Boys hoops falls in second round of state playoffs
Last updated 2/28/2023 at Noon
The Outlaws started their week on Wednesday, February 22 with a 41-37 win on the road against Neah-Kah-Nie in the first round of the 3A State Playoffs. Three days later they traveled to Tigard to take on the No.1-ranked Westside Christian Eagles, and fell with a final score of 62-43.
In Tuesday’s action the game went back and forth for the first four minutes of play with the Tigard Pirates holding several one-point leads. With 3:57 left in the period, Jessey Murillo hit a free-throw to tie the game 7-7. From there the Outlaws closed out the quarter on an 11-2 run, starting when Adam Maddox-Castle got a steal and went coast-to-coast for the layup. Other highlights in the run were a jumper from the free-throw line from Diego Silva, a steal from Landon Scott, who passed the ball to Kale Gardner for a layup, and a steal from Silva, who passed the ball ahead to Maddox-Castle for a layup.
The Outlaws offense stalled in the second quarter; they were held scoreless for the first four minutes.
That changed on a baseline out-of-bounds play when Maddox-Castle hit Murillo under the basket for an easy two points.
Mehkye Froehlich hit a long ball that extended the Outlaws’ lead to 10.
Hudson Beckwith stole the ball and took it the length of the floor for a layup with one minute left on the clock.
Time ticked down and with just two seconds left Maddox-Castle hit Froehlich for a wide-open layup at the basket.
Sisters’ defense continued to badger the Pirates, forced them into five turnovers, and held them to just six points in the quarter.
At the half the Outlaws were on top 27-15.
Sisters came out firing on all cylinders at the start of the third, and scored the first play of the half on a pass from Scott to Murillo for an easy bucket. On the next possession, Scott hit a triple in the corner on an assist from Gardner. That gave the Outlaws a 15-point lead at 32-17.
The Pirates ramped up their pressure and went on a 9-2 run to close out the quarter, trimming the Outlaws’ lead to eight.
The Pirates continued to apply defensive pressure in the final period and forced six Outlaw turnovers. Sisters didn’t score until Gardner hit Murillo for a reverse layup with 3:42 left on the clock. On the next possession, Froehlich took the ball at the wing, made a strong move to the hoop, scored a layup, and extended the Outlaws’ lead to 38-28.
Sisters committed some turnovers, and the Pirates crowd went wild. With 35 seconds left in the game, the Pirates had a chance to tie the game from the free-throw line. They made one of their two attempts and cut the Outlaws’ lead to just one point.
With 18 seconds left, Maddox-Castle was fouled and made one of his two attempts, to give the Outlaws a two-point advantage. The Pirates got the ball tipped out of their hands, and Murillo fired the ball to Maddox-Castle, who was fouled with six seconds left. This time, Murillo hit both shots to give the Outlaws a four-point lead. The Pirates missed a three-point attempt at the buzzer, and the Outlaws walked off the court with the victory.
Murillo led the Outlaws with 11 points, eight rebounds, and three steals. Froehlich put up 11 points, and Maddox-Castle scored 10 points, grabbed four rebounds and two steals, and dished out three assists. Scott had three points and four rebounds, and Diego Silvia contributed two points, four rebounds, and two steals. Gardner tallied two points and three assists, and Beckwith pitched in two points in the contest.
Coach Chad Rush said, “I am proud of the team for this gutsy win on the road tonight. To make a five-hour trip through snow and multiple stops and come out clicking at the beginning of the game is a testament to the team’s mental focus. While we weren’t able to close the game out like we wanted to, being able to earn the win and advance to the next round was our ultimate goal.
“Adam’s free-throws at the end of the game were huge and a testament to him for putting in extra time after practice working on his free-throws just for situations like this,” added Rush. “I was glad to see him knock those down and give us the final margin of victory.”
On Saturday the Outlaws made the trek to Tigard to take on the Eagles in the second round of the 3A State Playoffs, and a chance to advance to the final site in Coos Bay.
Teams traded baskets early and the Outlaws executed their offense with patience and precision and got several looks right at the basket. Sisters’ defense worked hard against the talented Eagles roster, but a couple of key turnovers gave the Eagles a nine-point lead at the end of the first quarter.
In the second period the Outlaws missed several opportunities to put additional points on the scoreboard. They switched up their defenses frequently, which slowed down the Eagles and held them to just 11 points. At the half the Outlaws trailed 19-30.
The Eagles came out on fire from behind the arc in the third quarter and hit three triples to expand their lead to 21 points. Sisters stayed with their game plan and continued to be patient on offense and looked for opportunities to attack the basket.
Sisters went six-for-six from the free-throw line in the third, with Diego Silva going a perfect four-for-four, and Gardner going two-for-two. Silva also hit a driving layup to lead the Outlaws in scoring for the period, with six points. The Eagles racked up 18 points in the period and at the close of the third the Outlaws found themselves down 27-48.
In the final period the Outlaws showed the trait that has defined them the entire year: They never quit. The Outlaws outscored the Eagles 16-14. Eight different Outlaws contributed points in the quarter. Fischer hit the only three in the period; Gardner, Froehlich, Martin Murillo, and Oliver Bernhardt each scored a field goal; and Scott and Gardner both contributed points at the free-throw line. However, the Outlaws just couldn’t make up the earlier deficit and had to take the loss.
Silva and Gardner led the Outlaws with eight points each, and Maddox-Castle and Scott followed with six each. Taine Martin and Murillo scored four points, Fischer contributed three, and Froehlich and Oliver Bernhardt pitched in two apiece.
Rush said, “I was extremely proud of the team tonight. Going up against the No. 1 team in the state is not an easy task, but our guys didn’t show any fear or hesitation. We battled and made Westside work tonight, which was our goal against the very talented Eagles team. This game hopefully showed our players, especially the returning players, that we have the ability to compete at the highest level. There will be things we need to work on and improve this off-season, but being able to compete tonight like we did shows a lot of heart and grit.
“I am so proud of our four seniors (Maddox-Castle, Murillo, Froehlich, and Martin) for working so hard this season to elevate Outlaws basketball to a place that will compete with the top teams in the state for a long time to come,” added Rush. “We couldn’t have done what we did without those four young men.”