Huskies hold off Taft, 52-47

Like a storm slowly building up power, Teran Butler exploded in the fourth quarter Saturday against the Huskies to lead the Taft Tigers on a 21-point rally.

The Huskies weathered that storm, though, to hang on for a 52-47 win on the road. But it was close. Butler hit five of his seven three-pointers in the fourth quarter.

The Huskies built a comfortable 17-11 first-quarter lead and by halftime, they led 26-19. After three quarters, they led 37-26.

“We started out fairly well,” Huskies Coach Tim Little said. “That Butler kid just went off. We threw everything we could to stop him. They weren’t easy shots. Whatever he threw up seemed to drop in. Even from my perspective, it was pretty amazing, frustrating.”

The Tigers would foul Colton Emmert to stop the clock and get a chance to win possession, Little said. Emmert would hit the free throws, but Butler would come back down and hit a three, gradually erasing the Huskies’ lead.

“They were coming off a big win Friday night against Central,” Little said. It was the Tigers’ first league win.

Taft is a good team that shoots quickly and often, Little said. The Tigers can beat anyone in the league. Every game they play is close, and The Huskies are the only team to beat them by more than seven points.

The Huskies played well, Little said. Butler just played well too.

“We definitely took our time offensively,” Little said. “We were very patient and got our shot.”

At one point in the third quarter, the Huskies ran their offense for 2 minutes 3 seconds, passing the ball 32 times, before getting their shot, Little said. “Our discipline is really coming along this year.”

The team is learning that the more fundamental and disciplined its offense, they limit the opponent’s opportunities to score, Little said.

Gabe Kauffman led the Huskies with 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Emmert scored 15 points, shooting 6-6 from the foul line in the fourth quarter to seal the Huskies’ win. Jerad Olsen added nine points; Ryan Graville, four; and Levi Marchbanks, four. Josh Riggs, Dustin Hay, Brent Moyer and Drew Emmert played but did not score.

Butler led Taft scoring with 25 points.

The Huskies travel to Philomath on Friday and then host Philomath in a makeup game on Monday. Tuesday, they will host Taft.

“Philomath lost twice to Newport, so we’re sitting second in league,” Little said.

Newport is 5-1. Sweet Home is 4-1. Philomath is 4-2. Central and Taft are 1-6.