Boys basketball: Tough competition keeps Huskies on losing end

Sweet Home boys basketball (2-11, No. 31 state ranking) lost to two much higher-ranked opponents in two road games last week, falling to Corbett (8-1, No. 13) 61-34 on Jan. 4 and Woodburn (10-2, No. 12) 48-22 on Jan. 7.

“We’re getting a lot of good experience playing really good competition,” said Head Coach Drew Emmert.

Against Corbett, the Huskies hung close in the first quarter, at the end of which they were down only six points. But the Cardinals won the second quarter by a margin of 16-5 to take a 32-15 lead into halftime. Sweet Home would lose the next two quarters as well.

Senior Russell Holly led the team in scoring with 13 points, including three three-pointers, on 5-for-15 shooting from the field. Junior Von James added eight for the Huskies on 3-for-5 shooting, while pulling down a team leading 11 rebounds. Sophomore Nathan Aker added six points for the Huskies on 2-for-7 shooting.

“Corbett is a really good team,” Emmert said. “We competed well in the first quarter, but ultimately struggled to score, and they shot well. We didn’t defend very well. We have to put together 32 minutes of quality playing to beat good teams. When they made runs on us, we struggled to come back. We ran out of gas.”

Against Woodburn, turnovers hurt the Huskies’ chances. Sweet Home gave the ball away 28 times, while forcing only seven turnovers.

“We just have to be more crisp and more focused,” Emmert said. “We threw some careless passes.” Giving credit to Woodburn, he said “They are extremely quick. A lot of our guys have never seen a team as fast as they are.”

Emmert noted that while his team played “really good defense,” the Huskies also struggled to grab rebounds against the Bulldogs.

“We forced them to shoot a lot of threes, and long threes lead to long rebounds,” the coach said. “We found ourselves watching the ball hit the rim instead of boxing out. That’s something we can work on, something we can fix.”

Holly again led the team in scoring, with seven points on 3-for-8 shooting. The senior also led the team with nine rebounds. Senior Eddie Martinez and junior Dylan Luttmer each chipped in for four points. The team was without starter Aker against Woodburn, who had an illness. Emmert expects that he will be back in action for the Huskies this week.

Sweet Home is scheduled to host Philomath (7-3, No. 7) on Tuesday, Jan. 11 at 7 p.m. They then take to the road to play Sisters (6-4, No. 22) on Friday, Jan. 14 at 7 p.m.