Madison amps up pressure to down Tigers
The Newberg boys basketball team is working out a new offense this season, one which requires patience and good shot selection.
The Tigers saw what can happen when they execute that game plan on Dec. 12, as they controlled the pace of the game and took a 24-20 halftime lead over visiting Madison.
Unfortunately, Newberg also saw what happens when they play too rushed and force tough shots, as the Senators dominated the second half en route to a 56-39 victory in McGrath Gymnasium.
"We couldn't get into anything offensively," NHS coach Mark Brown said. "Part of that was their pressure on the ball. Our spacing was off, so our timing was off on our cuts and coming off of our screens. What we've been working on, playing against pressure and not getting rid of the ball and not forcing tough shots, we did exactly that all second half. I don't even know the turnovers, but it was a lot. Way too many."
Brown was pleased with his team's shot selection in the first half, as well as its man-to-man defense, as the Tigers played well off the ball in filling gaps so that Madison (5-0) could not penetrate and get to the basket.
"We were keeping up good effort against them, keeping our composure, keeping turnovers down and keeping our defense in front so they couldn't get to the basket," senior guard Jacob Willcuts said.
The Senators limited Newberg to five points in the third quarter, but the Tigers defended well enough to stay in the game, entering the fourth down 32-29.
Madison opened the fourth on an 8-3 spurt to go up by five, but Willcuts answered with his second three-pointer of the quarter to make it 40-35 with 5:07 to play. The Senators answered right back with another run, this time an 8-2 spree, getting into the lane freely to go up by 11 points with 2:17 remaining.
That seemed to break the Tigers' backs and Madison closed out the game by sinking 6-of-10 free throws.
"The good news is a lot of it is fixable," Brown said. "It's all stuff that we can get better at, but it's discouraging to see a team come in and just push us around after a good first half where we were in control. A little bit more energy just totally took us out of it."
Willcuts led the Tigers with 13 points and fellow senior Ben O'Loughlin added 11. Junior Alex Jaczko had seven points, while Tre Ratcliff led Madsion with 13 points.
"We're a better basketball team than that," Brown said. "That's what I told the guys afterward. We're a way better team than what we showed tonight. That's encouraging from the standpoint of this isn't who we are, but also discouraging that a couple games into the season we take steps back like this."
The Tigers (2-3) hosted their own holiday tournament on Monday and Tuesday, beating Gresham 53-46 in the opening round, and will travel to play traditional rival McMinnville Thursday.