Churchill outscored Ashland 9-0 over the last four minutes to hand the Grizzlies a tough-to-swallow 60-54 setback in the Midwestern League opener for both teams Friday at Mountain Avenue Gym.
The Grizzlies were nursing a three-point lead before the Lancers, who entered the game No. 7 in the OSAA Class 5A power rankings, took advantage of missed shots and a key turnover to escape with the win. On one of the most important plays of the night, Ashland was called for a five-second violation while trying to inbound down three with 40 seconds to go.
“They surprised us with a different look and we weren’t ready for it,” Ashland coach Sam Osofsky said.
Churchill (9-2), which has won four of its last five games, led 31-30 at the half and trailed 47-46 entering the fourth quarter.
Silas Bennion had 20 points for the Lancers, while Jonathon Nchekwube added 20 points and 11 rebounds.
Adam Jones led Ashland (4-7) with 20 points and Anthony Swanson scored eight.
Osofsky said the Grizzlies had their chances but couldn’t cash in.
“We just missed our looks down the stretch,” he said. “We had great looks and shots we knew we could hit and just had a little cold streak at an inopportune time.
“Getting yourself in a position to win a game against one of the best teams in the state is something to be proud of, so we’re just going to trust the process and figure out what we need to do to take advantage of that opportunity the next time.”
Churchill used a 17-0 first-quarter run to pull away from Ashland early en route to a 70-33 victory in the Midwestern League opener for both teams Friday at Churchill High.
Sophie Elstone scored 17 points and Kayla Nesbitt 12 to lead the Lancers (4-6), who opened up a 22-point lead through one quarter and snapped a three-game skid.
Nina Munson scored 13 points and Malia Rodriguez seven for Ashland (3-8), which also received three steals apiece from Mya Elder-Hammond and Jayd Sollinger.
ASHLAND (33) — Voskes 0, Sollinger 0, Barnes 0, Gorringe 2, Moran 1, LaCoste 2, Munson 13, Elder-Hammond 1, Summers 2, Witnauer 5, Rodriguez 7, Abel 0. Totals: 13 7-20 33.
CHURCHILL (70) — N. Elstone 8, Smith 6, S. Elstone 17, Williams 8, Nesbitt 12, Acker 8, Reyes 2, Miller 7, Aley 2. Totals: 29 5-10 70.
3-point goals — Churchill 7 (N. Elstone 1, S. Elstone 3, Williams 2, Nesbitt 1).
JV — Churchill won.
At Springfield, Ashland beat Crater and Springfield to come out on top in a Midwestern League three-way Friday at the Willamalane Park Swim Center.
The Grizzlies finished with 112 points, while Springfield earned 101 and Crater 51. Springfield won the girls meet with 149 points, while Ashland placed second 72 and Crater third with 43.
Setting personal records for the Ashland boys were Baylor Wiggins in the 200 freestyle (1 minute, 58.54 seconds) and Chris Frownfelter in the 100 backstroke (58.95).
In girls action, Ashland’s Becca McMonagle placed second in the 100 butterfly and third in the 200 individual medley, while teammates Kelsey Powell (first, 6:38.57) and Maya Livni (fourth, 7:11.34) both had PRs in the 500 freestyle.