Mountain View was already accustomed to overcoming adversity this season, so being down by six points with less than three minutes left in regulation did not seem to faze the Cougars.
The young team never seemed frazzled as it forced overtime, then beat No. 11 Crescent Valley of Corvallis 88-81 in a Class 5A boys basketball first-round playoff game Saturday night at Mountain View High School.
The sixth-seeded Cougars (19-5) will head to Gill Coliseum in Corvallis to take on third-seeded Thurston of Springfield at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in a quarterfinal game at the 5A state tournament site.
Behind 31 points from point guard Chase McClain and 25 from Matt Van Tassel, Mountain View found a way to extend its season when it seemed all was lost in front of a raucous home crowd.
“It was mainly our dedication and our hard work before the season,” McClain said. “That really pushed us to want to win this game. Our coach talked to us in the locker room at halftime and he said this might be our last game. We just had to put it all out on the floor, because it could have been our last game.”
Two 3-pointers by Grant Jordan and then a drive and finger-roll basket by McClain tied the game 76-76 with 53 seconds remaining in regulation.
Crescent Valley’s Kyle Killen missed two free throws, and Riley Morgan’s 3-point attempt fell short before the buzzer as the game went to overtime.
The extra period was all Mountain View, as McClain scored five of his team’s 12 points and the Cougars made eight of 10 free throws to secure their spot in Corvallis.
“They (the Raiders) played about as well as they could play in the first half, and we didn’t,” said Mountain View coach Brian Broaddus. “At halftime we told them, ‘This is it boys. There’s no other game. You win, you get to go to Corvallis; you lose, you don’t.’ They just keep fighting and that’s all you can do. You fight until that final buzzer.”
Jordan finished with 15 points for the Cougars, who were a solid 20 for 24 from the foul line.
A.J. Sandvig led Crescent Valley with 28 points, and Tariq Harris added 20 points for the senior-laden team.
The Raiders (15-11) came out with red-hot shooting in the first quarter, cruising to a 23-12 lead by the end of the period. They would then extend their lead to 13 on a three-pointer by Sandvig early in the second quarter.
But that was the biggest lead of the game for Crescent Valley, as Mountain View began to chip its way back. McClain score eight points in the second quarter, including two 3-pointers, and the Cougars trailed by just one at halftime.
“It was probably our whole team defense that we were lacking in the first half,” McClain said. “Coach got on us in the locker room and said we’ve got to step up our ‘D’ and get some steals and stuff. It’s hard to guard a team that has five guys who can score. It’s kind of like guarding the Golden State Warriors.”
McClain hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of the third period, then scored eight points in the fourth quarter to lead the Cougars’ comeback.
Broaddus talked afterward about the resiliency of his young team, which lost senior starter Taiton Fox to a knee injury early in the season and now has just two seniors who play. Crescent Valley’s roster for Saturday’s game included seven seniors.
“I mean, that’s just a microcosm of our season,” Broaddus said of the game. “Taiton Fox is a great athlete and he blew his ACL. He was our energy guy: rebounds, defense. He always guarded the other team’s best player, and we lost that. We’ve got seven or eight little sophomores that were thrown into the fire. There’s a big difference between a sophomore boy and a senior man, physically.”
The Cougars will face an even tougher test in Thurston (19-6), which beat Pendleton 58-40 on Saturday night to advance to the final eight. Mountain View lost at Thurston 75-68 on Dec. 15 this season.
“We need to start a little better,” Broaddus said. “Thurston has some major stud athletes. They’re really good, and that first game is hard, especially with young kids. We’ll see. We’ll give it a shot.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0318,