First win: Hanrahan emerges as threat for Dragons
The Cameron High School Dragon Basketball Team picked up its first win, 58-28 over Cristo Rey, thanks to a surprise performance by senior guard Caden Hanrahan.
After a quiet first few outings, Hanrahan exploded for a team-leading 15 points in the 30-point rout to give the Dragons their first victory of the season.
“It feels good to get a win. Everybody got involved. We had a lot of energy on defense,” Hanrahan said. “We came out with more energy than we had (in the past). [Last Thursday] I was playing the same as I had been playing, my shots just went in tonight. I practiced a lot harder these last few practices. When we came out with more energy during warmups, I felt more ready than I had in previous games.”
Cristo Rey presented an early challenge for the Dragons with both teams deadlocked 12-10 going into the second quarter. A jumper by senior guard Ian Riley off the inbound, then a 3-point play on a contested shot by Hanrahan ignited a 17-0 run with the Dragons. Cristo Rey pieced together a few successful possessions in the second quarter, but a bucket by Hanrahan and a 3-pointer before by sophomore guard Thomas Robinson before the buzzer gave Cameron all the momentum they needed for the win.
“We did a better job at taking care of the ball and I feel like we are starting to execute a little better tonight,” Cameron coach Mark Gordon said. “We were able to run some sets tonight and got some decent looks off that. We got in a little bit of a hot streak in the third quarter and were able to put the game away in the fourth quarter. It was good to see.”
With his team in complete control coming out of the break, Gordon mixed in his bench players but the youthful additions did not diminish the offense’s effectiveness. Sophomore forward Daylin Cruickshank, who tied Riley for third in scoring with 9 points, gave Cameron a 20-point cushion followed by a put-back bucket by sophomore T.J. Best, who was second in scoring with 12 points. Midway through the fourth quarter Gordon pulled his starters and gave his seniors some time on the bench to relish in their senior night win.
The win snaps a five-game losing streak dating back to the 2019-2020 season. Following blowout losses to Northland Christian and East Buchanan, due COVID-19 quarantines requiring rescheduling of the latter game, the Dragons had a few extra days to work out the kinks in practice. Riley said that extra practice greatly benefited them last Thursday.
“We were fundamentally strong. We did things right, passed the ball around and made the easy buckets. We practiced hard. We knew we had to make a change from the past two games,” Riley said.
The Dragons will be on the road for the next week as they play in the Husker Class Basketball Tournament, facing host team Higginsville in the opening round. The winner will face the winner of the Richmond and Windsor game 7 p.m. Thursday while the loser will play at 5:30 p.m.