YAKIMA — On Jan. 3, the Cashmere boys basketball team beat Okanogan 85-57. Three weeks later, Okanogan defeated Cashmere 88-75.
Saturday’s contest between the two Bulldogs squads — a 1A Hardwood Classic consolation match-up at the Yakima Valley SunDome — was nothing like the previous two games.
Points were at a premium Saturday, mostly due to the fact that both teams were tired from playing three straight days. Cashmere controlled the contest for the first three quarters, but simply couldn’t keep up with Okanogan in the fourth quarter after seeing its depth depleted as a result of an injury sustained by senior guard Jordan Christiansen just before halftime.
Okanogan made several clutch plays in the final few minutes to pull out a 45-43 victory and take home a fourth-place trophy, but after the game both teams’ coaches talked about how proud they were of their respective squads.
“If I had been asked at Christmas if I would’ve taken a 25-2 record and fourth place at state, I would’ve taken it forever,” said Okanogan coach Mike Carlquist, whose team extended its season with a 69-56 win over Seattle Academy on Friday. “We’ve had a terrific run, and these are terrific kids. I’ve been blessed.
“(Saturday’s game featured) two even teams. It was a slugfest, a defensive battle.”
Cashmere will take home a sixth-place trophy. Keith Boyd’s squad was motivated to best last season’s fifth-place finish, but a day after blitzing Granger 62-37 in a loser-out contest, it simply couldn’t muster enough energy to finish off Saturday’s contest.
Christiansen crashed to the floor after completing a fast-break lay-up in the second quarter and lingered on the ground, clutching his left arm. He didn’t return to the game.
“He’s a perimeter threat, and when we lost him, it hurt us offensively,” Boyd said. “They did a good job (defending) Dylan (Boyd, the Caribou Trail League’s player of the year), and we just ran out of shots.
“But it’s great to play on Saturday and take home a trophy. Nothing can take that away from the kids.”
Dylan Boyd led Cashmere with 15 points. Okanogan post Jim Townsend had one of his best games of the season Saturday, tallying 18 points and 12 rebounds.
“Cashmere is our rival, and it feels good to beat them again when it matters a lot — a big one,” Townsend said. “I hope that next year we can come back and place higher.”