Kevin Hurley

Central Catholic survives at David Douglas, 57-54

Second-ranked Rams rally from 9 points down in the second half
Jan. 20, 2012 / By Cliff Pfenning, oregonsports.com

Eighth-ranked David Douglas nearly pulled off a significant upset Friday night at home against No. 2 Central Catholic by using an energetic start to the second half to forge a 35-26 lead that had the Rams on the brink of losing for just the fourth time this season.

That's when senior Danny Brakebush calmly sank 3-point shots on back-to-back possessions to spark the Rams on what would become a 15-4 run and efficient free-throw shooting turned into a 57-54 win in a Mount Hood Conference boys basketball game.

Brakebush finished with a game-high 21 points, while junior forward Austin Dyer had 13 and senior guard Lucas Hunter added 12 for the Rams, who improved to 13-3, 2-0 in conference games.

"We know we've got a target on our backs and it's good to win close games like this," said Hunter, one of five new starters. "Us and Jesuit. There's a lot of good teams in the state, but we know we're one that everyone wants to beat."

David Douglas got 17 points from senior post Jeremiah Harris, 13 points from senior guard Taye Baker and 12 points from senior Kevin  Hurley, but had a three-game win streak snapped and dropped to 8-7, 1-1.

The Scots used the power game of Harris, who is 6-foot-5, and scrappy defense to roll off a 6-0 run to start the second half. Then, after Brakebush hit a couple free throws, they rolled off another 6-0 run that ended when the Rams quickly inbounded, found Brakebush and he nailed a three.

After David Douglas failed to score on a fastbreak, the Rams calmly found Brakebush open again and he hit the second three that started their scoring again.

"Those shots definitely kept us in the game," Hunter said. "Without those, the game probably would have been over."

"It's fun to get to take big shots like that," said Brakebush, one of the new starters. "I've been waiting a long time to get a lot of minutes; we all have. We've got five new starters, a new coach (Dan Munson) and we just want to go as far as we can this season."

After building the big lead, the Scots had trouble getting the ball to Harris and Central ramped up its defense, creating two turnovers in the final minute. The Rams also got an offensive rebound after a missed free throw and turned that into a basket for a 52-49 lead with 36 seconds left.

Central went just 4 of 7 from the free-throw line in the final minute, but hit its first nine to finish at 13 of 16. The Scots made 9 of 16.

"This is a tough loss, but we fought them hard and we know we can beat them," Hurley said. "Our goal is to win the state tournament and we think we're one of the teams that can do it. We get to play Central again at their place. We'll just keep working to get better an beat them when we see them next."

Despite the loss, the Scots actually moved up in the Class 6A rankings to No. 7 due to the complex ranking system that rewards teams for playing quality opponents such as one ranked No. 2.

The teams play at Central Catholic Feb. 10.

 

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