Boys pick up pace on court with upset of Philomath

The boys basketball team picked things up as it heads into league playoffs, extending its 3-7 non-league record to 5-7 last week.

“We came back from the break and had some time to work on things,” Coach Tim Little said. “I really think we were playing well going up to Christmas break.”

The Huskies faced three top-10 schools, winning one game and playing competitively in the others, just before the break.

Sweet Home 41, Philomath 37

Tuesday, Jan. 3, the Huskies rallied back from an eight-point halftime deficit to defeat future conference rival Philomath 41-37 at home.

Philomath built a 12-11 lead in the first quarter and jumped to a 24-16 lead at halftime.

The Huskies held off Philomath’s offense in the third quarter, and Gabe Kauffman hit back-to-back threes to put the Huskies back into the game. The Huskies trailed 29-28 at the end of the third quarter.

“Tuesday, against Philomath, the second half, it was the best all year that we’ve shown senior leadership, verbally and physically,” Little said. At halftime, he stressed the importance of senior leadership on the court.

With about 1:30 left in the game, the Huskies caught up to Philomath and tied the game. They went to the line several times, shooting 80 percent, to get the win.

“We’ve just been battling some leadership issues, you know, with two seniors out,” Little said. “Cody’s (Shipp) kind of had a cold spell. We came out the first half, and they just walked all over us.”

Shipp returned to the court earlier than expected. A misdiagnosis had Shipp on the sidelines for about the rest of the month. Ryan Elliott remained out but is expected to return after the first week of league play, which begins next week.

“Our younger kids really follow the direction and effort level of our seniors,” Little said. “Cody, Charlie (Fitzsimons) and Brandon Smith, in the second half, stepped up their intensity, their physical and emotional effort; and the younger players followed that.”

Shipp finished the game with eight points and three steals. Gabe Kauffman led the team in scoring with 14 points. Anthony Hoffman scored seven; Brandon Weist, four; Smith, four; Tim Faulconer, two; Fitzsimons, two.

Molter and Edwards led Philomath scoring with 14 each.

Sweet Home 56, Toledo 47

Brandon Weist scored the Huskies’ first 11 points at Toledo on Friday night to lead the Huskies to a 56-47 win. Weist next scored one in the third quarter but added another eight in the fourth for a total of 20 points on the game.

Anthony Hoffman had his best game of the year, Little said. He scored four points but pulled down seven rebounds and assisted seven times.

“Charlie had a great game,” Little said. “He had five assists, five points and three steals. He’s just solid.”

Brandon Smith pulled down five offensive boards and scored 14.

With performances like these, the Huskies led 13-7 after the first quarter and 27-16 at halftime. Toledo kept pace with the Huskies in the third and fourth quarters, trailing 42-31 after the third.

Kauffman scored six; Shipp, four; Nathan Whitfield, two; and Faulconer, one.

Breon led Toledo scoring with 16 points. Edwards added 11.

The Huskies will face Banks on Friday and then open league play on Tuesday next week at Molalla. They’ll end the week at home against Stayton on Friday.

“I’m confident about starting out league this way,” Little said. “I think we’re really on a roll right now. We’re buying into what we teach, and the kids are understanding the level of competition it takes each night … to get the job done.”

They’re working hard right now, Little said, and the team wants to invite the community out to see them face Banks and Stayton.

“They want to show off to the community their hard work,” Little said.