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Indians outlast the Kingsmen to win their second Northwest Oregon Conference contest

PMG FILE PHOTO - Scappoose post Luke McNabb is starting to come into his own for the Indians this year.

Ever since Scappoose rode a two-game heater to back-to-back wins against The Dalles and Hillsboro in early January, the Indians have gone somewhat cold shooting the ball.

But that hasn't stopped the Indians from competing. Or finding ways to win. Despite scoring just 35 points against Putnam on Feb. 4, Scappoose secured a critical 35-30 road win over the Kingsmen to move its Northwest Oregon Conference record to 2-5 and 5-13 overall. Suddenly, Scappoose is thick in the middle of the conference race, sitting in sole possession of fifth place in league, just a game back of Putnam who the Indians now own the tiebreaker over. With the second half of NWOC play on the horizon, Scappoose can control its destiny when it comes to scrapping for one of the league's four automatic playoff bids.

"The boys never quit," Scappoose head coach Matt Humphreys said. "They play hard until the end of each game. They are learning. As a teacher, I have to appreciate the way they keep showing up and trying harder. That is success."

PMG FILE PHOTO - Scappoose shooting guard Dominic Lite and the Indians beat Putnam to move their league record to 2-5. Humphreys said the biggest thing the Indians are focusing on right now is taking care of the ball. They go through "tough spurts" in games where they turn the rock over too much. But Humphreys explained he really feels like Jake Boyle, Luke McNabb and Colin Stoddard have been playing well as of late. Some others are going to really start helping the squad. There are good signs at practice. Kyle Negelspach injured his hand a few games back but is getting back to himself so "that will really help out", according to Humphreys. PMG FILE PHOTO - Scappoose wing Thomas Greiner and the Indians travel to St. Helens next Wednesday. Against Hillsboro, after tying the game 3-3 on a Logan Jackson three-pointer, Scappoose scored 11 straight points to take a 14-3 first-quarter lead. The Indians pushed the lead to 12 on a Negelspach three to start the second quarter and led by as many as 14 when Negelspach hit another of his five three pointers shortly after. The lead changed hands three more times before Hillsboro ended the quarter with a 44-42 lead, and the Spartans built that lead to six after two quick Lane Smith and Kiaunis buckets to start the fourth. But it was there where things stalled for Hilhi, as the Indians ran-off 12 straight thanks to nine combined points from Jake Boyle and sophomore Luke McNabb. Nate Smith got the Spartans to within 54-50 with a point-blank finish with just under a minute on the clock, then a Lane Smith free throw got them to within three with 33 seconds remaining. After a Scappoose turnover, Hillsboro had possession with 11 seconds on the clock, but Lane Smith's 3-point attempt missed the mark and Negelspach iced the game with two free throws. Scappoose was led by Negelspach who had 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Logan Johnson, McNabb and Boyle all had 9.

"We just need to limit the turnovers and shoot with confidence," Humphreys said. "The boys always play hard on defense. We need to take care of the ball and shoot with more confidence. Our goals for the rest of the year are to have as many chances as possible in the fourth quarter to win."

Scappoose gets a home rematch with Hillsboro on Friday at 7 p.m. Then, on Tuesday, both the girls and guys' teams travel to St. Helens for a doubleheader. The girls tip-off at 5:45 p.m. and the guys are scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m. The boys' team lost to St. Helens 37-28 the first time around.

Wade Evanson of the Hillsboro Tribune contributed to this story.

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