Columbia River rolls past SH in third quarter gamble

Columbia River 59

Sweet Home 44

For a loss, Coach Mark Risen was upbeat with his team’s performance against Columbia River High School Saturday night at a tournament in Cottage Grove.

Columbia River of Vancouver, Wash., defeated the Husky boys basketball team 59-44 to win the tournament. The Huskies defeated Cottage Grove Friday night to advance to the championship.

“It’s the best team we’ve seen in five years, better than any team I’ve seen at state in the last five years,” Coach Risen said. The team, with eight seniors, fielded 6’9″, a 6’6″, 6’5″ and 6’2″ players. They’re tall, quick and can shoot. The posts are strong, and the team plays a tough game balanced between transition and half-court. The team does a number of things to “distort you.”

The team is coached by David Long and assisted by his father, Sonny Long, who won 479 games in 31 years at Lake Oswego. Total, the team’s coaching staff has 109 years of experience compared to the Huskies’ 20.

“I was extremely proud of our kids,” Coach Risen said. Columbia River opened with a 9-0 run, but the Huskies answered with an 11-0 run of their own. Columbia River led 12-11 after the first quarter.

Coach Risen subbed his sophomores, Donny Cliver, Matt Hamn, Mike Severns, Ricky Howe and Tyler Emmert, in for the first four minutes of the second quarter. Tim Matuszak was out of town and did not play. Those five outscored Columbia River 8-6 in that time.

“Half of these guys are legit varsity players now,” Coach Risen said. “And half of them are on the verge.”

Half of them have the confidence in themselves to be impact players, Coach Risen said. The other half have nearly developed that confidence.

“To go out and play against a team like that and compete, it’s definitely a testimony to their character,” Coach Risen said. Just under four minutes left in the first half, the starters were subbed back in. The two teams played evenly, with Columbia River scoring a couple of last minute hoops to slip ahead 25-23 at halftime.

The Huskies were coping with a 3-2 zone that shifted into 2-3, an odd defense they encountered with this team at Seaside during the summer.

“We did pretty well against the zone defense,” Coach Risen said. “Our offense was effective against it because we got the ball where we wanted to get it.”

The Huskies ran into trouble in the third quarter when Columbia River gambled, overplaying the passing lanes and packing its posts tightly into the paint to cover the inside shot, a move sometimes used by the Huskies. The Huskies turned the ball over on the perimeter six or seven times in the quarter, and Columbia River capitalized on it scoring 12 to 14 points to build a decisive lead.

Columbia River’s transition game carried the team to the win, Coach Risen said. The Huskies held Columbia River’s half-court attack to just 26 points. Husky post players Howe, Tyler, Sam Posthuma and Aaron Hegge did well frustrating Columbia River posts.

“Our kids wouldn’t let them touch the ball,” Coach Risen said. Columbia River was held to three offensive boards for the game.

Columbia River had a tendency to run most of its approximately 25 set plays through its high post, Coach Risen said. The Huskies put pressure there denying passes to slow Columbia River’s offense down.

On transition, the Huskies had a harder time keeping up with Columbia River.

“They’re the only team I’ve seen that’s quicker than us,” Coach Risen said. They had one player who was quicker than all the Huskies. When the Huskies turned the ball over, “the race was on.”

The Huskies trailed 47-31 after the end of the third quarter.

They answered the quarter by working harder at penetrating the key, kicking the ball through high post more. Cliver, Howe, Mink, Posthuma and Hegge were able to score through it.

“Eventually, we broke it down and got some great looks,” Coach Risen said. “Hegge got 13 inside (to lead the Huskies).… I was really, really proud of our kids. You would have thought it was 45-45 the way they were working.”

Down 12 to 14 points, the Huskies were working harder than ever and went to a press of their own accord to win the quarter 13-12.

Playing to the wire, never quitting, is among the virtues the Huskies showed, Coach Risen said. Eight seconds left, they were still scoring.

“To know that we can play with a team of that caliber — We played toe-to-toe with them for 26 minutes — That’s a testament to the kind of kids we have,” Coach Risen said. Over the last five years, that tenacity has been the heart, soul and spirit of the Huskies.

Scoring in the game were Hegge with 13; Kevin Furry, seven; Posthuma, six; Nik Walker, four; Hamn, four; Anthony Mink, three; Severns, three; Cliver, two; and Howe, two. Furry, Posthuma, Mink and Severns each had a three-pointer.

The Huskies defeated Cottage Grove Friday night, 46-33. They led 7-5 after one quarter, 16-13 at halftime and 36-21 after the third quarter.

Walker led in scoring with 15 points, including two three pointers; Hegge, eight; Furry, eight; Howe, six; Mink, four; Severns, a three-pointer; and Emmert, two.