CHELAN – Whether it’s the crowd, flow of the game or level of competition, sometimes the moment can get too big for certain basketball teams.
Cashmere is not one of them.
Despite watching the Chelan Goats erase a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit and send the game into overtime following a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from freshman Braiden Boyd, the Bulldogs settled down amongst the pandemonium and went back to work. Cashmere didn’t allow a single basket in OT and scored 12 to outlast Chelan 62-50, collecting their third win in the last four days. Cashmere has now won 12 of its last 13 games following an (0-2) start to the season.
“We have been burned before by buzzer-beaters in this gym,” Cashmere head coach Levi Heyen said after the win. “And this is a very difficult place for us to come and play, but I’m super proud of our guy’s resilience. I was telling the guys to embrace the moment and they responded well.”
Having already played in an overtime thriller just a few weeks ago against Medical Lake, Cashmere looked relaxed in the extra frame. Guards Nate and Sam Phillips swung the ball around the top of the key before looking for either Carter Alberts or Brooks Elliott inside. And the big men answered the bell, scoring eight of the Bulldogs 12 points in OT.
Alberts finished with 13 points and nine rebounds. Elliott chipped in 13 and a team-high 11 rebounds and Sam Phillips added 13 points, six dimes and four steals. Nate Phillips, who’s caught fire from deep lately, drained four 3-pointers, grabbed 10 rebounds and scored a team-high 15 points.
“What an epic evening,” Heyen said. “It was a lot of fun for our guys and happy we got the win.”
Aside from the final shot, Cashmere led wire-to-wire. Chelan kept it close in the first and only trailed by four at the end of the quarter. But the Bulldogs went on a little run in the second and were able to push their lead to five thanks to a few buckets from Elliott and Alberts.
Whenever Chelan cut the lead to two possessions, Cashmere would hit a basket on their next trip down to squash any momentum.
Cashmere led 27-18 at half.
The Goats came out with more intensity on defense to start the third and began chipping away at the lead with their half-court trap defense, which had the Bulldogs flustered. Cashmere turned the ball over only four times in the first half, but five times in the third quarter alone.
Chelan still trailed by double-digits though heading into the fourth quarter, so they dialed up the pressure on defense – and got results. At one point, Cashmere turned the ball over on seven straight possessions. They looked flummoxed. And the momentum started to swing.
Chelan, led by senior Connor Wilson and sophomore Reed Stamps, mounted an 18-8 run over a five-minute stretch to knot the score up at 47-47. Cashmere retook the lead on the next possession – off a clutch 15-footer from Nate Phillips – before Elliott converted a free throw to push the lead to three with seven ticks left.
After calling a timeout, Chelan inbounded the ball and found a wide-open Boyd for a corner 3-pointer to tie the game. But that was the final shot Chelan would hit.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better effort from our team tonight,” Chelan head coach Jeff Pearl said after the loss. “Our boys battled and we’re getting better with each game. They played their hearts out and I’m proud of them.”
After the win, Heyen said that he hopes the guys will draw on this experience later in the playoffs.
“We have some work to do to but I thought we didn’t look rattled in OT and took care of business,” Heyen said.
Cashmere gets Omak in another big CTL matchup on Tuesday, which the Goats get Okanogan at home on Tuesday. Tipoff in both games is at 7:15 p.m.