by Jason Herd
For the Pharos-Tribune
Six seasons ago in 2007, Oregon-Davis captured the Class A boys basketball state championship with a sparkling record of 27-1. Ironically, the Bobcats also captured the girls state basketball championship in the same season.
That rare feat undoubtedly put this small school and the Hamlet community on top of the world in terms of hoops success. Since then however, the O-D boys have not won more than five games in a season and came to Fulton Wednesday night on a five-game skid to begin the year.
Conversely, Caston seems to have found its groove, riding a three-game winning streak.
The experienced Comets were looking to tame the young Bobcats for the sixth time out of their last seven matchups. Once again Ben Snyder’s squad led wire-to-wire and buried Oregon-Davis 54-28 in the opening game of the Marshall Electric Shootout Wednesday evening.
The Comets (4-3) had no problems finding their comfort zone offensively, as senior sharpshooters Jake Howdeshell and Corey Moss bombed away giving their team a quick 9-1 lead. Freshman Brayton Jellison scored off an inbound feed from Moss to give the Comets a 12-3 lead after one period. The Bobcats’ first field goal came at the 3:28 mark of the first quarter, when Joel Worthington scored on a putback.
Both teams missed several opportunities around the basket to begin the second. After two more Howdeshell 3s in the period, Oregon-Davis began to fight back. Carl Schneckenburger and Worthington scored on putbacks, and the Bobcats found themselves down by only 22-12 at the half. Worthington led Oregon-Davis with 10 points in the game.
After missing some time due to foul trouble in the first half, Quentin Douglass put the Comets in overdrive with a 10-0 run to begin the third quarter, which included two 3s and a driving layup at the 5:42 mark.
“We wanted to pressure them defensively but had some trouble in the first half,” Douglass said. “I just wanted to come out in the second half and be a leader. The team came together and we got things on track.”
The Bobcats (0-6) again had trouble locating Howdeshell, as he canned two more 3s in the period. He continued his torrid pace for the young season with eight treys for the game and finished with a game-high 26 points. Douglass followed with 16.
The Comets stretched to their biggest lead of the game at the 5:22 mark of the fourth, 50-20.
Caston will face Class 3A Kankakee Valley (6-3) at 1 p.m. Saturday in Shootout play. KV defeated Morgan Township in the late game Wednesday, 46-33. The winner plays in the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday night, while the loser plays in the third-place game in the elementary gym at the same time.