Mt. Hood suffers devastating defeat
GRESHAM — Mt. Hood looked to be in command of this game for the first 20 minutes, taking a double-digit lead into the break.
The second half, however, was a completely different story.
Chemeketa (13-8, 4-5 NWAC South) outscored the Saints 59-32 in the second half as Mt. Hood (8-13, 4-6) ended up losing 96-80 on Wednesday night, making their playoff hopes look fairly slim at this point.
Connor Geiger led the Saints with 17 points on 3-of-5 (.600) shooting from behind the arc. Kyler Haynes added 16 points and Leonard Dixon was also in double-figures with 13.
While Mt. Hood struggled to defend in the second half, the most eye-popping statistic was the turnover disparity. The Saints turned the ball over 19 times on the night while Chemeketa gave the ball away just five times.
"We didn't guard a soul in the second half," Mt. Hood head coach John Hawley said. "We didn't play good team defense at all. But the biggest thing was that we couldn't take care of the ball. When (Chemeketa) pressed us, we didn't clear the ball and get it over the top and it was like nobody wanted the ball in their hands."
The Saints were filling it up from long range in the first half, hitting nine of their first 17 shots from distance. Dixon knocked down triples on consecutive possessions, which was then followed by a pair of 3-pointers from Ethan Channel, giving Mt. Hood the 37-26 lead.
Even when Chemeketa rallied to cut the lead to four, the Saints finished off the half on a 7-0 run and went into the locker room with a 48-37 advantage.
But when the two teams came back out on the court, the difference in intensity was very apparent.
"There was a definite lack of intensity. We came out flat and (Chemeketa) came out aggressive, which gave them the momentum," Haynes said. "We really couldn't get into our offense when they started pressuring us…We were scrambling trying to get into something and it just didn't end well."
Look for extended coverage in the Feb. 14 print edition.