COOS BAY -- Cascade Christian rode stellar play from its three senior post players Saturday to take out Creswell 50-45 and take home the fourth-place trophy.
The Challengers were lifted by posts Seth Knox, Aaron Cesaro and David Sellers who combined for 34 points and wore down the Creswell defense all game.
"We're bigger than a lot of teams so when we got into half-court, (Cesaro and I) pounded it inside -- and Seth Knox too -- and they didn't really have an answer for it," Sellers said, continuing on to give his teammates acclaim. "If Aaron was playing that good all season, I would've been out of a job. He was playing out of his mind."
All three seniors finished their Challengers careers with phenomenal stat lines. Cesaro and Sellers both finished with an identical 12 points and nine rebounds on 6-9 shooting (Sellers had five blocks). Knox had the game's only double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Cascade Christian Brian Morse challenged his team after losing to De La Salle North Catholic on Thursday to win the consolation bracket and not just go "two-and-out" in the tournament. His team -- especially his senior post players -- responded as well as Morse could ask for.
"Our three guys just played phenomenal in the paint," Cascade Christian head coach Brian Morse said "That was key. We knew we had to utilize our big guys. We wouldn't have liked it to be that close buy we knew if we kept pounding it inside, fatigue-wise it would slow them down."
Creswell battled the whole game and went into the breakup 24-22 behind 12 first half points from Austin Jones. Jones and teammate Hunter Patrick finished with game-highs of 14 points.
To start the fourth quarter, the lead changed hands three times before the Challenger's Cody Coggins nailed a 3-pointer with 4:31 left to give a 41-39 advantage they would never relinquish.
Morse highlighted rebounding as key to their success. Cascade Christian out-rebounded Creswell 44-to-26 in the game and had a 17-to-7 rebounding advantage in the fourth quarter to stave off the Bulldogs.
In the final frame, whenever Creswell came within two points, the Challengers just kept banging the ball inside to make the Bulldogs deal with their size.
Creswell coach Ben Osborn knew coming into the game they would struggle to compete with the Cascade Christian size. The Bulldogs' tallest guy is Patrick at 6-foot-3. The Challengers brought in 6-foot-7 Sellers, 6-foot-6 Cesaro and 6-foot-4 Knox.
With a size discrepancy that big, Osborn said after the game, shooting 17-for-57 (29 percent) wasn't going to make up for it.
"That's not going to do it. They also slaughtered us in the paint but we knew that was going to happen," Osborn said. "We don't have the girth and the size. It wore us down inside. Our biggest kid is 170 pounds."
The win makes Cascade Christian the consolation bracket winner and sends them back home with the fourth place trophy. For seniors like Cesaro, it's not a bad consolation to close out the year.
"We played our game. We tried to do what we practiced all year long," Cesaro said. "We brought it all together just at the right time."