The Eagles men dropped a rare pair of games in their first weekend outing after the tragedy of its gym fire. Facing the two top teams in the Old Oregon League proved a bit much for the Eagles.
Friday, Jan. 24, saw the Eagles visiting the Badgers’ den of Powder Valley and limping away after a 51-39 loss. Turnovers proved the name of the game as the Eagles turned the ball over 21 times, which the Badgers put to good use.
“They helped us see where we need to be by the end of the season,” Coach Olan Fulfer said. “Not having a game in two weeks hurt us; we were definitely rusty, and our heads weren’t in it.”
Still, the Eagles had a decent scoring night with Mason Ferre’ leading the scoring with 15 while partner in crime, Chase Murray, nailed 13.
Nixyaawii also proved a difficult mountain to climb as the Eagles didn’t get off the ground in the first half during a 71-57 loss. Fulfer said the squad had difficulty getting it together, but finally realized during the second half that despite circumstances, they still have a great team. Nixyaawii, one of the state’s top teams, only bested the Eagles by four points in the second half.
“We showed a big improvement in the second half, and that’s all I asked,” Fulfer said. “I just wanted an improvement from the night before.”
Fulfer noted that the Eagles cut turnovers down to 12 against a much tougher defense. Also, the dynamic duo put together a decent scoring machine for the Eagles as well.
This time Murray led with 19 in the hoop while Ferre’ chipped in with 14. Hayden Hite sparked the third quarter with his eight points, draining two shots from behind the paint in the process.
“I’m really proud of my team,” Fulfer said. “Even with the losses, they play with heart and class, and they never give up and they hold each other up. I have nothing but pride for our guys.”
The weekend left the Eagles with a 1-2 league record and 10-5 overall. Still the squad is ranked seventh in the state. They next host Wallowa at the Enterprise High School gym on Wednesday, Jan. 29, at 7:30 p.m. Fulfer thinks the rest of the season looks bright for the Eagles.
“We’ve got 10 games left in the season to get a little bit better each game,” Fulfer said. “We were trying to be perfect, and we’re not there yet.”