Grizzlies nearly pull off upset vs. first-place Comets

    CENTRAL POINT — The upset-minded Ashland boys basketball team came close to claiming arguably its biggest win of the season, but Crater was able to take command down the stretch en route to a 58-52 victory over the Grizzlies on Tuesday night.

    After trailing 42-41 heading into the fourth quarter, the Midwestern League-leading Comets (16-1 overall, 6-1 MWL) used a 13-3 run midway through the final period to open up their first double-digit lead of the night.

    Ashland junior guard KJ Pippa scored 14 of his game-high 19 points in the first quarter. Pippa hit four of the Grizzlies’ eight 3-pointers in the game.

    Grizzlies senior guard Adam Jones added 17 points while sophomore forward Lowell Saulsbury had 10. Both Jones and Saulsbury hit a pair of 3s in the game.

    “Our boys had a great game. KJ Pippa was special in the first quarter going 4-for-4 from 3 and it really set the tone for great offensive execution all night,” Ashland head coach Sam Osofsky said. “I thought we had a special defensive effort. They (Crater) are bigger at every position and a combined 16 inches taller than us in the post. Despite the challenge they present and as well-coached as they are, we still gave ourselves a chance.”

    The Comets were led offensively by senior wing Kiefer Edwards, who also scored a game-high 19 points. Senior guard Mason Vranes and freshman forward Nathan Bittle each added 12 points.

    Crater, which trailed by as many as eight points in the first half, closed the second quarter strong to take a 28-26 lead into the break.

    Ashland (5-12, 1-6) heads north to open up the second half of league play against Churchill in Eugene on Friday night.

    ASHLAND (52): Pippa 19, Swanson 4, Wallner-Sentle 2, Ekwall 0, A. Jones 17, Shibley 0, Desmond 0, Saulsbury 10. Totals: 21 2-5 52.

    CRATER (58): J. Vranes 7, Horton 8, M. Vranes 12, Ki. Edwards 19, Weaver 0, Stollings 0, Bittle 12. Totals: 22 9-16 58.



    3 point goals — Ashland 8 (Pippa 4, A. Jones 2, Saulsberry 2), Crater 5 (M. Vranes 3, Horton 2)

    JV score — Crater 50-45


    At Central Point, the Crater girls basketball team got a combined 27 points from Maya Van Hook and Presley Robison and led the entire way to claim a 78-35 win over Ashland on Tuesday night.

    Grizzlies sophomore post Malia Rodriguez scored a team-high 13 points in the loss.

    Crater (14-3 overall, 5-2 Midwestern League) forced 20 turnovers and shot 57 percent (31-for-54) from the field. The Comets recorded 20 assists on their 31 field goals.

    Ashland trailed 45-15 going into halftime.

    Ashland fell to 3-14 overall and 0-7 in league play with the loss.

    The Grizzlies begin the second half of MWL play at home against Churchill at 7 p.m. on Friday night.

    ASHLAND (35): Altig 0, Voskes 0, Sollinger 4, Barnes 0, Garringe 0, Moran 4, LaCoste 0, Munson 8, Elder-Hammond 6, Summers 0, Witnauer 0, Rodriguez 13, Abel 0. Totals: 13 8-14 35.

    CRATER (78): Westbrock 6, Idiart 11, Van Hook 14, Ryerson 8, Robison 13, Duran-Espino 3, Gray 8, Ellis 0, Bowers 4, A. Woodard 3, Young 6, K. Woodard 2. Totals: 31 10-14 78.



    3 point goals — Ashland 1 (Rodriguez 1), Crater 6 (Ryerson 2, Robison 2, Duran 1, L. Woodard 1).

    JV score — Crater 58, Ashland 8.

    Danny Penza is the sports editor for the Ashland Daily Tidings. Reach him at 541-776-4483 or Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.

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