” in transition.

Junior wing Isaac Gabriel scored 15 points to lead a balanced CHS attack. Junior post Jasper Reinalda added nine and senior guard Maxwell Johnson had seven; 10 players in all scored.

“I’m not sure if that was a career high,” Gabriel said. “My teammates just kept feeding me the ball, and we kept outrunning them. That’s what worked.

“We crashed the boards more in the second half, and got the win. [Defense] is what wins us the games. We just need defensive intensity the whole game.”

Duerfeldt said he likes the balanced scoring the Spartans have exhibited through their first four games.

“Look at our game against Lebanon, our game against North Salem and tonight, we probably had three guys in double figures, and a few others sitting right there” on the cusp, he said.

“Our guys do a great job of being unselfish and taking what comes to them.”

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Senior wing Seth King scored eight points to lead CV. His basket late in the third quarter drew the Raiders within 33-27, and his basket early in the fourth kept CV within striking distance at 35-29 before CHS went on its finishing tear.

“We still have a long way to go, but tonight we did a nice job of competing for a longer period,” CV coach Mike Stair said. “We’re having some offensive struggles; in the third quarter we got some good looks but we didn’t knock them down.

“It was a five-point game (30-25) with the ball but Corvallis did a nice job of continuing to execute. They got stops on defense in the fourth quarter and that led to some transition baskets for them.

“We’re just really inexperienced. We returned just two guys from last year and as a group we’re still learning to compete. Every day we take baby steps but we still have work to do.”

The Spartans took the lead for good, 8-7, on two first-quarter free throws by senior wing Roman Gabriel. They led 13-8, 25-17 and 33-27 at the quarter stops and then dominated the fourth quarter.

Monday’s win was the start of a busy week for the Spartans. They face Roosevelt at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the first of four games at the Capitol City Classic at Willamette University, which runs through Friday.

They also visit Springfield on Dec. 28 before resuming MWC action at Dallas on Jan. 4, 2019.

“You can’t be unhappy at being 3-0” in league play, Duerfeldt said. “But we still have some work to do.”

CV travels to The Dallas on Friday, then faces Willamette and Ashland at the CV Invitational on Dec. 28-29. The Raiders resume MWC play by hosting Central, also on Jan. 4.

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