North Marion comes alive from deep in 83-52 win over Madras
The North Marion boys basketball team came into the 2019-20 season concerned about the amount of shooting that graduated from the program last year.
After dropping nine 3-pointers in the second half of an 83-52 home win over the Madras White Buffaloes on Friday, Jan. 24, the Huskies showed they still have plenty of deep threats that can let it rain from beyond the arc.
"We definitely have guys that can hit shots," North Marion Head Coach Tully Wagner said. "When they're in rhythm, when they're open and when they're found at good times."
Led by senior guard Hunter Wierstra, who scored 13 points off the bench, North Marion (12-3, 2-0 Tri-Valley) used a barrage of long-range shots to build upon their 20-point halftime lead and leave Madras (6-9, 1-1) behind in the second league game in the Tri-Valley Conference. Wierstra led the team with three 3-pointers, one of five Huskies to knock down at least one triple on the night.
"I think we played great as a team," Wierstra said. "Part of our strategy is driving in, and once guys collapse, guys are wide open."
Leading 39-19 at halftime, junior wing Tanner Saucedo got the 3-point party started on the opening possession of the third quarter, draining a shot from the right side of the court for the team's first 3 of the night after failing to connect in the first half.
The two teams traded buckets for the next several possessions until senior guard Brady Hansen hit back-to-back 3-pointers. Fellow senior David Page continued the barrage with a 3 of his own, and Wierstra added a pair of deep balls in the final minutes to push North Marion's lead to 65-36 going into the final period.
"The way that they were defending us tonight, jumping at us with two guys and running extra defenders at the ball once we started making the extra pass," Wagner said, "we got a lot of good looks and we were able to knock it down, which is nice."
Wierstra provided North Marion a solid punch off the bench in the first half. His first two field goals came on transition plays at the end of the first and second quarters, hitting layups just before the buzzer in each period. He added one last 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to round out his scoring, one of five North Marion players to reach double digits on the night.
"I thought Hunter Wierstra had a great game shooting the ball," Wagner said. "And then a few other guys hit 3s, and it's obviously nice when we can add that to what we already have going on."
The long ball helped distance the Huskies from the Buffs in the second half, but North Marion got its lead in the first place by pounding the ball inside after a slow start. Senior Johnny Page scored the opening bucket of the night, but the team went cold after that, allowing Madras to go on a 7-0 run behind a three-point play from senior guard Dapri Miller, followed by a 3-pointer and a free throw from senior guard Donnie Bagley.
The Huskies finally got the ball rolling in the latter part of the quarter. With Madras looking to push the pace, the Huskies were eager to follow suit, going on 9-0 run to retake the lead on the combined efforts from the Page brothers, Hansen and senior forward Sergio Jimenez.
Bagley responded with another 3 to end the run and pull within 11-10, but Jimenez followed with a layup and Wierstra ended the quarter with a buzzer-beater to put his team up 15-10 heading into the second quarter
"We played our pace, even though they like to make teams play fast with their own pace," Wierstra said. "What we talked about down in the locker room is dictate the game. Especially on the boards. We dictated the game tonight."
"Madras wants to go up and down the court," Wagner added. "I think at the beginning we played hectic, and then we adjusted to the way that the game was being played. In the second half, we ran with purpose and composure, and that was a good look for us."
Hansen led the Huskies with 18 points, followed Johnny Page with 14, Wierstra's 13 and 11 from David Page. Jimenez added 10 to round out the players in double figures.
Miller led the Buffs with 13, followed by 10 from junior Jordan Mitchell, nine from Bagley and eight from junior Derrek Main.
The win allowed North Marion to retain its top spot in the 4A OSAA rankings and finish the first week of league play unbeaten after taking a 76-54 home win over Molalla on Tuesday, Jan. 21. While Wagner was pleased with the finish, he still sees plenty of room for improvement, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
"We didn't help the helper very much in the second half," he said. "We didn't guard the high pick and roll like we can sometimes, so they came off and got some rhythm jumpers, and we'd rather contest those.
"Obviously happy with a win, but definitely a ways to go from where we want to be," Wagner added.
North Marion's season continues on Tuesday, Jan. 28 when they travel to Estacada (4-11, 0-2). The Huskies return home on Friday, Jan. 31 to face Gladstone (11-4, 2-0).
Tri-Valley Conference boys basketball
Friday, Jan. 24 at North Marion High School
North Marion 15 24 26 18 — 83
Madras 10 9 17 16 — 52
North Marion — Hansen 18, J. Page 14, H. Wierstra 13, D. Page 11, Jimenez 10, Saucedo 7, Meyers 6, N. Wierstra 4
Madras — Miller 13, Mitchell 10, Bagley 9, Main 8, White 6, Smith-Morales 6
North Marion — 15/28
Madras — 7/15
North Marion — H. Wierstra 3, Hansen 2, Meyer 2, D. Page 1, Saucedo 1
Madras — Bagley 2, White 1
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