COOS BAY — Santiam Christian’s boys came up short of the championship game at the Class 3A state basketball tournament Friday, when the Eagles fell to West Valley League rival Dayton 59-47.
Santiam Christian will play Blanchet Catholic for third place Saturday afternoon at Marshfield High School while Dayton meets top-ranked De La Salle North Catholic for the title Saturday night.
The Eagles never led, and fought an uphill battle most of the way.
“Dayton really out-played us in the first half,” Santiam Christian coach Dennis McLain said. “We were playing catch-up.”
The Eagles were hampered by poor shooting all night. They finished just 15-for-56 from the floor, 5-for-26 from 3-point range and 12-for-22 from the foul line.
“Our shots weren’t falling,” McLain said.
Dayton led 15-13 early after a 3-pointer by Bailey West. Several times over the second and third quarter, Santiam Christian pulled within a basket.
“We couldn’t get over the hump,” McLain said. “They played very well. Once we got close, they went on a run.”
The Eagles pulled within two points in the third quarter with 3-pointers by Patrick Otis and later by Zach Baugher. But each time, Dayton responded. And the Pirates took control late in the third quarter, leading by as many as 12.
Santiam Christian made one last charge, pulling with 47-40 on a 3-poitner by Josh Baugher with 3:31 to go. But that was as close as the Eagles got.
“We got beat by a good team tonight,” McLain said.
But he added he and the players had issues with calls that were or weren’t made by the officials, which he said should not be the case in a state semifinal. He credited his players for not losing their cools.
Zach Baugher led the Eagles with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Baugher added 11 points.
Tanner Lewis had 18 points and Braeden Nowlin scored 14 for Dayton. Nowlin had three 3-pointers and three free throws after getting fouled on another shot from long range.
Dayton coach Ron Hop expressed respect for the Santiam Christian club.
“That’s a really good team,” he said. “They’re quality coached, with quality kids, and they got us late in the year. We had a perfect (league) mark and they stuck it to us pretty good and I think our kids realized, ‘Hey, these guys are really good and we’re going to have to play our butts off if we want to get over on them tonight.’”
Santiam Christian was left with the challenge of trying to come back in the third-place game Saturday afternoon.
“It’s hard to play the third-place game just because the guys are frustrated,” McLain said.
That goes for both teams that lost in the semifinals.
“We’ve got a great team to play tomorrow,” McLain said. “It’s going to be interesting to see who comes out motivated because it’s hard.”