Indians hoping the caliber of competition they've faced will help them in play-in game

FOR THE SPOTLIGHT: ROBERT HILSON - Chris Bendle of the Scappoose Indians goes to the hoop against Astoria.Playing three of the top-ranked Class 4A boys basketball teams in the state during the Cowapa League season challenged the Scappoose Indians.

But those challenges could pay off now that the state playoffs have arrived.

Scappoose will travel to Stayton on Saturday for a play-in game. Win and the Indians will advance to a round-of-16 state playoff game on the road on Saturday, March 3.

Scappoose (10-14) enters the playoffs after dropping a league playoff game at Tillamook on Monday. The Cheesemakers outscored the Indians 91-79 in a fast-paced game that left the Indians awaiting their playoff destination as the fifth-place team from the Cowapa.

"The guys are still real optimistic. We've been battle-tested," Scappoose coach Weston Powers says, noting that 16 of his team's games have been against teams ranked in the top 10 in the state. "We're ready for whoever we get right now. The guys are excited to go."

In Monday's league playoff game, the Indians couldn't quite keep pace with the hot-shooting Cheesemakers in the second half — despite a career-high 42 points from Scappoose senior guard Chris Bendle.

"I thought we played real well," Powers said.

Bendle made 15 of 23 shots from the floor, including 6 of 11 3-pointers. He also hit all six of his foul shots, had nine rebounds, two steals and two assists.

Jerad Toman had 11 points, seven assists and three steals. Joey Wagenknecht made three 3-pointers and scored 15 points. Nate Maller had seven points and three rebounds, and Bradley Verbout had four points and three rebounds.

Guard Ian Collett, who scored 44 points, paced Tillamook. Anthany Taylor had 16 points and seven rebounds, and Nathan Abbott scored 11 points.

Powers says both teams looked to push the tempo, which created good looks in transition at both ends of the floor. Tillamook is good in transition and a good shooting team, he says.

"They space the floor well. they have a lot of lineups where all five guys are 3-point shooters," Powers says.

Both teams enjoyed good shooting performances.

Scappoose was 30 for 54 from the floor, including 10 for 23 from 3-point range.

Tillamook was 31 of 49 from the floor and made 9 of 21 3-pointers.

The Mooks outscored the Indians 20-9 from the foul line.

Scappoose led 24-15 after one quarter and 50-44 at the half.

Tillamook took a 61-58 lead on a Collett basket in the final seconds of the third quarter and sealed its win by scoring 30 points in the fourth quarter.

The Indians were within four points with three minutes left but had to press and foul down the stretch, and the Cheesemakers took advantage.

A scoring lull early in the third quarter ultimately had the Indians in chase mode for most of the second half. Powers says Tillamook switched to a matchup zone defense in the third quarter and it took his team several possessions to figure out how best to attack.

Scappoose 49, Astoria 43

On Feb. 15 at Astoria, the Indians closed out league play by holding off a fourth-quarter push from the Fishermen.

Bendle had 27 points and 14 rebounds. Wagenknecht added 11 points and three rebounds.

Toman played a strong floor game and finished with five points, four rebounds, four assists and four steals. Verbout had four rebounds, two assists and two steals.

Astoria's 3-2 zone presented some challenges for the Scappoose offense, but the Indians' defense kept them in front. Their halftime lead was 20-14, and after three quarters the margin was 31-22.

For Astoria, which finished 3-21 (0-10 Cowapa), Josh Olson had 15 points and seven rebounds, Karsten Johnson 13 points and Ian Hunt 13 rebounds.

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