Indians' finish tough to swallow, but season fun
Like most season-enders, the 65-45 playoff loss on Feb. 24 at Stayton that ended the season for the Scappoose High boys basketball team was tough to swallow.
But for second-year coach Weston Powers, the loss didn't spoil the fun he and a competitive group of seniors had this season.
"It was a fun season. It was anentertaining team to watch," Powers said.
A team driven by senior guards Chris Bendle, Joey Wagenknecht and Jerad Toman, the Indians finished 10-15 overall and 3-7 for fifth place in the Cowapa League.
Scappoose enjoyed a four-game win streak early in the nonleague schedule, but found the going more challenging with three of the top five Class 4A teams in the Cowapa.
"Through the ups and downs, we stayed together as a group," Powers said.
The final score of Saturday's Oregon School Activities Association Class 4A play-in game at Stayton was deceptive. The game was tied at 35-35 in the third quarter and the Indians were within seven points with 90 seconds left. The Eagles finished things by scoring against the Scappoose press and making their free throws.
Scappoose played from behind throughout the game. Stayton led by one point at the end of the first quarter, by five at halftime and by seven after three quarters.
Bendle did his part. The 6-0 guard capped his high school basketball career by scoring 33 points, grabbing 13 rebounds, making four steals and blocking one shot in the loss at Stayton.
Junior Connor McNabb had eight points and four rebounds. Wagenknecht scored five points and made two steals. Toman had two points, five assists, three rebounds and three steals.
Stayton was led by 6-8 junior Kaleb Anundi, who finished with 28 points and eight rebounds. Senior Jerry Daniels added 15 points and 14 rebounds for the Eagles.
Stayton (13-12) travels to La Grande on Saturday for a round-of-16 state playoff game.
Powers called Stayton a very good team with a pair of 6-7 players. He said the Eagles are similar to Cowapa rival Valley Catholic.
In addition to the three guards, forward/post Bradley Verbout, forward Nate Maller and guard JJ Turner were the other seniors on the Scappoose team. Verbout was one of the vocal leaders, according to Powers.
Scappoose moves up to 5A next season. Powers said he is confident in the younger players who either gained valuable varsity experience this season or improved while playing for the junior varsity and freshman teams.
A junior, McNabb was one of the team's best defensive players. Sophomores Tommy McKedy (6-4), Logan Travis (6-2) and Jake Boyle (6-0) each contributed off the bench and had some success in key moments.
Scappoose projects to again be shorter around the basket than many opponents next season. But that doesn't faze Powers.
"We're not always going to have the big tall trees down there. We will play our own style, play to our strengths and figure it out," the coach said.
"We're going to push the pace. We're going to try to put points on the board. We're going to play loose offensively and really get after it defensively and try to turn teams over," Powers said. "We had fun playing this year. That's one thing about this (senior) group that I'm really going to miss. We had a lot of fun on the court."
Three Cowapa teams are in Saturday's round of 16. Top seed Banks plays host to Madras at 3 p.m., second seed Seaside plays host to Gladstone at 7 p.m., and fifth seed Valley Catholic plays host to Cascade at 6 p.m.
Tillamook, the Cowapa's fourth-place team, lost its play-in round game at Madras, 95-86.