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home : sports & recreation : sports & recreation January 17, 2019

12/31/2018 11:56:00 AM
Outlaws second in Holiday Tourney
Oregon West looks to be top league in the state
The Oregon West League is expected to be the top 4A boys basketball league in the state. All teams have rotated through the top-10 rankings, keeping at least four in the top 10.

All the programs have started to get a good look at the new league and according to Outlaws Coach Rand Runco, coaches are predicting a dogfight. Every other league in 4A has just a couple of tough teams.

The Cowapa boast No.1-ranked Banks, and defending State Champion Seaside, which return all of their players. The Sky-Em has Marshfield, which returns their entire roster, including two 6-foot-7-inch posts.

Oregon West has seven teams that can all do damage.

Sisters brings back several returning players, three (Zach Anderson, Jack Berg, and Noah Richards) played many minutes on last year's team that made it to the final site, and Jude Carhart and Ryan Waddell have stepped into significant playing roles.

New players on the varsity squad that are working their way up and starting to build depth are Joe Scholl (post), Brogan Peterson at wing, Nate Weber at shooting guard, Sam Nicklous as a guard, and Connor Linn and Judson Jones.

Runco said, "We have a really unique team in that when they are playing well they can play with any team. We have for the most part been playing six players. Each player is versatile and able to play multiple positions. We do not have a true post, but all players can score inside and out.

"So far, scoring and rebounding are shared as a team, and each night we have different leaders in statistics. We really have to rebound as a team. Depth is a key, and we are starting to get in shape. The six seniors play the majority of the minutes, and we have had a great pre-season to see a lot of different types of teams."

The Outlaws finished pre-season 7-5, and have learned some valuable lessons. Runco told The Nugget that consistency will be the Outlaws biggest issue.

"We are working on playing consistently and how to defend and score on the big teams," he said.

By Rongi Yost

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.

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