By Rongi Yost

Outlaws basketball team loses two tough games


Last updated 2/14/2023 at Noon

The Outlaws lost both their games on the road this past week; a 63-47 loss at Pleasant Hill on Tuesday, February 7, and three days later a 60-41 loss at Creswell.

On Tuesday, the No. 2 Outlaws (7-2) faced the No. 3 Billies (6-3). It was a big game for the Outlaws, as a win would put the Billies two games behind them. Pleasant Hill started off hot and quickly took a 0-6 lead before Taine Martin made a bucket on a pass from Mehkye Froehlich to get the Outlaws on the board. At the close of the quarter the Outlaws were down seven, 7-14.

Teams traded baskets in the second period and play was fairly even. The Outlaws climbed to within six points, but then the Billies hit a long ball at the buzzer to go up by nine at the break.

Sisters got to within seven on a fast-break basket by Adam Maddox-Castle in the first minute of the third quarter. However, the Outlaws only scored five more points in the quarter, while the Billies exploded with 22 points in the period behind six Outlaws turnovers.

The fourth quarter didn’t get any better for the Outlaws. The Billies scored the first four points of the period, which put the Outlaws down by 28, their largest deficit of the game. With seven minutes left on the clock, Sisters swapped their starting players with their second unit. The Billies kept their main players in the game and the Outlaws’ reserves stepped up to the challenge, and outscored Pleasant Hill 15-7 during that stretch.

When the Billies’ reserves did enter the game, the Outlaws’ reserves outscored them 6-2 to close out the game. Sisters’ second unit ended up cutting the Billies’ lead from 28 to 16 while they were on the floor. The run was led by Brody Fischer, who scored nine points in the run, including two three-pointers. The Outlaws hit a total of four long balls from behind the arc, including Levi Szesze and Austin Dean, who also connected from long range.

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Fischer led the Outlaws with 15 points, followed by Martin and Landon Scott, who each scored six. Szesze contributed five points, Froehlich scored four, and Kale Gardner, Austin Dean, and Jessey Murillo added three points each.

Coach Chad Rush said, “This was a tough game for us. We just weren’t quite able to consistently handle the tough, physical pressure Pleasant Hill put on us all night. I was proud of our second unit tonight for stepping up in the fourth quarter when Pleasant Hill still had their main players in the game and were pressing us in the full court. It was a great sign to see some of the depth that the team has. We will move on from this, learn from our mistakes, and work hard in practice to correct our difficulties against pressure.”

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In Friday’s matchup at Creswell the Outlaws lost by 19.

The Bulldogs entered the game as the No. 1 team in the Mountain Valley Conference with a 9-1 record. Their only loss was to the Outlaws in the first round on January 20 in Sisters. The game went back and forth the first few minutes with teams trading baskets. Gardner got the Outlaws on the board in the first minute of play with a nice backdoor cut layup from Adam Maddox- Castle. Unfortunately, the Bulldogs went on a 10-5 run and closed out the period with an 11-point lead.

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Teams played even in the second period, with both squads putting up 12 points on the scoreboard. Gardner again got Sisters’ scoring started, this time with a highly contested driving layup. Brody Fischer led the Outlaws with eight points in the quarter, including two long balls from behind the arc. Fischer’s first three-pointer was off a baseline out-of-bounds play where Gardner found him open in the corner. The next possession, Maddox-Castle found him open on the opposite wing for his second three-pointer, which brought the Outlaws to within eight points with 1:30 left in the period. Creswell scored again and at the half the Outlaws trailed 24-35.

The Outlaws struggled to score in the third period, and could only muster six points. Sisters held the Bulldogs to nine points to keep the game within striking distance. Scott scored the first four points for the Outlaws and Maddox-Castle finished the scoring with a steal and transition layup with 2:30 left in the quarter. The layup brought the Outlaws to within 13 points, the closest they would get for the remainder of the game.

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Sisters kept fighting in the final quarter against the very talented Bulldog squad. Gardner and Scott both hit three-pointers, and the Outlaws kept at it, but it just wasn’t enough to close the gap.

Rush said, “We knew going into this game that it was going to take a great effort to beat the fully healthy Bulldogs on their home floor. Coming off a disappointing performance on Tuesday night at Pleasant Hill, I was pleased to see the guys respond with grit and determination tonight. We didn’t get the win, but I felt we played hard and made strides towards preparing us for next week.”

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The loss secured the third spot for the Outlaws in the final league standings.

Gardner led the Outlaws with 12 points, Scott followed with nine points and two steals, and Fischer scored eight. Maddox-Castle tallied five points and had four steals. Froehlich recorded four points, and Jessey Murillo posted three points and led the team with 10 rebounds.

The Outlaws were scheduled to play at home against La?Pine on Monday, February 13. They will host La?Pine again on Thursday evening in the first round of league playoffs.


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