Outlaws hit the hardwood in league playoffs
Last updated 2/21/2023 at Noon
The Outlaws (No.3) defeated La Pine (No.4) 65-53 at home on Thursday, February 16, in the first round of the Mountain Valley Conference Playoffs. Sisters got off to a hot start right out of the gates, just like they did in their match-up three days earlier (see related story at http://www.nuggetnews.com), and scored the first nine points of the contest.
Jessey Murillo got the scoring started on a drive and dish pass from Mehkye Froehlich. Kale Gardner scored the next seven points, his first basket a wing three-pointer on an assist from Scott, and the next two baskets on drives to the basket in transition.
The Outlaws’ defense stifled the Hawks and held them to one-of-seven shooting (14 percent) in the quarter, and forced them into four turnovers.
Gardner scored nine points in the period, Murillo had six, and Scott chipped in with four of the Outlaws’ 19 points. At the close of the first quarter the Outlaws were on top 19-6.
Play was fairly even in the second quarter. Sisters had four baskets in the period, three of them three-pointers. Scott hit a triple on the wing with an assist from Adam Maddox-Castle 30 seconds into the period, Fischer hit his triple-try at the top of the key on a pass from Murillo, and Maddox-Castle hit the final three from the wing on a pass from Froehlich. Froehlich finished the scoring with a contested layup with less than a minute to go in the quarter. At the half the Outlaws held a 14-point cushion with a score of 30-16.
Teams traded baskets back and forth at the start of the third period, but then with 4:30 left on the clock the Outlaws went on a 6-0 run and extended their lead to 18 points. The run started with another triple from Scott (assist from Froehlich) on a baseline inbound play. Scott hit another long ball in the quarter, and Fischer hit a three-pointer on a pass from Taine Martin with less than a minute left in the quarter. The Outlaws’ defense was solid and forced another four turnovers. Sisters held a 19-point advantage, 49-30, as teams headed into the final quarter.
The Outlaws knew they needed to come out aggressive and put the Hawks away early, but the Hawks had other plans. La Pine came out with more aggressiveness and full court pressure than before and cut the Outlaws’ lead to 13 points with 3:49 left in the game. Most of their points came from the charity stripe as they went a perfect 12-12 in the period.
Sisters called a timeout to regroup and refocus. The Outlaws responded and increased their lead back to 19 points. La Pine’s second unit hit a few field goals and several more free-throws to cut Sisters’ lead back to 12 for the final score of 65-53.
The Hawks went 27-34 from the free-throw line on the night, which accounted for over half of their total points.
Gardner led the Outlaws with 17 points, followed by Scott, who scored 15. Maddox-Castle contributed nine points, Fischer and Murillo tallied eight each, and Froehlich added six.
Coach Chad Rush said, “This was a game that no one was really excited for as we had just played La Pine three nights earlier. Despite that, I was proud of the way the team came out and performed tonight to earn us a berth into the state playoffs. Tonight was a pretty balanced attack with five guys scoring eight points or more, which is always a formula for success. We are excited to participate in the state playoffs next week and are eager to see who and where we will play.
Two days later the Outlaws traveled to Pleasant Hill (PH) to take on the Billies in the second round of league playoffs, and lost the contest 50-37. The game was a State-seeding game and didn’t affect either the Outlaws’ or the Billies’ berth into the 3A State Playoffs.
The Outlaws struggled on offense from the start and only scored four points in the first quarter, all from Murillo. Sisters just couldn’t convert on the offensive end, and missed several good shots that unfortunately didn’t fall. On the plus side, the Outlaws’ defense held the usual high-scoring Billies to just 13 points in the period.
In the second quarter the baskets began to fall for the Outlaws. Scoring started off quick with Murillo being fouled and then converting both his free-throws. Maddox-Castle contributed the next five points; a three-pointer on an assist from Diego Silva, and on the next possession a fast break layup on an assist from Gardner.
Gardner tied the game 14-14 on the next possession when he hit a triple from the corner with an assist from Scott. Unfortunately, the Billies responded with an 8-0 run and took the lead. PH extended their lead to 11 at the half, with the Outlaws down 18-29.
The Outlaws’ defense did a good job in the third quarter, and held Gavin Inglish, the Billies’ high-scorer, to just three points. Sisters’ offense outscored the Billies 14-12 in the quarter, with five different players contributing points. With less than a minute left in the third, Brody Fischer and Beckwith hit back-to-back three-pointers to close out the quarter and cut the Billies’ lead to nine.
Sisters’ defense again focused on Inglish and held him scoreless in the final period, and in addition held the Billies’ offense to single-digit points for the first time this year. Sadly, the Outlaws also only scored in the single digits and were not able to make up the point deficit, and had to record the loss.
Murillo led the Outlaws with 10 points, and Maddox-Castle followed with nine. Gardner tallied six points and two assists, and Scott finished with four points and two assists. Fischer contributed three points, three rebounds, and two blocks.
Rush said, “This was a game that meant very little for us in terms of standings and positioning for the State Playoffs, which we already clinched with our home win over La Pine on Thursday. The meaning that it did have was to try and erase the two league losses and the bad taste those losses left in our mouths. While we didn’t get the victory tonight, we played so much better and confident that I was pleased with the way the kids played.”