Page propels No. 1 Huskies to 53-47 win over Valley Catholic
Just call it the Johnny Page Game.
With his team down 34-27 entering the second half, the North Marion senior post took over the third quarter, scoring 14 of his game-high 20 points to turn a seven-point deficit into a seven-point lead, helping the Huskies come away with a 53-47 victory over the visiting Valiants on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
"Different guys know that they're going to have their moment over the course of the season," North Marion head coach Tully Wagner said. "Johnny is super capable; we all have faith in him. He's a tough kid, and he made a lot of good plays tonight."
Page had just four points in the first half but had scored the first two baskets of the third quarter when Sergio Jimenez — the team's leading scorer — was called for an over-the-back and charging violation on consecutive possessions, heading to the bench with four fouls.Needing someone to step forward and take on the offensive load, Page took advantage of an under-sized Valley Catholic team, pounding the post for put-backs and lay-ins, accounting for all but two of the Huskies points in the quarter.
"We all have faith in everybody we put on the floor, and when Sergio went out with his fourth foul, that just means somebody else comes off the bench, and we just do it together as a team," Wagner said. "Serg has all their backs all the time, and they have his back when he's on the bench with foul trouble."
On the other end of the court, North Marion was able to limit Valley Catholic's offensive opportunities, holding the Valiants to just two points in the quarter after giving up 16 and 18 in the first two periods of the game, respectively.
The Huskies surrendered just 13 points in the second half, which Wagner attributes to the team's effort coming out of halftime to deny the Valiants second-chance opportunities.
"In the first half, we got initial stops quite a few times, but they got a lot of offensive boards. I think they got 10 second-chance points in the first half," Wagner said. "We really talked about cleaning that up, and they went out and did it. I thought our energy level picked up tremendously in the second half defensively, and our rebounding obviously improved, so that helps."
Down 43-36 entering the final period, Valley Catholic rallied, scoring the first five points on a trio of possessions from junior Will French and senior William Schultheis. But that's as close as the Valiants would get.
Junior guard Tanner Saucedo connected on a jumper to spark a 9-2 run for the Huskies over the course of the next six minutes, giving North Marion a 51-43 lead with under one minute left to play.Senior guard Brady Hansen scored 13 points to follow Page, while Jimenez added 11 — all but two of which came in the first half.
Valley Catholic guard Trey Eberhart scored 17 points to lead the Valiants (3-10), a traditional 4A power who are trying to recover from dropping their first seven games of the season.
"That team is better than their record," Wagner said. "They are a quality basketball team and they're going to be in a lot of games over the course of the season. They just haven't been on the winning end of many of those so far, but they're going to be fine. They'll pick up some wins along the way."
North Marion (10-2) retained its hold as the No. 1 4A team in the OSAA rankings and prepared to travel to Seaside to face the No. 9 Seagulls on Friday at 7 p.m. The two teams last played each other in the 2019 quarterfinals, where Seaside ran away with a 75-50 victory en route to a state championship berth.
The Huskies return home on Tuesday, Jan. 21 to open the Tri-Valley Conference schedule against the Molalla Indians (2-10).
North Marion 53, Valley Catholic 47
North Marion — 17 10 16 10
Valley Catholic — 16 18 2 11
North Marion — J. Page 20, Hansen 13, Jimenez 11, D. Page 6, Saucedo 2, Meyers 1
Valley Catholic — Eberhart 17, French 9, Schultheis 8, Lo 5, Hussein 4, Cheung 2, Baglai 2
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