Top-seeded Crane dominated No. 10 Crosshill Christian 58-26 to repeat as champion in the OSAA/OnPoint Community Credit Union 1A boys basketball final Saturday night at Baker High School.
The Mustangs (31-1) shot 56.8 percent from the field, including 9 of 18 from three-point range, in blitzing the Eagles (23-7). Crane's only loss this season came against 2A Salem Academy.
“It was definitely different this year because of the target on your back the whole time,” Crane coach Eric Nichols said. “Every game was almost like a playoff game because everybody was bringing their A game.
“The mental fatigue was really, really hard for them, but they battled through it. I think the grind was a little tougher because of the pressure, but boy, they handled it well.”
Josh Zander, a 6-foot-3 sophomore wing, had 20 points and four steals to lead the Mustangs. He hit 7 of 8 shots from the field, including 5 of 6 from behind the arc.
“He shot really well,” Nichols said. “But it could be anybody. They play such great team ball. It was Josh tonight.”
Junior point guard Carter Nichols had 15 points, seven assists and two steals and 6-6 sophomore Cody Siegner had 18 points, six rebounds, three blocks and three steals for Crane.
Nichols opened the game with back-to-back three-pointers for a 6-0 lead. Zander hit a three-pointer and Siegner made a jumper to push the lead to 18-8.
Crosshill Christian was within 26-16 at half and 31-22 in the third quarter before Crane pulled away. Zander hit three three-pointers in a 14-0 run as the Mustangs stretched their advantage to 45-22 early in the fourth quarter.
Senior Jared Zander made a three-pointer to make it 54-26, and Crane added an exclamation point when Siegner completed an alley-oop dunk from Nichols for a 56-26 lead with 3:03 to go.
“It was sweet,” Eric Nichols said.
Crosshill Christian of Turner, which lost to Crane in the semifinals last year, was playing in its first final. Junior Zach Wilson scored a team-high seven points for the Eagles, who shot 26.8 percent, making 3 of 18 on three-point attempts.