Indians' defense makes impact against Putnam
Was it more of the same on Tuesday when the Scappoose boys basketball team took on Putnam?
Yes, and no.
Some things -- such as shooting from the field and free-throw line -- were basically the same as they have been all season, and those kept the Indians from making it a close game to the end
But, no, it wasn't a carbon copy of every Scappoose game this season.
The Indians' defense and effort, and even their ballhandling, got more of a thumbs-up, even as the home team went down to defeat, 57-34.
"I was proud of the kids for their defense. They met a lot of the goals we set out for them. Turnover-wise and defense-wise, we did fine," Scappoose coach Matt Humphreys said. "We just didn't make enough shots."
The Indians fired at a 33.3-percent clip from the field (8 of 23 for 34.8 percent on 2-pointers, and 5 of 16 for 31.3 percent on 3's). They were 0 of 8 from the free-throw line in the second half, when Putnam was able to pull away.
Scappoose hung around in the first two quarters. The Indians were within 30-21 at the half. But the shooting woes have plagued them all season ultimately were too much to overcome.
"The effort was there, and the focus was good enough," Humphreys said.
The Indians knew coming into the season — Humphreys' first with the program — that they might struggle to score points in bunches.
"That was our agreement — that we can control defense and rebounding," Humphreys said.
One positive, he added, is that "we're getting better at turnovers."
The Indians had 22 at Putnam, but the Kingsmen sometimes gave the ball right back as they tried to go on the attack quickly.
"Turnovers were less (of a problem) than they have been," Humphreys said. "We've just got to be able to put the ball in the hole a little more."
Putnam coach Gregg Griffin noted that it wasn't easy to get comfortably ahead of the Indians.
"We came out a little flat," Griffin said, "but I have to give all the credit in the world to Scappoose. They came out excited and fired up, playing at home. They played a great ballgame, played with a lot of energy, a lot of heart. They presented us with a very tough opponent."
The Indians kept the Kingsmen, who are blessed with good outside shooters, with some early problems figuring out how to attack a mix of zone defenses.
"We really had to slow ourselves down," Griffin said. "We were taking really quick shots. We were just a little on the panic side.
"We eventually slowed down, ran some good offense. We still made some mistakes out of impatience, but they're young kids.
"We're very happy to get out with a win. This is our first time here — it's a tough place to play, a great environment, a great facility. It was a fun game."
Scappoose fell to 2-14 overall and 0-7 in league play with its 11th straight loss. The Indians, who also had lost the previous Friday at Parkrose 66-40, were led on Tuesday by the nine points of sophomore Kyle Negelspach.
"He's given us a lift and been making two or three 3-pointers a game, which we really need," Humphreys said.
Senior point guard Connor McNabb had seven points versus Putnam, despite some tough luck with officiating calls and no-calls.
"We're doing our best," McNabb said. "We're trying to piece things together. Got to limit our turnovers. It was a closer game in the first half; we made a bunch of turnovers late that made it a bigger margin."
The Putnam game completed Scappoose's first run through the Northwest Oregon Conference in boys basketball — and the move up from the Class 4A Cowapa League to 5A has been a challenge. The NWOC has plenty of talent and quality programs, especially at the top, with Wilsonville (7-0, 16-2 overall) leading the way, Parkrose (6-1, 15-2) a worthy competitor and Putnam (5-2, 9-5) and La Salle Prep (4-3, 11-7) battling at this point for third. All four are in the top 10 in the Oregon School Athletics Association 5A rankings. Wilsonville is No. 2 behind Churchill in both the OSAA rankings and coaches poll.
"Wilsonville is an awesome team. Parkrose is a really good team. Putnam is a good team with some good shooting," Humphreys said.
"Wilsonville's the real deal," McNabb said. "Parkrose is good. La Salle has a good team."
The next seven-game stretch will conclude the season for the Indians — and it starts with a trip to Hillsboro for a 7:15 p.m. Friday game.
Scappoose then will play host to St. Helens at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday.
"We'll just keep trying to improve on offense," Humphreys said. "We have one rotation on defense we need to work on in practice, but we'll try to fix that and be better the second round of league -- tighten up on defense so we can hold teams down a little bit more, and then hopefully pop in a few more shots."
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