Cougars fend off Vikings rally

Bellevue Christian's comeback falls just short on the hardwood

In a battle between rival private schools, the Cascade Christian Cougars boys basketball team survived against the Bellevue Christian Vikings.

Cascade Christian outscored Bellevue Christian 8-3 in the final six minutes, 51 seconds of regulation, earning a 48-43 win on Jan. 15 at Cascade Christian High School in Puyallup. Bellevue Christian dropped to 4-5 overall with the loss. Cascade Christian held a comfortable 28-17 lead at halftime but Bellevue Christian wouldn’t go away quietly.The Vikings outscored the Cougars 20-12 in the third quarter. Vikings’ guard Matthew Lee knocked down a three-pointer with 18 seconds left in the third period, cutting Cascade Christian’s lead to 40-37. With 6:51 left in regulation, Vikings’ forward Joe Lampkin connected from beyond the three-point arc, tying the game at 40-40. In the final six minutes of play the Vikings attacked the basket with ferocity, which resulted in some unintended consequences. The Vikings were called for three offensive charge fouls down the stretch. With the Vikings trailing the Cougars 42-41 with 3:36 left in the game, Gage Gutmann was called for a charging foul on a drive to the basket.

With the score unchanged at 42-41, Bellevue Christian guard Chris Stribley was called for a charge on a drive to the hoop with 2:49 left in the game. Cascade Christian iced the game with four free throws in the final 20 seconds to clinch the victory. The referees’ offensive foul calls loomed large for Cascade Christian head coach Jerry Williams and Bellevue Christian head coach Brandon Kats following the game. Williams credited senior forward Aaron Brandner for being in position to draw the offensive fouls that played a crucial role in the outcome.

“Aaron does a super job with that. He’s such a team player and he gives his body up. It is not the first game where he has taken multiple charges. Thank goodness for him because they (Bellevue Christian) had all the momentum in the world and Aaron pretty much stopped it by himself by taking those charges. He is a terrific defender,” Williams said.

Bellevue Christian head coach Brandon Kats was glad to see his team attack the basket with the game on the line.

“On Tuesday (48-22 loss to Vashon Island) we weren’t aggressive at all. Before this game I didn’t write a whole lot of X’s and O’s on the board. We knew we wanted to play aggressive and we did that. We got called for three charges and two or three of those should have been and ones (fouls on Cascade Christian) in my opinion,” Kats said. “We lost a close one tonight. I’m proud of our effort. We all hate to lose but we’re growing as a team, which is good to see.”

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