The defending 3A state champions leave little doubt in mind, and leave town with a victory.

All good things must come to an end, and luckily for the Indians, they won't face a team quite like Valley Catholic for the rest of the season.

Preying on the Tribe's technical inexperience, the Valiants pressed all evening on defense and worked from the inside out, getting easy buckets in the paint and forcing 40 turnovers. It was, perhaps, that Valley Catholic also walked away with a 40 point victory, handing Scappoose a 61-21 defeat and dropping the Indians to 2-3.

From the opening tip, Valley Catholic showed why they are the Class 3A defending state champions, and why their move to the 4A ranks won't slow them a bit. Jumping into the passing lanes, intimidating far in to the back court on defense and some alert assists pushed Valley Catholic out to a 10-2 lead early in the first quarter, and they didn't look back.

“I have to find a way to get them to not panic when they're under pressure,” said head coach David Spirlin. “Obviously everybody's gonna do that to us once they see that we don't handle it very well.”

The loss comes just days after the Indians put together a pair of strong performances at the Gladstone “Happyrock” tournament over the weekend. Scappoose lost a close one to Gladstone, and turned things around to blow out Crook County 44-30 on the following night.

On Monday evening, though Scappoose dropped a 56-48 game at Cascade, they still kept it close. The game Valley Catholic wasn't so pretty. A big first quarter from the Valiants easily outweighed a better response in the second quarter from Scappoose, and though the Indians were able to slow the road team for nearly four minutes in the third quarter, they only managed a single point in the fourth.

“I was glad we got them on the schedule so we can have an idea of what we'll be up against next year, because we'll have to play them twice,” said Spirlin. “Maybe this is a good wake up call for us. There's things we need to work on, get better on in practice.”

Pressure – at least the type of all-out, frantic pressure Valley Catholic played with – isn't something the Indians have seen all season, and it takes advantage of one of Scappoose's biggest weaknesses. Spirlin has worked to get his system so ingrained into his team, they won't have to think about it once they're on the court, but the process is still in its infancy.

“When you're trying to instill new things in people who have some habits that you have to break, sometimes, when you get pressured, you revert back to something that's comfortable,” said Spirlin. “I need to instill in them what I want them to do when they get pressured.”

The team won't have any time to focus on the loss, as yet another stiff challenge awaited on Thursday evening in a visit to play undefeated La Salle. The Falcons, ranked second in Class 4A, blew out both Cascade and Valley Catholic, and are outscoring their opponents by an average of 31.5 points per game. They'll need every ounce of focus and determination to hang with the Falcons, and Spirlin hopes his move-on strategy will be put to good use.

“We have a 12 hour rule,” said Spirlin. “You can hang on to it for 12 hours when it's good, and you can hang on to it for 12 hours when it's bad. 12 hours from now, we've got to put this behind us and go play. We've got another game, we've got back-to-back, so we can't be hanging our head because La Salle's waiting on us.”

The Indians will have a week off after their tilt with La Salle, but things pick up again just after Christmas with a trip to Stayton for the team's second tournament of the year. The extra time off and next weekend's tournament will only be more time for the team to work on becoming automatic in Spirlin's system, but the first step is mental.

“We have to go play basketball, so feel bad tonight, let it go, and be ready to play tomorrow,” he said. “Tomorrow's another opportunity to do something positive. We've got to take advantage of that.”


Vally Catholic 61, Scappoose 21

VLC 21 10 14 14

SCP 10 4 6 1

Valley Catholic: McDevitt 16, Vinson 10, Flemmer 8, Bush 8, LaBonte 6, Mannen 4, Danielson 4, Beyer 3, McLoughlin 2

Scappoose: Kessi 6, Vardanega 4, Raya 4, Catlow 2, Wight 2, Tinning 2, Sykes 1

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