By Rongi Yost
Correspondent 

Outlaws wrap up league play with win over La Pine

 

Last updated 2/21/2023 at Noon

OLIVIA KENNEDY

The Outlaws wrapped up league play with a 67-42 victory at home against the La Pine Hawks on Monday, February 13. With that win, the Outlaws will host the first round of state playoffs at home on Thursday, again against La Pine.

Prior to the game the Outlaws honored their four seniors, Mehkye Froehlich, Adam Maddox-Castle, Taine Martin, and Jessey Murillo.

Coach Chad Rush made special note of each of his four senior players.

Rush told The Nugget that Maddox-Castle is the ultimate competitor, and made some individual sacrifices this season to help the team see increased success, which he stated is not easy to do.

“I admire and respect Adam so much for what he did for this team,” said Rush. “Adam is our defensive stopper. He always gets the task of guarding the opponent’s best player, whether that is a point guard or center or anyone in between. He willingly accepts that challenge each and every night. We could not have had the success we did this year without the effort, leadership, and energy that Adam brought on a daily basis.”


Rush described Murillo as a fierce competitor that hates to lose.

“For his career, he has had to play the center position, often giving up three to five inches on his opponent,” said Rush. “This has not stopped Jessey from working hard and doing what the team needs him to do, always with an intensity that is unmatched. He is a player that has a great IQ for the game and oftentimes would see things that the coaches didn’t see or didn’t think about. Jessey has been instrumental this season in helping us make the league and state playoffs.”


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Martin was noted as an extremely hard worker and a very coachable player.

“Taine is able to use his great athleticism to his advantage, often out-running his opponent down the floor for a layup or out-jumping his opponent for a rebound,” said Rush. “Taine was injured a couple of times this year, but that did not stop him from learning and participating in what we were doing this season. When another teammate got injured and missed several games, Taine stepped in and performed at a high level to keep our team moving forward. He has been a big part to our success this season.”

Rounding out the four seniors is Froehlich, who Rush stated is arguably one of the Outlaws’ most athletic players.

“This season Mehkye dedicated himself to having the best season possible,” said Rush. “He is a very versatile player both on offense and defense. He is able to shoot the ball from the perimeter as well as attack the rim and finish through contact. On defense, Mehkye reads the ball so well and as a result is able to get a lot of steals. There were several games where his timely steals and fast-break layups were momentum changers for us. We would not have been able to do the things we did this year if we did not have Mehkye on the team.”


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Rush added, “I am sad to see Adam, Jessey, Taine, and Mehkye play their final regular season game, but am so proud of what these young men have done to elevate Outlaw basketball these past two seasons. They will be missed, but also remembered for what they have done.”


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The game against the Hawks wouldn’t change the league standings (Outlaws No. 3 and Hawks No. 4).

Sisters started the game hot thanks to Froehlich, who scored the team’s first six points of the game. Froehlich tipped in a missed shot from Martin to get the scoring started and then made a steal and converted a transition fast-break layup on consecutive possessions.

Froehlich contributed 11 points in the quarter to lead the Outlaws. He scored 11 of the team’s first 13 points of the game, and snatched four of his seven steals in the quarter as well.

The Outlaws’ defense was also stingy, and kept the Hawks to just nine points and caused them to turn the ball over eight times. At the end of the first period the Outlaws held a 16-9 lead.

Gardner hit a three-pointer at the top of the key on an assist from Brody Fischer to get the second quarter scoring started. The Hawks came out in a 2-3 zone defense, which slightly altered the Outlaws’ attack. The team adjusted and figured it out by getting the ball inside to Murillo and Fischer, who scored four points each. Gardner finished the second quarter scoring on a contested driving layup with a minute left in the period. The Outlaws were patient and executed against the Hawks’ 2-3 defense with 12 of their 16 points coming in the paint. At the half the Outlaws were on top 32-21.


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Just 10 seconds into the third quarter, Froehlich stole the ball and converted a transition basket. From there Maddox-Castle scored three consecutive baskets for his six points in the quarter.

The Outlaws continued to pressure the Hawks in their man-to-man defense, which caused many difficult shots at the basket as well as another five turnovers in the period.


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Froehlich scored Sisters’ final points of the quarter on an acrobatic catch and layup from Martin with 43 seconds left on the clock. Sisters put 18 points on the scoreboard for their best scoring quarter of the night.

In the final quarter Froehlich hit a triple at the top of the key on a pass from Fischer at the 20-second mark. A minute into the period the Hawks pulled their starters with the Outlaws up by 22 points, and a minute later Sisters pulled their starters to a standing ovation.

The Outlaws’ second unit ended the game on a 10-8 run to bring the final margin to 25 points. Garrett Sager contributed four points off the bench and Austin Dean scored three points in the period.


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Coach Chad Rush said, “I was so proud of how the team played tonight. With the emotions of Senior Night, making the playoffs, and knowing we were going to play La Pine again on Thursday, the boys did an outstanding job of just playing basketball. They came out aggressive and set the tone early. Even with some early foul trouble, we were able to keep the pressure on La Pine all night.”

Froehlich led the Outlaws with 22 points and went 10-13 for field goals for 77 percent on the night. In addition he recorded seven steals and five rebounds. Scott scored seven points and had three assists, Garrett Sager, Brody Fischer, and Jessey Murillo each tallied four points, and Austin Dean and Taine Martin both had three points in the game.


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The Outlaws finished the regular season at 8-4 in league play for a third-place finish, and a 12-12 overall record for the season.

 

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