In three earlier tournaments, the Columbia Gorge Goats have consistently run away from their opponents with an average margin of victory of 10.3 points for three consecutive 3-on-3 tournament championships.
This past weekend at the CTGR Native Youth 3-on-3 Tournament in Grand Ronde, the Goats added two new faces and needed an overtime session to slip past DWL by a 35-32 margin on a game-winning 3-pointer from Henry Begay.
Earlier in tournament action, the Goats suffered their first loss of the summer against DWL, 34-32, but had another chance to exact revenge in the double elimination event.
In the title contest, the Goats were ahead by four points, but DWL rallied for two straight baskets to tie the score and send the game into overtime.
With the rules stating that a team has to win by three points to advance, so the Goats won the coin toss and chose to get the ball.
On that initial possession, following a missed 3-point attempt by Skytus Smith, Andre Niko skyed high in the air for the rebound and made a quick pass to Begay, who then proceeded to sink the game-winning deep ball.
“The boys had to play through some pretty physical defense and had to take the ball to the hole physically just to get a bucket or a foul,” said Goats coach Bobby Begay. “They kept their composure and their heads in the game and played together to finish as a team.”
Matching forces with Henry Begay and Niko were Smith and Trevor Lewis, and the quartet tallied two blowout wins, along with two close battles.
The first win was by a 25-22 score, and they added a 35-5 rout in the next round.
After a 25-23 triumph, the Goats breezed past their opponents by a 35-11 finale for a finals berth.
There, DWL made its last few possessions count, as they grabbed a 34-32 win.
“That was the boys’ first loss of the summer, but it was also the best all-around team they played all year,” coach Begay said.
Instead of a clear path to the top of the podium, the Goats had to overcome their adversity and regain focus for an all-out showdown.
“Over the weekend, they played DWL four times and they went 3-1 against them. We would take a slight lead, but they always seemed to make it a close, physical game.”
Staked to a 20-1 overall record during the summer, the CG Goats have one last tournament scheduled for Friday, Aug. 30 to Monday, Sept. 2 at the Shoni Schimmel Back to School Basketball Classic in Warm Springs at the Community Center.
Spots are open for 18U boys and girls and 9U, 11U and 13U coed squads.
A maximum of seven teams are available for each division.
For the 18U tourney, entry fees are slated for $350, and the 13U team fee is $250, followed by the 11U ($225) and 9U ($200).
Merchandise and prizes are given to first through fourth place finishers, while all-stars receive shorts and the Most Valuable Player earns a Pendleton backpack.
There is a dance and ice cream social planned on that Saturday from 9-11 p.m.
To sign up a youth basketball team for this season-ending tournament, contact Abby at 541-460-2418.
Entries close down once seven teams are signed up in those five different age divisions.