Zach Anderson battles for the ball against Justin Plechaty of Newport photo by William Benson
Zach Anderson battles for the ball against Justin Plechaty of Newport

photo by William Benson

Sisters defeated the Newport Cubs in a final score of 58-52 in a thrilling overtime nail-biter at home on Tuesday, January 29. Three days later, the Outlaws fell in a 46-45 heartbreaker at Cascade.

The Outlaws knew that the game against Newport would be tough. The Cubs' guard, Justin Plechaty, is an explosive player, Brian Tapia is a great shooter, and good players fill all other positions. Coach Rand Runco told The Nugget that the Outlaws worked hard staying home on the shooters and keeping Plechaty under control.

"Plechaty shoots the three if he has any room, he's quick going either direction, and finishes at the rim well," said Runco. "He's also a great passer and if left open he finds the open guys."

The game started off with low scoring by both squads. After three minutes of play Jack Berg and Noah Richards hit back-to-back threes to put the Outlaws on top 6-3. Sisters led until the two-minute mark when the Cubs hit a three-point shot and took the lead for the first time at 10-8. Richards hit a bucket and Zach Anderson hit both his free throws to give the Outlaws a 12-10 advantage to close out the quarter.

The Outlaws had the lead the entire second quarter and ended the first half in style. Berg dished the ball to Zach for an alley-oop in the final seconds that got the crowd on their feet and sent the Outlaws into the locker room with a 26-20 advantage.

Richards had seven of the Outlaws' third-quarter points, which kept Sisters in front 36-32.

Jude Carhart started the fourth quarter with a behind-the-back lay-up that had the Outlaws on top 38-32. From there, Newport held the Outlaws scoreless, while they added points to the scoreboard. At the four-minute mark the Cubs hit a bucket that gave them a 41-40 advantage. The Cubs scored again and extended their lead to 44-40. With approximately 1:20 left on the clock Ryan Waddell made both his shots at the stripe to close the gap to two.

The score stayed tight and with 8.9 seconds left, Anderson got to the rim and scored and was fouled on the shot. His freethrow was good and the Outlaws had narrowed the gap to one, trailing 48-47. The Cubs got the ball and the Outlaws were forced to foul Tapia, their best shooter. He was shooting one-and-one and missed, and the Outlaws got the rebound.

Emotions were high and the air was electric as time ticked down on the clock. Richards got fouled with 0.1 seconds left. Noah made the first shot to tie it up, but was short on the second. Waddell crashed the boards and tipped it up and in, but it was waved off because there was not enough time on the clock to catch and shoot.

Of the pressure at the line at the end of regulation Richards said, "I knew I had to make the shot or we'd lose. I was so nervous I was shaking, because I'd missed my previous free throws. When that first shot went in I was so relieved, and it just felt great."

In overtime, the Outlaws were patient and beat the Cubs 10-4. With 54 seconds left on the clock, Anderson blocked a three-point attempt and got the crowd back on their feet. The Outlaws' last five points came at the stripe, the final one by Richards that rattled around the rim and in.

Richards said, "This win was a great way to start the second half of league. We need to look at the rest of league like a staircase and take each game one step at a time."

Richards led the Outlaws with 20 points, and Anderson scored 15 points, going 11-for-12 from the line. Waddell tallied 14 points and Berg added seven.

"We played a good game," said Runco. "It was another playoff-feel game in the Far West League."

Three days later, the Outlaws suffered a tough loss at Cascade.

Sisters started off great and scored points quickly. Unfortunately, they forced some shots and allowed the Cougars to come back to within three to close out the first quarter 14-11.

Cascade switched zones and kept the Outlaws off-balance in the second period. Sisters rushed and hurried, and had several missed shots in the quarter. They were outscored 13-4 and entered the half down 18-24.

Sisters fought back, clamped down in the final period, and closed the gap to two. The Outlaws were not able to contain senior Brandon Staines, and the Cougars pulled ahead by seven with less than a minute to play.

"We made a run, and Zach and Brandon (Staines) pounded the glass with three efforts and Zach was able to connect for a three-point play to put us within four," said Runco. "We called our last time out and set up a play for Jack. Jack got a great pass from Brad (Eagan) and nailed a three-point shot and we were able to set up our press."

Sisters got to the line with three seconds left on the clock, but missed the free throw and lost by one.

Sisters was scheduled to play at home against Woodburn on Tuesday, February 5. The Outlaws will play at Philomath on Friday.