Husky boys lose final game 56-43, end season having fun

North Marion 56

Sweet Home 43

North Marion defeated the Husky boys basketball team 56-43, ending their season, on Feb. 25 at North Marion.

The winner of the game earned the fifth-place conference playoff spot. While North Marion snatched that spot, the Huskies placed fourth statewide among 3A boys basketball teams in another category, the OSAA-Dairy Farmers Academic awards. The Huskies held a 3.66 GPA throughout the season.

“Kahle’s (North Marion) a very good player,” Coach Mark Risen said. “We knew he was the key to their game. We knew if had a big night there would be trouble. Obviously, he had a big night.”

Kahle led North Marion scoring with 30 points. No other North Marion player hit double digits in scoring.

Coach Risen thought the Huskies ad some good plays in the first half, especially offensively. Early on, the Huskies were getting any looks they wanted at the bucket, and they led 14-11 after the first quarter. North Marion put together a 29-23 lead by halftime. After that, North Marion widened its lead to 45-35 at the end of the third quarter.

North Marion started changing defense on the Huskies. On defense, they ranged through an array of man defenses, zones and presses, and Kahle got hot. Coach Risen estimates, Kahle hit 65 percent of his shots from the field. Between the two factors, the Huskies found themselves in a hole they couldn’t escape.

“We had moments when we looked pretty good,” Coach Risen said. Tim Matuszak was sick, and “I thought he had a great league campaign for us.”

On top of it, another of the Huskies’ leading scorers, Ricky Howe, was sick.

“We seemed to lose our legs late in the third quarter,” Coach Risen said.

“Now that the season’s over, I will say that I knew coming into the year we were young, especially in context of our conference,” Coach Risen said. The Capital Conference was senior laden this year, and that was Coach Risen’s top concern going into the season.

“I thought we lost a few games we should have won simply because we weren’t playing to our potential,” Coach Risen said. “I thought we lost games because we had more experienced opponents on the floor. At times, that experience was a factor. Overall, I thought we grew tremendously in our understanding of the game.

“We matured a great deal in our team concept. Like most young teams, we seemed to play up against toughter competition and down against weaker competition almost as if we were at the will of whoever we were playing at the moment.

The coaching staff was its most patient ever with the team this year, Coach Risen said. They focused on teaching and not getting caught up in the frustration of losing games they should have won.

The players deserve credit in that area as well, Coach Risen said. “Everyone in this program is used to winning.”

With a losing season, there were many opportunities for finger poinnting, argmuments backbiting, Coach Risen said. “But it never happened between (players or coaches). The bottom line, the kids still had a fun experience.”

They were laughing and joking going into the locker room at every game, Coach Risen said. “That’s a testament to the kind of kids we have.”

Countless teams out there, when they have losing seasons, break down to individuals blaming everyone else and trying to play ball alone.

“When I look at the season overall … obviously, we were young,” Coach Risen said. “We grew a great deal, but most importantly, in spite of all of it, we still had fun.”

The team loses senior Brian Seward next year but returns a full rank of new seniors. The youngest team in the league will become the oldest team in the league. Coming in behind this year’s juniors are winning junior varsity and freshman teams.

The junior varsity finish with a 17-6 overall record and 8-2 league record, losing only to Stayton.

The freshmen finish 20-3 overall and 10-0 in league.

The varsity team finished 2-8 in league play.