Cole Camp Comes Up Short In District Championship


It was a game for the ages. Having lost twice to Versailles this season, 75-45 and 99-76, the Cole Camp Bluebirds dreamed about playing the Tigers for the Class 3 District 8 championship.

The beautiful Stover Dome was packed in the downstairs bleachers and spectators lined up like Bennett Springs trout fisherman around the railings to witness the much anticipated matchup. Could Coach Kevin Shearer's Cole Camp defense slow down the high powered offense led by Versailles sharp shooter Ryder Williams and company? The answer was "yes", but in the end it was the Tigers winning 50-45 to move on to the playoffs.

Bluebirds' coach Shearer commented, "This was a three game plan. The first time we didn't have Gentry (Dieckman). The second time we tried something that didn't work. We knew we couldn't run with them. The plan was to always put Harrison on him (Ryder Williams) and it worked. We held them to 50 points."

Cole Camp's All-State big man 6'6" Gentry Dieckman played havoc on the defensive end blocking shots and picking off passes to the frustration of the Tigers offensive schemes. Versailles, on the other end, with their 3-2 zone made Cole Camp work for a good shot.

Versailles jumped out to a 8-0 lead but the Bluebirds climbed back and it was 18-15 in favor of the Tigers after one.

Dieckman got into foul trouble and sat out parts of the second quarter. Shearer, the chess master he is, rotated Dieckman in and out the rest of game.

Cole Camp tied it at 20 all on a three by Reid Harrison and the crafty guard hit a floater at the buzzer to cut the halftime score to 29-24.

Dieckman, at the 3:44 mark of the third, drove to the basket, pulling the defense and hit Matthew Bright for a layup to tie the game at 31. The lanky forward would do it again to take the lead at 33-31. His passing ability made him hard to defend all season. Down 36-31, Williams hit a Steph Curry three to make it 36-34 after three.

The fourth was a basketball war. At 7:23, Versailles took the lead at 37-36 and never gave it back. Williams, surprisingly missed four free throws in the quarter but nailed 4 of his 8 and was 10 for 15 in the game to net 25 points, well below his average of 35.2 ppg to lead all scorers. He had 63 against Warsaw two weeks ago.

On a side note, with 4:19 left in the game, Harrison hit a free three for his 1,000th career point for the Bluebirds.

Cole Camp turned the ball over at the end and Versailles held on for the win.

Versailles Coach Josh Walters commented, "They are a good team and we knew Coach Shearer would get everything out of his boys. This was a great atmosphere."

Asked about Williams missing the free throws, the coach said, "He just got caught up in the moment. This was a big game. He is a great shooter. He responded well."

Versailles three losses came to Eugene twice and California and they are now at 24-3. Cole Camp finished their season at 21-7.

VERSAILLES (50): Williams, 25; Murdock, 2; Ollison, 12; Vansell, 6; Albright, 5.

COLE CAMP (45): G. Dieckman, 18; C. Dieckman, 2; Strahman, 5; Harrison, 9; Bright, 6.
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On Thursday, Cole Camp defeated number two seed Stover, 73-56. They avenged an earlier loss with two straight victories over the Bulldogs. Reid Harrison went 10 for 10 from the free throw line in the fourth and finished with 21 points. Grady Strathman also had 21 while Gentry Dieckman netted 18.
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In their play-in game against Warsaw, both squads got off to slow starts but and the score was just 10-6 at the end of the first.

The Bluebirds seemingly handed Warsaw opportunities throughout the first but they never did take advantage as Cole Camp stretched began to find their rhythm and stretched their lead to 25-13 at the break.

It was another slow start for Warsaw in the second half and the Bluebirds took advantage by building a 40-20 lead at the end of three and then an even 13-13 fourth period led to the Bluebirds win over the cross-county Wildcats, 53-33.

"We struggled scoring early; had great looks, just couldn't get them to fall," Warsaw coach Matt Brownsberger said after the game. "Defensively, I was pleased with how we played. Cole Camp is a good team."

Gentry Dieckman led all scorers with 24 for the Bluebirds while Tyler Howard knocked down four 3's for 12 points.

Logan Gemes led Warsaw with 12 points and Garrett Ferguson dropped 10.

WARSAW (33): S. Poyser, 5; G. Ferguson, 10; L. Henderson, 2; B. Slavens, 0; B. Henderson, 0; L. Bilderback, 0; C. Davis, 0; L. Gemes, 0; L. Gemes, 12; N. Siebert, 1; A. Burdick, 0; J. Newell, 3; J.C. Minks, 0.

COLE CAMP (53): Clark, 0; Strathman, 4; C. Dieckman, 0; Phillips, 0; Harrison, 5; Abey, 0; Godwin, 0; Bright, 2; Howard, 12; G. Dieckman, 24; Bohon, 0; Peterson, 4; Loganbill, 0; Thompson, 0.