The Joseph Charter School Eagles boys basketball team came off a successful 2-1 road trip, despite an opening road series loss on the hoops court to 38th-ranked Dufur on Thursday, Dec. 26. The Eagles also faced down Perrydale and St. Paul.
“We played the worst game we’ve probably played in the last couple of years, to be honest,” coach Olan Fulfer said of the 51-44 Dufur contest. “We didn’t really get off the bus.”
Fulfer noted the Eagles had only a nonmandatory practice on Monday, Dec. 23, and had the next two days off before its early morning bus ride to Dufur. Fulfer said the lack of practice showed in dead legs.
“We had a chance to tie it at the end,” Fulfer said. “We were down three, shot a three (that) went in-and-out. Nothing went right in that game.”
Chase Murray led the caravan with 13 points while Carson Littlepage and Mason Ferre‘ hit for nine each.
“That loss helped a ton,” Fulfer said. “We looked really good the past two games and played better opponents in my opinion.”
In response to the poor passing efforts with Dufur, Fulfer held a 1.5 hour passing practice on the following day. Formerly undefeated Perrydale suffered the results of that practice on the same day, taking a 51-35 trouncing from the Eagles.
The Eagles ran off 12 points before Perrydale could answer with a bucket.
“We passed the ball really well and played tough on defense,” Fulfer said. “Carson (Littlepage) had a breakout game for me. He was a beast on defense and chipped in 12 points.”
In addition to Littlepage, Murray had a monster game, pouring 25 through the circle. Ferre‘ shoved in eight for the cause.
“I was really proud of how the team stepped up after a tough loss on the road to Dufur,” Fulfer said. “They came out with a fire and passion and wanted to make everything right from the day before.”
Saturday saw St. Paul taking a 59-47 drubbing from the fiery Eagles. Because of the past passing issues, Fulfer wanted the squad to key in on feeding the post, which resulted in 19 points for Hadley Miller in his breakout performance.
“It was a close game; we were tied at halftime and they took a lead in the third quarter,” Fulfer said. “We blew it open in the fourth quarter.”
In addition to Miller’s output, Hayden Hite played excellent defense and sank three from beyond the paint for a 12-point performance. Ferre’ nailed down 10 points while Murray locked up eight.
“One thing this trip did for us was to allow three players to have breakout games,” Fulfer said. “We got two wins against really tough opponents.” He added that teams are trying to lock up Murray and Ferre’, which gives other players an opportunity to shine.
Fulfer counted the losses as a blessing to the team because of its maturity and willingness to learn lessons for the defeats.
“It’s rare to have a team that responds to losses the way they do,” Fulfer said. “Instead of beating up themselves or each other, they just talk about what they need to do to be better — then they go out and do it.”
The Eagles next travel to Pendleton on Thursday, Jan. 2, to meet Crane. Saturday, Jan. 4, they will face off against Country Christian. The Eagles are 7-3 in preseason play and ranked sixth in the state.