CK jumps on Bulldogs early

JR Gordon wasn’t sure how he ended up where he did. After going up for a block against North Mason’s Spencer Cooper, Gordon came down on Cooper, laying out across his shoulders and forcing the North Mason forward into an involuntary piggy-back ride.

“I don’t know what happened,” Gordon, the CK junior guard, said. “I was scared for my life.”

But it was the Bulldogs who looked scared after the thumping Gordon and company put down in CKs 64-43 varsity boys basketball win at home on Saturday. Gordon lit up North Mason for 25, while teammate Neil Fryer added 22. With a good transition game, CK (1-1) opened up a 33-7 halftime lead that they would never relinquish.

“We played much better than last week,” CK coach Tim Fryer said, referring to the Cougars season-opening loss against Centralia. “We came out ready to play tonight. Tonight we didn’t live and die by the three-point shot. It’s nice to get inside.”

In a game that started a half-hour early, CK dominated North Mason from the start, allowing just one first-quarter point by the Bulldogs.

“I think our defense is what did it for us,” Tim Fryer said. “We made much better decisions. I think our ‘D’ is what turned us around.”

CK used a fast-paced offense to open up holes in the NM defense throughout the night. Gordon was everywhere he needed to be. At one point in the third quarter, Gordon drove the lane, but missed the shot. He was able to regroup, grab the board and find Neil Fryer for the long jumper to make it 35-16. On the next drive down, Trent Bearbower couldn’t convert the breakaway bucket, but Gordon hustled back with him and was able to follow through for two more. Gordon looked explosive all night, using quick bursts to make things happen.

“JR is a very talented player,” Tim Fryer said. “He is just starting to play the way that he can. He played a different role on the team last year, but has all the physical attributes of a great player.

“As long as he doesn’t hog the ball, I’m OK with it. JR is one of those players you don’t want to inhibit.”

Gordon said he was just doing his best to help the team.

“I just try to contribute to the team as much as possible,” Gordon said. “Whether it’s the boards or passing or whatever. We always keep our head up.”

Neil Fryer nearly brought the house down in the third quarter. With 1:21 left on the clock, an inside shot by CKs Ryan Forney came out off the rim. Neil Fryer came in flying above the rim and got a hand on the ball. He sent it down hard toward the hoop, but just hit the tongue of the rim, forcing the one-handed jam to miss and bounce backward. Despite the miss, the play still got the crowd on its feet.

Tim Fryer said he was glad CK was able to build the early lead, as it allowed him to get some younger players on the court. He pointed out JV call-up and sophomore Ryen Joersz as an example.

“I think (the younger players) need to get on the floor,” Tim Fryer said. “(Ryan) proved he’s quite capable in playing his role.”

Tim Fryer said while the defense stepped up its play tonight, it will need to continue to play at a higher level in order for CK to be successful.

“We’re going to keep working hard on our defense,” Tim Fryer said. “We have to be able to rebound. That’s what we’ll work on.”

CK next takes on Stadium at home tonight for a 7 p.m. game.

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