SALEM, Ore. – Former Corban University all-conference men’s basketball player Erik Cronrath (Battle Ground, Wash.) added another award to his trophy case Saturday when he won the slam dunk competition at the 14th annual Hoopla event in front of the Capitol building in downtown Salem.
Cronrath, who recently concluded an amazing four-year career as a Warrior, tallied a two-dunk score of 125 in the finals to defeat Dionte Smith’s 101-point total.
“Honestly I hadn’t practiced really dunking,” said Cronrath. “I didn’t have a whole lot of ideas. Before the event started I was like, okay, I’m kind of nervous about this and I prayed for God to help me.”
Cronrath, who was competing for the second time in the dunk contest, led the competition after the first of three rounds with a windmill and 360-dunk that gave him a combined score of 141.
In the one-dunk semifinals, Smith scored a 64 on his dunk and Cronrath didn’t make his dunk, but still scored 55 to reach the finals by one point.
Cronrath went first to start the finals and with the large crowd starting to dissipate, he started from the corner of the court, ran the baseline, put the ball under his left leg and then dunked it behind the basket for a 75 that brought a vocal applause from the crowd and he nearly fell down from his momentum.
Smith missed his attempted alley-oop to himself and got a 30 so Cronrath went conservative on his dunk and went with a straight-ahead dunk and scored 40.
“I was listening to one of my buddies in the crowd and he said go for it and put your elbow in the rim,” said Cronrath. “Honestly at that point I had run out of ideas. It turned out to be a regular dunk.”
Smith converted on a windmill jam on his second dunk and received a score of 71, but it left him far behind Cronrath.
“All the early dunks I knew I could perform and make it look somewhat cool,” said the 6-foot-8 Cronrath. “I was kind of shocked to be in the lead, advance to the finals, and win the trophy because I thought there was some really good guys.”
This is the second year in a row that a member of Corban’s men’s basketball team has competed in the finals of the Hoopla slam dunk competition.
Cronrath concluded his career 14th on the all-time scoring list in Corban history with 1,520 points.