By Brett Tallman • Brett Tallman • 

Brave escape from Y-C

YAMHILL – In the last minute of the third quarter Tuesday night, Yamhill-Carlton forward Jon Clark stripped the ball from a driving Banks Brave at halfcourt.

The lanky senior ran the ball up the court in three strides and finished the play himself. The dunk delighted Yamhill-Carlton fans and seemed to define the Tigers’ presence in a game they had dominated since the opening tip.

When the final buzzer sounded, however, Banks had pulled out a 65-64 victory against Y-C in the Class 4A Cowapa League opener for both squads. Devyn Renne hit one of two free-throw attempts with 2.8 seconds remaining to put the Braves ahead for good.

The Banks fans who had followed the team to Yamhill were the only ones cheering at the end.

“We just didn’t do what we needed to do,” Clark said. “We didn’t foul when we needed to. We didn’t get the rebounds we needed to.”

Clark led all scorers with 24 points, and Zach Rhodes scored 21 for the Tigers (7-7, 0-1).

In the first quarter, the Tigers attack forced Braves coach Pat Marlia to take two early timeouts. Yamhill-Carlton scored 18 of the period’s first 20 points – Rhodes had 11 by himself – as the Tigers ended the first quarter on top, 24-12.

At halftime the lead was not so comfortable. The Braves (8-6, 1-0) went on an extended run and cut the Tigers’ lead to just two points, 36-34.

Having fought their way back into the game, the Braves still couldn’t overtake the Tigers. They pulled within one after an injury sidelined Yamhill-Carlton’s 6-foot-7 senior post, Ryan Sullivan, but the Jon Clark dunk brought the Tigers back to life.

Halfway through the fourth quarter, Banks wrested control of the game back from Y-C. Renne hit a pair of three-pointers at critical moments, prompting two timeouts from coach Gary McCulloch. In an effort to break the Braves momentum, the Tigers’ pace slowed offensively. But Banks senior Garrett Markham continued to attack the Tigers defense, driving three times and putting up six points. With just two minutes left in the game, the Braves led for the first time, 61 to 54.

The teams traded blows, but with 19 seconds left the outlook was bad for the Tigers. Banks controlled the ball and led 64-62. But at halfcourt Conner Weidner intercepted a Braves pass and returned it for a layup, tying the game at 64.

In the final seconds, the ball again found its way into the hands of Renne, Banks best shooter. Renne sidestepped a Tigers defender who fouled him as he shot. The first free throw put the Braves up, 65-64.

The second free throw bounced wide, but a Banks player grabbed the rebound as 2.8 seconds slipped off the clock and the Tigers’ hopes slipped out of the gym.

Y-C hosts Astoria today at 6:30 p.m. before traveling to Tillamook on Thursday to face the Cheesemakers.

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