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Boys' Basketball: Scappoose falls to Ridgefield in season opener

In spite of a halftime lead and a big game from Chase Johnson, Scappoose fades down the stretch


by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Scappoose junior Chase Johnson spots up for a jumper during the second half of Wednesday night's 64-53 road loss to Ridgefield. Johnson was the game's leading scorer with 19 points.It wasn't exactly the start head coach Rahim Tufts was looking for, as the Indians began the journey in search of their third consecutive league title. Though Scappoose (0-1) rallied to lead at the halftime break, they weren't able to stem the tide late, fading down the stretch and falling 64-53 on the road to Ridgefield (2-0) in the Tribe's season opener on Wednesday evening.

The loss was in spite of a monster game from junior forward Chase Johnson, who was a difficult matchup for the Spudders in the post and finished with a game high 19 points. Much of his damage was done in the fourth quarter, where Johnson put up 10 of the Indians' 14 points as they looked to climb back from a two-point deficit after three quarters.

“He's a grinder, and he's relentless on both ends of the floor” said Tufts of Johnson. “He's just improved tremendously... he's huge for us, and he's gonna have to be huge for us all year.”

Johnson's heroics just weren't enough. Ridgefield got rolling in the final period, scoring 23 points and nailing a pair of three pointers, including the one to give the home team a lead for good. Scappoose won't have much time to focus on the loss, as they will pick things up again on Friday when they travel to play St. Helens.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Falling backward, junior guard Jake Ford attempts a shot over Ridgefield's David Potter. Ford finished with four points for Scappoose in the 64-53 road loss to open the season for the Tribe.Thankfully Scappoose won't face a team quite as tall as the one they battled on Wednesday. The interior size of Ridgefield was a constant problem on both ends of the court, frustrating the Indians on offense by clogging the middle and swatting away layup attempts. On defense, a much shorter Scappoose team struggled to clean up the boards even after playing solid in the half court. The Spuds were able to take advantage of the height mismatches and score near the basket, an issue Tufts says the Indians need to fix.

“We need to do a better job of defending the ball because they were able to get into the paint pretty easily,” said Tufts. “When they miss shots, because we had to help, their bigs were getting offensive boards. The first part is that we've got to do a better job guarding the ball. The second part is that we've got to get lower and use our bodies against guys that are bigger than us.”

Tufts plans to work on denying a team the ability to get the ball into the paint to begin with, which will help when Scappoose faces teams with better height. Thought it was the Spud bigs that created havoc for the Indians, the majority of Ridgefield's scoring and scoring opportunities came at the hand of senior guard David Potter, who finished with 16 points, 12 of which came in the final two quarters. Scappoose forced Potter to work for the points, allowing him to hit a pair of field goals after halftime.

“I thought we made some adjustments on him in the second half. The end of the third, end of the fourth quarter I thought we did a better job on him,” said Tufts.

Regardless of the final score and some defensive lapses, it was a solid opener for Scappoose, who dropped their first five contests last season before finally turning things around in late December. Along with the big game from Johnson, the Indians got 10 points from senior guard Mitch Davis, and seven points from junior wing Robby Backus. The game should serve as a good tune-up, and along with Thursday's practice, Tufts hopes the team can make progress in the coming days.

“When we ran some sets, I thought we executed really well. We got the ball to the midrange area,” said Tufts. “When the shot clock wound down at the end was when we played really well because we had to be aggressive, we couldn't just pass it around the perimeter. We've got to take that mentality and perform like that all the time. Be aggressive.”

Tufts had the Indians focus on some defensive rotation during their short practice on Thursday, as well as attacking the zone defense and not letting pressure bother the team on offense.

“We'll get back to it. We'll get better,” said Tufts.

SUMMARY:

Scappoose 7-22-10-14 – 53

Ridgefield 13-13-15-23

Scoring:

Scappoose: Johnson (19), Davis (10), Backus (7), Scruggs (4), Ford (4), Loss (4), McNabb (3), Marcantonio (2)

Ridgeview: Potter (16), Williams (14), Mason (12), Morales (6), Biggerstaff (5), Gottch (5), Couch (43), Wolniewicz (2)