Basketball team wins seven, 15-4 at summer season half

The summer Husky basketball team added seven wins and two losses to its schedule, finishing the week on fire wrapping a weekend tournament up with three wins on Sunday.

The Huskies’ week started Tuesday losing a nail biter to Philomath 57-56. In the last two minutes of the game, both teams shot four field goals.

“It was a shootout down the stretch,” Coach Mark Risen said. “It was one of those games when whoever had the ball last wins.”

Philomath ran a play to Logan Garvin, 3A player of the year last year, and he hit a runner with seven seconds left to go up by one.

“We were down by 10 at half-time,” Coach Risen said. “I challenged the guys to cut it to four by the end of the third quarter. They overachieved.”

The Huskies were leading by one at the end of the third.

The Huskies turned around with a 42-34 win over Lebanon the same night after leading by about 15 most of the way. Lebanon hit a couple of threes late in the game to cut the lead.

Thursday at the Hoop in Salem, the Huskies defeated Dallas 44-41 and let McKay get close in a 71-67 win.

“We didn’t play with much emotion that night, which is a concern of mine,” Coach Risen said. Like previous Husky teams, “they’ll find ways to win.”

If they need to score 70 to do it, they will. If they need to hold an opponent to 40, they will, Coach Risen said. They’re versatile and switch styles well.

“That’s a real blessing,” Coach Risen said. “That’s been pretty exciting to see that develop.”

Coach Risen’s concern has been over seeing consistent effort mentally, emotionally and physically. Of 19 games so far, the Huskies showed their maximum effort 12 times, Coach Risen said. In seven, they weren’t there with the intensity and full-out effort. They managed to win a few of those games.

As the Huskies headed into the weekend, this was the area where Coach Risen wanted to work with his team.

Saturday, starting the Sweet Home Summit tournament, they defeated McKay 52-32 playing “great defense,” Coach Risen said. They did that without Ricky Howe and Nik Walker. Anthony Mink was out the whole weekend with a sprained knee.

The team fell flat again that afternoon when they lost 61-56 to Taft.

After that loss, Coach Risen challenged his team to put together three intense games on Sunday.

“They kids did phenomenally,” Coach Risen said. “They exceeded, overachieved everything I asked them.”

The Huskies opened Sunday defeating Oakland 54-30 on the strength of strong defense. Next came two of the toughest 2A schools around.

For the tournament, the team lost Kevin Furry to a sprained ankle against Oakland.

The Huskies stopped Dayton 62-46.

“They’re a 2A school,” Coach Risen said. “They’d be a top-10 3A school with the kind of talent they have. I thought it was going to be a real dogfight … so I can’t even put the pride I have into words.”

The Huskies put together a 61-58 win over East Linn Christian Academy in an emotionally charged contest later that afternoon.

East Linn is “on a tear” right now, Coach Risen said. East Linn led 36-24 at halftime.

“I simply just told the kids to turn up the D,” Coach Risen said. The score was 40-40 after the third quarter, then it was a “dogfight.”

The Huskies led by one with about three minutes left. East Linn missed a three attempt. The Huskies scored off the board and built a six-point lead. East Linn hit a couple more shots to cut the lead to three.

East Linn’s “a team that’s going to execute, play defense and know what they’re doing,” Coach Risen said. With Sweet Home students attending the school, the game was more emotionally charged than most, playing on a local rivalry.

“We came in with just as much emotion as we did the first game of the day,” Coach Risen said. “I was giddy when I went home last night.”

A number of players stepped up to deliver throughout the weekend tournament.

Against East Linn, Brady Simpkins shot two key baskets and four crucial rebounds. Sam Posthuma had four offensive rebounds for six put-back points.

Nik Walker had 12 steals, 11 assists and 14 points. Donny Cliver scored eight points and pulled down six rebounds in the final eight minutes of the game, during situations he’s never faced before.

Tim Matuszak hit a three and a two, shooting 4-4 from the line with just five minutes left. Aaron Hegge blocked eight shots. Hegge served as a decoy to open Posthuma and Brian Seward up under the bucket.

Off the bench, Ricky Howe played “phenomenally,” Coach Risen said. Throughout the tournament, Seward made some “clutch plays.” Carey Hintze and Kylan Walker added their own against Oakland and Dayton respectively.

Mike Severns “is 5’6” but plays 6’5”,” Coach Risen said. “The biggest muscle in his body is his heart. I truly admire Mike. I admire people who overcome adversity in their life” and succeed.

The sophomores are making a difference in clutch situations, Coach Risen said. “They are greatly contributing to our success. They play on willpower. They refuse to accept anything than over achievement out of themselves.”

Halfway through the summer schedule, “it’s amazing how much they’ve improved,” Coach Risen said. This is happening without practices, with only three of the athletes, Nik Walker, Hegge and Furry, working closely with Coach Risen previously. The team is in a “baptism of fire, learning on the fly. I’m demanding they learn on the fly, and they’re absolutely answering it.”

The team is “going to be amazing” when it starts drilling with regular practices during regular season, Coach Risen said.

“Aaron Hegge, Sam Posthuma and Nik walker are doing a great job being patient with the guys and encouraging them,” Coach Risen said. They understand this is their team and that they need to bring the rest of the team up for next year.

Seniors are supposed to be the epitome of the Husky basketball program as role models, as citizens and as ball players, Coach Risen said. “I’m really investing a lot of trust in them.”

The team is 15-4 in summer play.