Jenkins bucket, defense lift Cashion to TRC repeat title
Cashion needed more than 15 years to win its fi rst Three Rivers Conference Tournament championship in the boys bracket.
It took the Wildcats just one year to win their second.
Hennessey’s Cristian Rodriguez watched his last-second shot miss its mark as Class 2A’s ninth-ranked Cashion held on to defeat the Eagles 47-46 Saturday in the title game at Kingfi sher’s APB.
Cashion (which got out of the conference for a brief stint during its 18-year history) also defeated Hennessey, 56-40, in last year’s championship.
This year’s version was much closer as both teams clamped down on defense after a scoring flurry in the first quarter. Cashion was almost exclusively in a man-to-man while Hennessey went with a triangle-and-two and focused its efforts on slowing down Cashion’s Jacob Woody and Alex Nabavi.
“We did not shoot the ball very well,” said Cash-ion coach John Hardaway after his team improved to 10-0. “Major credit to (Hennessey coach) Brady (Page) for running that.”
“That made Alex and Jacob stay patient and do other things.”
It helped Hennessey build an early lead, one it took into the fourth quarter.
As Cashion played catch-up, its defense was slowing down Hennessey’s high-scoring guards Juan Dominguez and reigning conference MVP Angel Rodriguez.
The duo combine to average more than 30 points a game, but were limited to 14 points on 6 of 18 shooting.
Vance Raney and Trey Tichenor took turns on Angel Rodriguez, who fi nished with just six points and had fi ve turnovers.
Still, Hennessey led 42-32 late in the third quarter.
Cashion began to claw its way back and tied the game at 44-all on Jonah Jenkins’ driving bucket 48 seconds into the fourth quarter.
Jenkins then gave the Wildcats a 47-44 lead with a 3-pointer with 3:57 to play.
Hennessey pulled within 47-46 with 3:20 left, but neither team scored the rest of the way.
The Eagles’ chances were further hurt with 2:48 to go when Cashion’s T.J. Roberts drew a charge against Angel Rodriguez.
That foul was the fi fth for Rodriguez.
“It was a big-time play,” Hardaway said. “T.J. is great at drawing charges.”
That play was part of a 15-4 run by Cashion to end the game.
After Hennessey called a timeout to set up its fi nal shot, Hardaway switched to a triangle-and-two defense.
“I figured he (Page) was drawing up a man-to-man set to get either Dominguez or Cristian Rodriguez a shot, so we switched it up,” Hardaway said.
Christian Tovar and Wade Vinson led the Eagles, who dropped to 9-2, with 15 and 13 points, respectively. Dominguez scored eight.
Nabavi paced Cashion with 13 points while Woody scored 12 and grabbed nine rebounds.
Jenkins scored 10 while handing out fi ve assists.
Warriors take 3rd
Hennessey survived its own scare Friday when Okarche’s last-second shot failed to fall in a 51-49 victory for the Eagles.
Hennessey erased a double-digit deficit in the fi rst half and still trailed by four with 1:45 to play.
However, Okarche had three late turnovers and a missed opportunity at the foul line as Hennessey came back to win.
The Warriors rebounded Saturday to claim third place by defeating Watonga 65-43.
Okarche used a 15-4 run in the second quarter, then outscored the Eagles 25-12 in the third quarter to take command of the game.
Watonga had no answer for Kaleb Harris, who scored a game-high 35 points. He was 14 of 17 from the free throw line and 9 of 13 from the field. Harris also had seven rebounds.
Joseph Schaefer added 10 points and 12 rebounds. Logan Kroener and Evan Endres scored nine and eight points, respectively.
Okarche (10-6) has won four of fi ve.
“They’re constantly getting better,” coach Aaron West said. “They played their rears off and deserved to win that Hennessey game. It was tough to lose, but I’m really happy they are competing at a high level versus really good teams.”
Tigers fi nish 6th
Crescent settled for sixth place after a 52-45 loss to Oklahoma Bible Academy in the consolation championship.
The Tigers were seeded seventh and played Hennessey close in the quarterfi - nals. They bounced back to knock off Thomas 48-36 in the consolation semifi nals on Friday.
• The Okarche, Cash-ion, Hennessey and Watonga boys teams, including coaches and managers, wore t-shirts with the words “RAY WEST” on the front and “LEGEND” on the back. West, the longtime Okarche boys coach, passed away in August after a battle with cancer. Teams wore the t-shirts in his honor and memory.
• Next year’s conference tournament will be held in Fairview. That school is in its first year as a member of the conference, but did not take part in the tournament in order to fulfill its commitment at the Wheat Capital Tournament in Chisholm.