The Joseph Eagles boys are riding high after twin victories over Pine Eagle and league spoiler, Elgin, on Feb. 7-8 respectively.
The Eagles faced Pine Eagle on Friday, Feb. 7. Joseph quickly went to work against the Spartans, winning the game 63-28 despite plucky Pine Eagle play. Coach Olan Fulfer said the Spartans had a tough time hitting shots, scoring only 12 in the first half.
Despite good defense on the part of the Eagles, Pine Eagle exploded for 16 in the third quarter. Fulfer said it gave the squad something to work on in the future.
Chase Murray celebrated by knocking 24 points through the hoop while court partner, Mason Ferre found 18 going into the hoop. Hadley Miller did his share with 12 on the books.
Elgin, who was celebrating its senior night, had it in for the Eagles and came out with very tough defense that forced nearly 30 turnovers from the Joseph offense. However, team discipline instilled by coach, Olan Fulfer, prepared the team for tough battle times and the Eagles never lost their heads.
“We struggled mightily against Elgin,” Fulfer said. “We still won and that showed a ton of heart by the boys, they came out wanting to destroy us and left every single bit they had on the court.”
Coach Fulfer said his team had plenty of chances to blow the game open, but turnovers hampered their efforts. Fulfer plans to have the team working on some fundamentals in the ramp-up for District play. This includes passing and trying to play fearless basketball. Still he was proud of the Eagles’ efforts.
“Early in the season, or even a couple of weeks ago, if we would have had that many turnovers against almost any team, we’re going to lose,” he said. “We were able to show a lot of pride and remember what we’d been working on. To play the worst we have all season and come out with a win is pretty awesome.”
Superstar Chase Murray again poured in 24 points and shoved a monstrous dunk through the hoop to give the team some momentum. Miller aced 16 on the books while Hayden Hite score six from behind the paint
Fulfer said the team had mostly recovered from the Jan. 16 school fire, which saw the Eagles suffering two straight losses immediately afterward.
“We’re regaining our feet and regaining our confidence,” he said.
The week left the Eagles with a 7-2 Old Oregon League record and 16-5 overall. They hold down the third spot in the Old Oregon League behind Nixyaawii and Powder Valley and are ranked at eighth in the state.
The Eagles played at Imbler on Tuesday, Feb. 11 and will face Wallowa in the Cougars’ den on Friday, Feb. 14. The final game of the season the Eagles will play at home against first-place Nixyawii on the following day at 5:30 p.m.