Husky boys can’t find winner’s circle in holiday basketball tournament

Sweet Home’s boys basketball team came up winless at the SCTC Holiday Classic at Stayton High School last week, in a slate of three games that featured two showdowns against 5A schools.

The Huskies, now 2-9 and ranked 33rd in the 4A Division, lost to 5A North Salem (3-6, No. 27) 60-27, 5A West Albany (2-7, No. 20) 63-36, and 4A Valley Catholic (3-6, No. 28) 46-39 on successive days after tournament play began on Dec. 28.

“It was kind of a rough tournament,” said Head Coach Drew Emmert. “We played really good teams, and we just didn’t score or defend very well, and we have to defend exceptionally well or we are going to struggle to win games.” The coach said that both North Salem and West Albany shot well and did a good job at speeding the game up.

In the 60-27 loss to North Salem, junior guard Evan Towry led the team with eight points on 3-for-7 shooting, going 2-for-3 from beyond the arc. Senior Russell Holly added seven points on 2-for-eleven shooting. Sophomore Nathan Aker and senior Tanner Waldrop each had five points.

The Huskies started off strong against West Albany, holding a one point lead at the end of the first quarter. But by halftime the Bulldogs held a nine point lead, and the Huskies were hurt still more when Holly had to sit out with a sprained ankle in the 63-36 loss.

Senior point guard Eddie Martinez put up 10 points in the loss, and Holly had eight points before he was sidelined with his injury in the third quarter.

The contest against Valley Catholic would prove to be Sweet Home’s closest result of the tournament. The Huskies were down 12 points in the fourth quarter before storming back to take a one point lead with one minute and thirty seconds remaining in the game. But thanks to an untimely Husky turnover and Valley Catholic sinking some clutch free throws, the Huskies ultimately fell to the fellow 4A rival 46-39.

Against the Valiants, Aker led the team in scoring with 19 points on 8-for-17 shooting. He also pulled in a team-leading nine rebounds. Holly, back in action after his injury the day prior, added 13 points for the Huskies on 3-for-14 shooting, including a three pointer. The senior added eight rebounds of his own.

Emmert said that in the team’s final tournament game, “We played really well. We controlled the pace and held them to a low number of points (he noted that Valley Catholic put up 64 points against Woodburn two days before). If we would have made a few more plays at the end, we would have had that game.”

Sweet Home hits the road twice this week, playing at Corbett (7-1, #10) on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at 7 p.m. and at Woodburn (8-2, #11) on Friday, Jan. 7 at 7 p.m.