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McNabb returns, and Indians boys basketball team goes for one more nonleague win

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP PHOTO: STEVE BRANDON - Scappoose High's Ian Johnson tries to get off a shot from under the backboard and against the Cascade defense.The pieces haven't all come together very often yet for Scappoose High's boys basketball team.

One thing or another has kept the Indians mostly grounded during the nonleague boys basketball season, as the squad looks for better overall play and adjusts to a new coaching staff.

For various reasons, the lineup has been subject to change — the biggest factor being an ankle injury that kept senior point guard Connor McNabb on the sidelines for three games.

McNabb returned to the court last Friday at Cascade, but the Indians were minus junior big man Tommy McKedy because of an ankle injury. And they ran into a buzzsaw in the host Cascade Cougars, who scored repeatedly in transition and from the outside in beating the Indians 72-46.

Cascade hit 10 3-pointers and gradually pulled away over the final three quarters. Cougar guards Kellen Sande, a 5-9 freshman, and Drake Davis, a 5-11 sophomore, scored 22 and 13 points, respectively, with sharpshooting that Scappoose wasn't able to match.

"They've got a bunch of shooters," Scappoose assistant coach Arbie Steele said. "We've just got to make sure we get back on defense. If we'd been able do that, I think we would have stopped some of those 3's."

The Indians started well, trying to work the ball inside to senior post Terrence Lewis and others and use their size to score and counter smaller Cascade's explosiveness.

"We were going to play our game," Steele said.

The 6-3 Lewis scored eight points in the first quarter, which ended even at 16-16.

"We were pretty equal. We played hard that first quarter. Then we just started to slide," Steele said.

Lewis was held to two points in the second quarter, and Scappoose had troubles in other areas of the game as well.

The Indians led 20-16 early in the second quarter and the game was tied at 21-21 midway through the period.

But Cascade then went on a spree, outscoring the Tribe 15-0 — on five 3-point plays of one kind or another — over a span of 2:08.

First, Sande nailed back-to-back 3-pointers. Then 5-8 sophomore guard David Kanoff made a three-point play the old-fashioned way. Senior guard Brandon Starnes was next, canning a 3. Finally, junior guard Ryan Diehl hit from 3-point range, giving the Cougars a 36-21 advantage with 2:07 left in the half. Diehl was fouled on the shot and had a chance at a four-point play, but he missed the free throw.

Scappoose, however, never was able to recover. The Indians trailed 38-27 at the break and fell behind 54-37 going into the fourth quarter.

Turnovers hurt Scappoose throughout the Cascade game. The Indians had seven of them in the first quarter, eight in the second frame, six more in the third and four in the fourth.

A lot of the turnovers came against Cascade's full-court pressure.

"Those turnovers continue to hurt us. We still continue to try to split double-teams when we should be reversing the ball," Steele said.

But other turnovers came in the front court and/or simply in passes that were just off target or in balls that got away from the Indians' ball handers as they were trying to make a move to the basket.

"I think our kids know the game well, but at times they get a little too fast," Steele said. "They need to settle down a bit. I keep telling them, 'Fast is smooth, smooth is fast.' Once they realize what that means, I think we're going to be OK."

Cascade improved to 8-2, while Scappoose dropped to 2-6.

McNabb went most of the way in his first game back from the ankle sprain. He finished with eight points and nine rebounds.

"We're very happy to have Connor back," Steele said. "He brings another toughness piece to our team, and we were missing that. And he's got that strong speed at the point guard position.

"But we have to make sure our other guards realize that Connor's not the whole team and that they can bring the ball up as well."

Next for Scappoose is an 8 p.m. Friday game at Molalla. That will be the final nonleague game for the Indians.

The Northwest Oregon Conference season is set to begin on Jan. 8 with Scappoose at home against Hillsboro — and it promises to be a challenging slate of league games.

NWOC favorite Wilsonville is No. 2 in the Oregon School Activities Association 5A computer rankings and the coaches poll (behind Churchill). The Wildcats are 8-2.

Parkrose is 8-1 and ranked seventh by the OSAA.

La Salle Prep is 6-4 and ninth in both the OSAA and coaches rankings.

Putnam (4-3), Milwaukie (3-6), Hillsboro (3-7) and others won't be easy outs, either.

"We've got to continue to work and work and work and repeat our brand of basketball," Steele said.

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