Scappoose boys basketball battles back, falls to Hillsboro
It was a sobering statement from the mouth of Connor McNabb, but one that probably perfectly encapsulated Scappoose's Northwest Conference opener against Hillsboro.
In the friendly confines of its home gym, facing the Spartans' 2-3 zone, lifting shots at the shooter-friendly rims, the Indians went stone cold in the fourth quarter. Scappoose's first two points of the final frame didn't go down in the scorebook until there was one minute and 43 seconds to go. By the time Jake Boyle made two free throws, Scappoose trailed 43-34 and ultimately dropped the contest 45-35 at Scappoose High on Jan. 8.
"The object of the game is to get the ball through the hoop and we didn't do that," McNabb said. "We moved the zone around, got open threes, but we didn't hit shots we needed to hit. Get those shots to fall and maybe we win that game. It's on us."
The bitter cold ending overshadowed what was a valiant Indian comeback that began in the second quarter and spanned through the early moments of the third.
After falling behind by as much as 12, Scappoose scrapped back into the fight thanks in large part to seniors Zack Hafeman and Terrence Lewis who together scored all 13 of the Indians' second-quarter points. Trailing 20-9 early in the second quarter, Lewis pump faked along the left wing danced into the lane with a tricky Euro step, absorbed contact from a Hillsboro post and finished for the and-line three-point play. The big man sought out contact in the paint throughout, drawing fouls and making free throws at the charity stripe.
"He's a baller, every time he gets the ball he can score," McNabb said of Lewis. "He's a beast. In football, he's our best lineman, hands down. He's a great athlete, especially for his size and has great body control."
Against Hillsboro's 1-3-1 zone, Hafeman buried two long left corner jumpers, one from behind the three-point arc. The effort on both ends of the floor ticked up as the Indians upped their defensive energy. Four free throws from Lewis pulled Scappoose within 24-20 at the half. Lewis swished two free throws to start the second half. Then, senior guard Jordan Buchanan skied for his own miss and ruggedly went back for the offensive board and put home a tough floater that gave Scappoose its first lead of the game at 26-25 two minutes into the third quarter.
"We have a lot of tough guys," McNabb said. "We worked at it and knew we had a shot. We have a lot of athletes on the team, so defense is definitely key for us."
Yet, Hillsboro went on an 8-0 run to recapture a 33-26 third-quarter lead. Boyle snapped home a right-wing three to bring Scappoose within 33-29, but those were the last points the Indians scored until more than six minutes had past in the fourth.
McNabb is a kid who's grown up around the Scappoose-St. Helens rivalry in football and basketball his whole life as the son of Scappoose head coach Sean McNabb. He's seen the "Seven Mile War" as it's known up close and played a hand in the clash. It's a storied feud rooted in proximity and bragging rights, two towns coming together for what's always a spirited conflict no matter what the records are.
"We don't like losing to St. Helens and we haven't lost much to them in the past," McNabb said. "It's always a big game, it's always packed. They've had some good teams and they always have a lot of battlers out there."
In the grand scheme of things, Friday's matchup between the two foes is crucial in the league standings. At 2-8 and No. 29 in the 5A power rankings, Scappoose needs a win just as badly as 2-8 St. Helens, who lost by 50 to Wilsonville to start NOC. Emotions will be high, especially in the days leading up to Friday night, though McNabb said the tension between the two teams stays on the court and doesn't spill into other areas of life. Tip time is slated for 7:15 p.m. at St. Helens High School.
"It's two blue-collar towns going back and forth," McNabb said. "Obviously they talk a little trash and there's definitely going to be a little chippiness going on. But, we have respect for each other. There's a hard foul here and there, but we don't have any hard feelings. We're all friends."