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The Cougars nearly doubled Sandy's score, 50-26, after four quarters of play

After stumbling in the season opener against the Portland Interscholastic League's (PIL) Lincoln, Canby rebounded in a big way against former 5A team Sandy. The Cougars got the job done 50-26 after the final buzzer sounded.HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Canby juniors Nicole Mickelson (featured) and Naarai Gomez were instrumental in leading Canby to its first win against Sandy. Mickelson had 19 points in the contest, and Gomez had 9 points. Sophomore Ally Odell had 13 points as well.

While the first quarter was low scoring for both teams, Canby exploded in the following stanzas. Canby finished the first half up 23-9, then tacked on eight more points over the ensuing eight minutes. At the end of the third quarter, Canby led 31-18. In the final quarter, once again Canby put up big numbers, putting up 19 points to Sandy's 8 points. Canby won the game 50-26.

In the game the team utilized a full court press, something head coach Chuck Knight felt the team could do effectively to the visiting Pioneers.

"You have to build depth to be able to do a full court press, and I don't know if we have the depth to always do that," Knight said. "A lot of it will be matchup determinant, who you play, and whatnot. I think we felt this team we could bother with some pressure, and let's just keep it up and get used to it if that's the style we go to and can sustain it for 32 minutes. As far as all the time, we'll see how our depth comes along."

Three games in the Cougars defense is proving effective, though inexperienced. In the loss to Lincoln, Canby held the Cardinals to just 40 points, and against Sandy just 26. In the next game, a 39-33 loss to the Metro League's Moutainside (4-0), the Cougars defense again showed up. It's something that Knight and his coaches are focusing in on.

"Defensively, I wanted them to communicate and be on the same page with everything we're doing," Knight said. "We really did emphasize that in practice a lot of how we want to defend ball screens, dribble weaves, all of the different things you're going to face, and making sure that everyone is doing it the same way. That was our biggest emphasis."

Though the team sits at 1-2, Knight is optimistic about the future for the team. Once the initial nerves of the season are out of the way, he believes the work ethic of his team will carry them forward.

"We're just really inexperienced," Knight said. "There's a lot of nerves and jitters, and we're certainly playing hard. That's all you can ask. Right now they have a million things going through their heads in terms of responsibilities and so, you're going to miss a lot of them. Once they settle down and have dealt with the nerves, we'll start knocking out some of those mistakes.

"We'll get better. We're just really young and inexperienced, but the kids are working super hard, and I couldn't ask anything more of them," Knight added.

Canby (1-2) moves on to face Sprague (0-4) in a home game on Tuesday, Dec. 11 after the Herald has gone to press.

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