Progress shows in season-opening spurts
HOOD RIVER — The Scappoose boys basketball team caught on to some things as the game went on, but the problem was it had a lot of catching up to do.
A poor first quarter made it an uphill climb to an eventual 55-48 loss in the season opener Wednesday at Hood River Valley.
There were enough good parts in between, though, to leave the Indians encouraged as they headed to their bus ride home.
"Take away the first quarter and it was a great game on our part," senior Kyle Negelspach said.
Negelspach 15 points, all in second half, hitting three 3-pointers in the third quarter.
Senior point guard Jake Boyle had nine points, junior post Mason Archer had eight, and second-year coach Matt Humphreys got a look at everyone, substituting five at a time.
Over the final three quarters, the Indians outscored the Eagles 45-38.
"We figured out what we needed to do with their press, got better at breaking it, started moving the ball," Boyle said.
Turnovers and missed shots got the Indians off on the wrong foot.
"They were more ready at the start than we were," Negelspach said of the Eagles.
Boyle's 3 from the top of the key at the 5:10 mark gave Scappoose its only points of the first quarter. After that, HRV scored 15 consecutive points for a 17-3 lead.
The Eagles struggled the most in the second quarter, though, getting 3-happy but unable to connect.
Scappoose found a rhythm and some things that worked. Archer scored off a rebound, senior Josh Lull fed sophomore Luke McNabb for a 3 and Boyle for an inside basket, and freshman Griffin Elliott sank a 15-footer as the Indians cut their deficit to 21-12 by halftime.
The third quarter began with 6-5 Indians senior Tommy McKedy posting up for a basket and senior Thomas Greiner making a steal and solo dash for a layup that got the Indians to within 21-16.
Hood River Valley halted the Indians' momentum with a short blitz. The Eagles made an open 3 off a loose ball, drove for a score and then turned up their full-court pressure, which got them four quick points off turnovers, and in just one minute the score was 30-16.
Scappoose put together another run that made things interesting, though. Negelspach scored the final seven points of the third quarter, knocking down back-to-back 3s to end the frame and slice the Eagles' lead to 38-28.
Negelspach made another 3 just 15 seconds into the fourth quarter, and when Archer scored underneath, the Indians were down only 38-33 with 7:08 still to go.
Scappoose was within six points three times after that, but the Indians missed shots down the stretched and watched as HRV nailed down the win at the foul line.
Not that the home team shot great from there — the Eagles were only 14 of 24 on free throws. Scappoose, on the other hand, was just 3 for 4.
The Indians' next game will be their first of three in the Wilsonville Invitational, a three-day tournament. Scappoose will play North Eugene at 7 p.m. Friday. It will be North Eugene's first game of the season.
Scappoose then will hit the road for games at Seaside on Dec. 10 and Astoria on Dec. 13.
Then comes the Capitol City Classic, with four Scappoose games slated for Willamette University in Salem from Dec. 18-21.
Scappoose's first home game will be its 11th game of the season and won't take place till next year. The Indians will play host to The Dalles on Jan. 8.
Last season, Scappoose went 2-21, dropping its final 18 games. The Indians scored only 40.4 points per game. The high total was 54, in both a win versus Scio and a 49-point loss to powerhouse Wilsonville.
So, Wednesday's 55 points topped anything the Indians were able to muster in 2018-19, another reason to keep the faith.
"I think things are going to be better than last season," Boyle said. Even after HRV got its big jump in the first quarter, "I still felt hope. I knew what we could do, that we could come back from that.
"We've really improved. We have really good chemistry this year. We're all good friends, and we know how each other plays, we know how to help each other. Like, we know Kyle is a good shooter, so we try to feed him the ball for the 3's, and we know Tommy McKedy is big, so we try to get it to him."
Negelspach said the Indians mostly "just need to be more consistent against the press. We let the pressure get to us in the first half. I thought we played great in the second half, good team ball. We stuck with it till the end.
"I'm way more confident in our team this year. I feel like we're way more versatile and we have more guys who can get the job done. We've got more shooters and a lot of guys who can guard 1 through 5. We're 10 deep, we just have to piece it together.
"We've got a lot of room to improve. I feel like if we come out with better intensity and better on defense and hit some more shots, we'll do a lot better."
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