Cougars fall to top-seeded Northwood-Lena in regionals

By Malcolm Butler

No. 1 seed Northwood-Lena continued its march towards a possible state title Monday night, defeating No. 16 seed Cedar Creek 83-50 in regional action of the Select School Division IV playoffs.

Omarion Layssard scored 24 points and Jonathan Barron added 22 points to lead the No. 1 ranked team in the state to its 26th win of the season while the Cougars ended the year with a 13-14 record.

Creek first year head coach Lance Waldron said he felt his team left everything on the court.

“I think we gave it everything we had,” said Waldron. “Northwood-Lena is extremely talented, just like we thought they were. (Barron) shot the lights out, and (Layssard) was unstoppable. Our players played really hard and gave it everything they had. I was proud of the way we played and competed. No regrets.”

Northwood-Lena (26-7) hit six three-pointers in the opening quarter to run out to a 36-14 lead after the opening eight minutes of action as Jack Echols led the Cougars with six points. The Gators continued their onslaught on the scoreboard in the second quarter, outscoring Creek 27-13 to take a 63-27 halftime advantage.

“They never got cold,” said Waldron. “They stayed hot the whole game. I thought we had a good game plan. Our players were doing what they needed to do. Those two guys are good.They didn’t have a deep bench, but they have two really good kids. They were phenomenal.”

The Gators led 78-36 after three quarters of action before Creek outscored them 14-5 in the final stanza.

Northwood-Lena hit 15 three-pointers in the win.

Connor Norris and Echols led Cedar Creek with 12 points each while Carter Hill chipped in with eight points.

“I am really proud of our season,” said Waldron. “We got off to a slow start and gradually got better and better and better. I think we were playing our best ball at the end of the season which is always what you want to do. The kids kept believing, and I felt like we had a successful season. I thought all the guys really enjoyed playing basketball with each other this year.”

Creek had five seniors who played their final game, including Norris, Echols, Hill, Davis Walsworth and Brian Osborne.