Short-handed Sandy upsets Putnam
Northwest Oregon Conference
5A Boys Basketball
SANDY — To the people that had been following Sandy hoops all year long, it was easy to see that the team looked noticeably different when they got ready to take on Putnam on Friday night.
Earlier in the day, five Sandy players, including three starters, had been suspended for undisclosed reasons, meaning that a lot of young guys would have to step up for this Pioneers team.
And Pierce Roeder was the one that made the most of his opportunity.
The sophomore guard scored 25 points for the Pioneers, leading Sandy to a 68-61 victory over the Kingsmen.
"I was so proud of the heart these guys showed tonight," Sandy head coach Jason Maki said. "It would have been easy to sit here and feel bad for ourselves, but they fought. There were times where Putnam really put the pressure on with cutting into our lead, but we were always able to build it back up…Pierce Roeder was amazing for us tonight. Across the board, we got contributions from a lot of guys."
Colby Carson and Wyatt Fisher were also in double figures for Sandy with 10 points apiece. Ruben Onishchenko led Putnam with a game-high 30 points — 25 of which came in the second half.
The Sandy players didn't find out about the suspensions until approximately an hour before the game, so they had little time to get themselves mentally prepared for the task they had to face.
"I found out in the locker room a little bit before the game," Carson said. "I have been in this situation before, so I knew I had to step it up for the team."
Sandy couldn't have started the game off much better, going on a 13-0 run right out of the gate. From there, it always felt like the Kingsmen were playing catchup.
"We are a very inexperienced team and that inexperience showed tonight," Putnam head coach Gregg Griffin said. "When we found out that Sandy was short-handed, I think we relaxed and we came out very flat…Give credit to Sandy. They had some kids step up."
Look for extended coverage in the Jan. 31 print edition.