Outlaws finish week with win on the hardwood

 

Last updated 12/19/2023 at 10:58am



The Outlaws played hard against the visiting Cottage Grove (CG) Lions on Tuesday, December 12, but lost by three, 45-48, in an exciting fourth-quarter battle. Three days later at South Umpqua the Outlaws prevailed and posted a 61-44 victory.

On Tuesday the Lions came out with a pressure style defense that knocked the Outlaws back a bit at the start of the game. Cottage Grove scored seven straight points in just over two minutes of play and held the Outlaws scoreless.

Landon Scott got the Outlaws started and scored six straight points, including a three that closed the gap to 6-7. With just under three minutes left in the quarter Oliver Bernhardt hit a three off a Kale Gardner assist to tie the game at 9-9. Unfortunately, that ended the Outlaws’ scoring for the quarter. The Lions went on an eight point run and at the end the Outlaws trailed 9-17.

Austin Dean scored at the start of the second period with a three pointer at the top of the key off an assist from Hudson Beckwith. Sisters held the Lions to just four points. Brody Fischer and Diego Silva scored back-to-back buckets to close out the quarter and pull within five points of the Lions, 16-21.

At the break the Outlaws knew they had to make some adjustments and take better care of the ball, as they’d turned the ball over 12 times in the first half. They only committed two turnovers in the third quarter.

Fischer got hot for the Outlaws and hit three long balls, the first from the left corner on an assist from Dean with three and half minutes left in the quarter, which closed the gap to 22-24. His second was in the exact same spot off an assist from Silva 25 seconds later, which made it a one-point game (25-26). Cottage Grove scored and hit the plus one to go up 25-29, and Fischer answered with his third three from the right wing to again close the gap to one, 28-29. 

The game continued to be tight until the buzzer sounded to end the quarter. The lions hit two free-throws to go up by three and Dean followed with two free-throws to tighten it up once again 30-31. With 23 seconds left in the third Dean hit one of his two free throw attempts and tied the game for the first time at 31-31. Fischer finished with 10 of the Outlaws’ 15 third-quarter points.

At the start of the final period, Bernhardt scored on a contested layup with an assist from Garrett Sager to give Sisters their first lead of the contest, 33-31. Unfortunately, that would be Sisters’ only lead of the game. The Lions’ leading scorer, senior Gannon Leach, scored seven straight points and CG regained the lead.

Sisters continued to scrap and stayed within striking distance. With 2:30 left on the clock and the score 41-46, the Outlaws scored the next four points, two free-throws from Scott and a transition layup from Scott with 40 seconds left in the game, and once again found themselves down by just one, 45-46. Sisters was forced to foul and the Lions hit both free throws and took a three-point lead with just eight seconds left in the contest.

The Outlaws called a timeout with 2.8 seconds left, drew up a play for Scott to get the ball in the left corner for a three-point shot. Sisters executed the play perfectly, but unfortunately Scott just missed as time expired.

Scott led the Outlaws with 14 points, Fischer scored 12, Bernhardt 11, and Austin Dean added six. 

Coach Chad Rush said, “This was another tough, physical game. I was proud of the team for making an adjustment at halftime and cutting down their turnovers from 12 in the first half to just four in the second. The team’s defensive effort against a taller CG team was what kept us in the game. It was great to see the improvement and consistency on that side of the ball.”

On the road three days later the Outlaws jumped right out of the gate with a 5-1 lead over the Lancers. On the first possession Kale Gardner tipped the opening jump to Scott, who took it to the top of the key and found a wide open Hudson Beckwith on the wing for a three- pointer. Fischer hit a three- pointer from the top of the key to close out the quarter on a Levi Szesze assist with a score of 19-14. The Outlaws’ full-court tempo press and aggressive half-court man-to-man defense caused eight Lancer turnovers that led to eight of the Outlaws’ 19 points.

The Outlaws scored first in the second quarter when Diego Silva took a pass from Beckwith at the free-throw line and drove to the basket for a contested layup. South Umpqua cut the Outlaws’ lead to two points, 23-21, midway through the quarter, but that would be as close as they’d get for the remainder of the game. Sisters responded with a 4-0 run to expand the lead and close out the half 33-28.

In the third the Outlaws went on a 10-0 run to start the quarter and took the largest lead of the game at 15. They carved apart the Lancers 1-3-1 defense with six assists, and ramped up their defensive pressure, which caused eight turnovers that they turned into eight points.  

Sisters held a seven-point advantage as teams headed into the final quarter. They started the period off on a 7-0 run, and expanded their lead to 14 points. The defense only allowed the Lancers four points in the quarter, held them to 16 percent shooting, and caused seven turnovers to squash any comeback hopes the Lancers might have had.

Scott led the team with 15 points, six rebounds, four steals, and three assists. Bernhardt tallied 12 points, Hudson Beckwith and Garrett Sager contributed eight points each, with Sager pitching in with three assists.  Diego Silva posted six points and five rebounds, Levi Szesze had five points, and Fischer added another five points and a block. Austin Dean pitched in with two points and four assists, and Gardner recorded three assists.

Rush said, “This was our most complete game so far this season. After our disappointing loss on Tuesday against Cottage Grove, where we got out-rebounded by a wide margin, our goal this game was to limit the Lancers’ second-chance points. We did that by only allowing six of their points to come off of offensive rebounds. All nine players played a key role during the game, demonstrating what the coaching staff has known all along, which is that this is a deep team that on any given night could see multiple people step up and make significant contributions.”

Sisters was scheduled to play at home against Sweet Home on Tuesday, December 19. They will play on the road at Estacada on Wednesday.

 

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