The Outlaws faced an excellent field of competition at their annual Holiday Tournament, Thurs. through Sat., December 27-29.

Teams included Henley and Mazama, two of the best teams from the Skyline League; Marist, who moved from 5A and is one of the top teams in the Sky-Em; Gladstone, (the No. 2 pick in the Tri-Valley); Estacada, also Tri-Valley; No. 1-ranked Banks (11-1) from the Cowapa Conference; and Cottage Grove.

Sisters matched up against Estacada in their first game on Thursday night. The Rangers are a patient and well-coached team that played hard and physical basketball, and they made the first three quarters tough for the Outlaws.

Every time Sisters started to pull away they were plagued by untimely turnovers. In the final period they buckled down, shot well from the stripe and were able to post a 50-40 win.

Zach Anderson, Jack Berg, and Ryan Waddell rebounded well. Noah Richards led the scoring effort, with seven of his 18 points coming in the first quarter. Richards had a big dunk in the second quarter, went five-for-six at the stripe in the fourth quarter and was 8-for-10 from the line overall.

Berg stepped up on the offensive end and recorded 13 points, and Anderson added 10. Brad Eagan led the team in assists, and sophomore Nate Weber came in off the bench and hit a huge three that sparked the Outlaws' offense.

On Friday, the Outlaws came from behind and defeated Mazama 44-34 in a wild game.

Sisters had a very poor start, missed shots, and couldn't contain the Vikings at all. Mazama scored from the inside and outside and dominated play for the first eight minutes, while the Outlaws struggled to score. At the close of the first quarter Mazama held a 16-2 lead.

Coach Ran Runco told The Nugget he knew his boys could make a run at Mazama, and they set a goal to cut the lead in half by halftime. The Outlaws changed defenses, got more aggressive and went after them. Sisters started to hit their shots, crawled back and cut the lead to four, 16-20, at the half.

"This group of seniors can really play and they are tough-minded," said Runco. "Jude (Carhart) came off the bench and really sparked the comeback."

The Outlaws outscored the Vikings 28-14 in the second half. Carhart and Berg were top scorers with 12 points each. Anderson contributed 10 points and Eagan and Waddell each pitched in for four.

The Outlaws played against top-ranked Banks in the championship game on Saturday night. It was a very physical game, which was a benefit to the more physical Braves team - few fouls were called - and Banks came out on top with a 47-35 win.

At the half, Banks held a 25-13 advantage and the Outlaws were outscored 15-8 in the third, but they never gave up. They buckled down and found a new level of effort in the final quarter and cut the Braves' 17-point lead down to seven.

"It took a ton of energy to get back, but we just could not turn the corner tonight," said Runco. "We had to foul them, and they finished and beat us by 12. It was a tough loss, but an excellent game to play before league."

Berg led the team with 13 points, and Waddell and Anderson added seven points each. Waddell, Anderson, and Berg all contributed in the rebounding effort.

Although the Outlaws struggled on offense, they did an excellent job on defense. Banks averages 65 points per game, and the Outlaws were able to hold them to 47.

Runco said, "We took away many of the things they like to do, but struggled to score. It was disappointing, but we learned a lot. Their big man forced us to change shots, and we were out-of-sorts offensively, but the boys fought hard and kept playing. We changed defense and sets, but could not find anything to work. It was obvious that the third day in a row took its toll and we need to be more fit."

The Outlaws will play at Newport on Friday, January 4.