Molalla boys basketball team focused on hustle points, playoffs
Molalla won just two games last year, but that is not stopping new head coach Scott Campbell from setting a lofty goal in his first season.
"We've got goals this year," Campbell said. "We want to be great. Our main goal in terms of big picture and wins and losses is we want to make the playoffs. We feel like if we can get in the playoffs then anything can happen. That is our goal."
The Indians last made the playoffs in 2016.
To get back there, Campbell is preaching hustle plays like rebounds, steals, blocks and taking charges.
"We track the hustle board every quarter," Campbell said. "Our goal is to get 75 hustle board points a game. If we've got guys in the game and at halftime they don't have any points on the hustle board, that's a tough conversation. You've got to go out and box someone out and get a rebound and get on the floor for a loose ball. That's a huge thing for us."
Molalla is led by senior guards Derek Pederson, who Campbell described as a "lights out shooter with really good range," and Mason Simpson, "a great competitor, shooter and leader with good vision."
"Having a solid point guard who you really trust is key," Campbell said of Simpson.
The Indians have as many as six players who could start at the other three spots, including seniors Jake Noe and Ty Bauge and sophomores Brock Sandberg and Jacob Watson.
"All those guys, if they don't start next week, they'll be starting at some point and getting a lot of playing time," Campbell said.
Sophomore Isaac Thomas-Klementis led Molalla in hustle points this summer.
"He does everything well," Campbell said. "He's a great athlete."
Brendan "Howie" Long has also transferred to the Indians after spending the previous two seasons at Country Christian.
"We probably have 10 guys who regularly could get some good time," Campbell said. "We want to press and run and play fast. Ideally, if you're doing that you're wanting to play nine or 10 deep."
Molalla will also play as a team.
"There's no Lebron, Jordan or Kobe out there," Campbell said. "We've got some talented guys, but we don't have a Lebron who can just take over the games. We have to play well together if we're going to win."
Campbell, who spent last year at Class 2A City Christian, takes over a program that has won a combined 11 games over the past three seasons.
"We're trying to build a championship program here," he said. "Sometimes people laugh and smirk, but if we're not doing that, I'm not the guy for the job. We want them to feel that we care and that we're here to make a difference. Winning isn't everything, but if we're losing all the time, no one is having fun. Hopefully our record is good this year, but one thing we know is we'll compete in every single game."
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