PENDLETON — Just over 12 hours after a loss to Columbia Christian, Kennedy bounced back Friday morning with a 55-50 win over Knappa, ending the Loggers’ season in the consolation bracket of the Class 2A boys’ state tournament in Pendleton.
Sophomore Luke Hall scored 15 points for the Trojans, who led by as much as 10 points in the third quarter but trailed 44-41 in the opening seconds of the fourth.
Both teams were coming off quarterfinal losses the night before, but it was the Trojans who had a little more left at the end, as they rallied with a 7-0 run and never trailed again.
Knappa lost back-to-back games for the first time all season, and finishes 23-6 overall, following a highly successful league season (17-1).
Sporting the No. 3 seed entering the tournament, the Loggers lost to No. 11 seed Vernonia in a Thursday quarterfinal, then fell to the No. 10 seed Trojans in Friday’s consolation game.
The Trojans rebounded from their quarterfinal loss a little quicker, building a 28-18 lead late in the first half.
Kennedy sophomore Emorej Link highlighted the half with a dunk to cap a fast break by the Trojans, while Colton Weirup made three 3-pointers for the Loggers.
Knappa quickly gained the momentum in the second half, thanks to its senior leader.
Dale Takalo sparked an 11-0 run by the Loggers with a 3-pointer, and he converted an old fashioned three-point play moments later. Weirup added a trey for a 33-32 Knappa lead.
In his final game with Knappa, Takalo led all scorers with 19 points, to go with nine rebounds and three assists.
In a game that featured seven lead changes, Kennedy regained a brief advantage, but the Loggers answered with back-to-back scores by Timber Engblom, and the teams went to the fourth quarter tied at 41-41.
After Takalo opened the period with his second 3-pointer of the game, the Trojans rallied again and grabbed a 48-44 lead with just over three minutes left.
Knappa looked to its designated 3-point specialist, Weirup, who nailed his fifth trey of the game to bring the Loggers within 48-47 with just over a minute remaining.
But that’s where the Logger luck ran out.
Link scored on a layup with 26 seconds left for a 51-47 advantage, and the Loggers were off the mark on two 3-point attempts at the offensive end.
Knappa also missed a pair of free throws, and the Trojans were 4-for-4 from the line in the final nine seconds to secure the win.
Weirup finished with 15 points (all from the 3-point line) in his final game, while Joe Ramvick had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Knappa was 8-for-27 from the 3-point arc, while Kennedy struggled at the free throw line (9-of-17), but out-rebounded Knappa 34-29.
In the Class 2A state championship game Saturday night, Columbia Christian defeated Western Mennonite, 65-61.
Vernonia defeated Oakland 55-50 in the third place game.
Knappa defeated the top three placers (Columbia Christian, Western Mennonite and Vernonia) in games at Knappa this season.