Husky intangibles take down Molalla 67-56

Sweet Home 67

Molalla 56

Patience on offense and defensive stubborness early in the game were keys to the Husky boys basketball team’s 67-56 victory over Molalla at home Friday night.

Molalla and Sweet Home traded buckets through the first quarter to build a score of 10-10. The Huskies began pulling away late in the second quarter to lead 27-20 at halftime.

They stretched the lead another six points to lead 47-34 by the end of the third quarter, leading by as much as 17 during the quarter.

Among Molalla’s qualities, Husky Coach Mark Risen said, the team likes to start fast and jump out to an early lead then camp out in a zone. The team averages 21 points a game in the first quarter.

Coach Risen didn’t want Molalla getting out way ahead of his team, so the Huskies played conservatively early on, controlling the tempo. On offense, they patiently worked their plays to get the looks they wanted.

Defensively, “we were really stubborn that first quarter,” Coach Risen said. The Huskies average 12 points in their first quarters. “I’m glad we weren’t down nine after one.”

The Huskies started pusing their own agenda in the second quarter to begin building their lead, Coach Risen said. Ricky Howe started out tight and a little jittery in his first game as a starter. Once he relaxed he scored seven straight points for the Huskies.

Starting point guard Nik Walker, the team’s high-scoring player, did not play and will be sidelined indefinitely, which opened the starting spot for Howe.

Sophomores Howe and Anthony Mink led the team in scoring with 15 and 18 respectively to fill the gap. Coach Risen gave credit to his team’s six sophomores for stepping up.

But Husky basketball is about intangibles as well. Those intangibles, the team’s character and ethics, are something Coach Risen enjoys talking about. The other intangibles are those moves that are never marked on a stat sheet, such as setting the right pick at the right time.

With Walker out of the game, Kevin Furry moved to point guard and deserves credit for the team’s performance as well, Coach Risen said. With eight points, “he played marvelously. He got the ball into everyone’s hands, controlled the tempo. This from a guy who played like the Tasmanian Devil the last four years. I thought Kevin played with a lot of savvy. Kevin drew a tough assignment on both ends.”

While playing at point offensively, Furry also had to face Molalla’s Dan Williams, one of Molalla’s top player. He held Williams to 10 points in the first half and zero in the second half.

Coach Risen pointed to Sam Posthuma, who scored six for the Huskies, for his performance against Dan Kirkham, Molalla’s best player.

“Sam Posthuma made him disappear,” Coach Risen said. Posthuma held Kirkham to just six points, and the Huskies were up by 17 before Kirkham ever scored a hoop. “I was just really impressed with the job Sam did.”

Aaron Hegge was his usual steady self, Coach risen said. With 10 points, nine boards and seven blocks, it was “another typical day for him at the gym.”

The starters scored a combined 57 points, but more came from the bench.

“It was just a complete team win,” Coach Risen siad. Donny Cliver and Tyler Emmert came into the game for some solid minutes with three and two points respectively. They were both aggressive offensively. Tim Matuszak, having been off for two weeks and fighting illness “hardly missed a beat (scoring five), and (Mike) Severns, in his own right, played some really solid minutes for us.”

The seniors are in large part responsible for the sophomores’ success.

“It’s the three seniors having enough confidence in themselves and the guys to run the offense through all of the guys,” Coach Risen said, speaking of more intangibles, Husky selflessness. “It takes a lot of respect from the three seniors to go out there and trust those six sophomores to play at that high level.”

That in and of itself is quite a compliment to the sophomores from the seniors, Coach Risen said. “You can see it in their attitude toward the sophomores. They treat them as equals although they lead them in battle. As much credit as the sophomores deserve, a lot of that credit is because the seniors don’t care about credit. They care about results. That’s the cornerstone of our program.”

The Huskies are 11-5 overall and 4-1 in league play.

The team will face Central at home Friday night. Varsity game times switch for the second half of the league play. Boys will start playing at 5:45 p.m. on Friday. Girls will play at 7:30 p.m.