RIDDLE — In a matchup of Eagles, East Linn Christian of Lebanon proved far superior to the Yoncalla boys on Friday.
Exploiting its height advantage, East Linn Christian made Yoncalla pay in the paint in a 72-39 victory in the first round of the Cow Creek Classic at Riddle High School.
East Linn (3-2), a member of the Class 2A Central Valley Conference, moves into the tournament title game against Riddle (4-0) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday. 1A Yoncalla (1-3) faces Canyonville Academy (2-3) for third at 11:30 a.m.
Senior Ben Johnson and sophomore Ethan Slayden, two post players, led the way for East Linn Christian against Yoncalla.
Johnson finished with 23 points, 12 coming in the first half. Slayden had 21 points.
East Linn took an 18-2 lead late in the first quarter and was up 34-18 at halftime. Trey Weller was the other ELC in double figures with 10 points.
“Tough matchup for us,” said Yoncalla first-year head coach Darwin Terry. “We thought about running a triangle-and-two, but I saw their size and went with a 2-1-2 zone to try and match up with their big guys. They made it tough on us ... they controlled the boards and their inside game hurt us.”
Sophomore guard Bryan Allen led Yoncalla with 12 points, including a pair of 3-pointers. Austin Clemons had six points, while Jeff Tibbatts and Corbin Eichman each chipped in five.
Yoncalla committed 17 turnovers in the contest.
“I think our effort was good,” Terry said.
Yoncalla has five seniors on its roster this year — Austin Marquez, Dominic Aguilar, Tibbatts, Eichman and Athoususs Gilbert.
The Eagles notched their first win of the season last Tuesday, defeating Crow 60-41 at home.
“There’s been a significant amount of improvement since our first game,” said Terry. “They’re executing the offense and defense. It’s just about the little things.”
YONCALLA (39) — Bryan Allen 12, Marquez 2, Best 3, Aguilar, Tibbatts 5, Clemons 6, E. Allen 4, Forthman, Eichman 5, Gilbert 2. Totals 12 10-15 39.
EAST LINN CHRISTIAN (72) — Ben Johnson 23, Weller 10, Pr. Gerig 6, J. Vandehey 8, Pe. Gerig, Yamashina 4, Slayden 21, A. Vandehey. C. Vandehey. Totals 31 10-22 72.
Yoncalla 7 11 8 13 — 39
ELC 18 16 13 25 — 72
3-Point Goals — ELC 0, Yon. 5 (B. Allen 2, Best 1, Tibbatts 1, Eichman 1). Total Fouls — ELC 16, Yon. 19. Fouled Out — E. Allen, Eichman.