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Skyhawks Await Injury News After Using Strong Late-Game Run to Ensure 78-70 Victory over Sprague in Home Opener

Kyle Pinnell

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The Southridge Skyhawks took on the Sprague Olympians for their home opener Tuesday night. Senior Brock Henry led the Hawks (3-0) with 17 points as they went 3 of 20 from behind the arc and narrowly defeated the Olympians (1-1) 78-70 at Southridge High School.

Mason Lomax led the Olympians with 19 points, eight coming from the line, where they nearly doubled the Hawks in free throw attempts (28-15). However, while the Olympians had an edge in three-pointers and free throws, the Hawks outscored Sprague 54-14 in the paint while out rebounding them 35-28.

“We played hard in spurts,” senior Pono Van Dusen said about the team’s effort. “We got to be better on defense for sure. Right now we’re working to be more connected and being able to play four quarters. Right now we’re only getting spurts.”

The Hawks started the game out well, trapping the Olympians in corners and forcing them to make quick decisions which often resulted in turnovers. They forced 18 turnovers which resulted in 16 points. However, the game eventually slowed down as the Skyhawks began to commit silly fouls.

“That’s how we wanted to play and it had a great effect,” Southridge Head Coach Phil Vesel said. “The problem is we’re fouling. Our discipline wasn’t very good. We were trying to grab steals versus getting our hands up and back and playing for reflections and rotations which then led to them shooting so many free throws. That kept them in the game and kept it relatively close.”

“We just wanted to push up-tempo, but then they started slowing the game down,” senior Sam Finer added. “After that, we wanted to switch screens and force the dribble attack. They had a couple of turnovers and we wanted to take advantage of that.”

Even when the Skyhawks began to sit back a little, they were still able to run on the break and get easy baskets. Van Dusen, later named the hustle player of the game, finished the contest with 13 points, eight rebounds, and four steals and often seemed to be the one to secure the rebound at one end of the court while using his speed to beat the defense to the other end for the easy layup.

“I try to push the tempo, get a paint touch, and try to get it to the wing guys, but if the paint is open I’m getting layups,” Van Dusen said.

The Skyhawks ended the first quarter up 22-12 thanks to a late 13-6 run. However, in the second quarter things took a turn for the worst. Trying to gain space on the right wing, senior Zach Galvin faked inside before stepping back for a routine jumper. During the move, his right leg buckled as he fell to the floor. As the athletic trainer came onto the floor, he told her that he “heard a pop.”

After the game athletic trainer, Rebecca Blake, said that she didn’t believe that anything was torn and that they would not know the extent of the injury until the knee gets checked out by a physician. Galvin left the building on crutches after the game.

“We have to re-evaluate where we are at,” Vesel said. “Zach is out for an extended amount of time. Hopefully, he’ll get a chance to come back and play this year, but anytime you lose a two-way player like him that can score and defend, he’s a one-man press on his own.”

The Olympians mounted their largest run at the beginning of the second half. They outscored the Skyhawks 13-12 in the third quarter, but the Hawks only made 26.3% of their 19 shots. The Olympians finished the quarter shooting 45.4% from the field.

“I thought we broke down defensively, particularly in that second half quite a bit, and we weren’t as connected as we needed to be,” Vesel said.

With just under six minutes remaining in the game the Olympians found themselves down by only seven points; however, they would not cut the deficit again. As Sprague began to press higher up the court the Hawks were able to pass through the defense resulting in multiple wide-open layups.

A thunderous dunk from Henry capped off a late 22-4 run, which put the Hawks up double-digits and ensured the win.

“They got hot towards the end and hit a couple of threes,” Finer said. “We didn’t handle the ball well, but then we kinda slowed things down, came together, and grinded it out.”

“Obviously we need to make our free throws,” Vesel added. “We were 50% down the stretch, but an early season win with the adversity we faced, I feel good about it.”

The Skyhawks next two games will come on the road as they travel to take on Liberty and Clackamas before returning home to take on David Douglas in their final home game before the Les Schwab Invitational.

“Today was one of those games where you make adjustments and find a way to get it done at the end,” Vesel said.

 

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Skyhawks Await Injury News After Using Strong Late-Game Run to Ensure 78-70 Victory over Sprague in Home Opener