The Outlaws boys and girls basketball teams traveled over to Union on Dec. 12 for some hard-scrabble court time.
The boys failed to capitalize on opportunities during their tussle with the Bobcats. Time management and a lack of ball handling skills in the turnover department led to the 57-54 overtime defeat of the Outlaws on Bobcat turf.
The Outlaws nursed a three-point lead and had possession with about four minutes remaining and Union in foul trouble. Rather than eating clock time working toward prime shots, quick, inaccurate shots ensued, forcing EHS into defensive posture while allowing the Bobcats to take over the tempo of the game and the victory as well.
Still, the boys put up some impressive stats with Riley Masters’ 19-point performance. Dylan Marr scored 14 points while Coy Aschenbrenner added 13.
“We’re scoring well in our games,” Coach Larry Wells said. “Our turnovers are too high, so the other team has the ball more.” He did compliment the defensive effort and said his squad moved the ball well.
“With adjustments, we should be fine,” Wells added.
The Outlaws boys bounced back dramatically after the loss to Union, forging convincing victories over Wallowa and Elgin starting on Friday, Dec. 14.
The Wallowa contest turned into a 38-20 slow-placed victory with Cougars star Christopher Nobles out with a sprained ankle. In response, Wells played all 13 boys on the roster, nine of whom scored.
“The game wasn’t fast paced, but we’re happy with the results,” Wells said.
Dylan Marr and Riley Masters led the scoring with nine each in the hole, and Foster Hobbs and Garrett Thorne poured in four each.
Elgin, who had defeated the Outlaws a little more than a week ago, saw the tables turned Saturday, Dec. 16 as EHS took the bite out of the Huskies early and never let up in a 20 point 58-38 victory at the tournament.
Devin Greer led the scoring with 16 points at the gold mine while Dylan Marr knocked in 10 points. Riley Masters followed closely behind with nine in the hoop
Once again, the bench saw significant playing time while excellent time management and man defense kept Elgin barking up the wrong tree.
“We executed well because we practiced well and we were prepared,” Wells said. “We jumped out early, and when they made runs we responded.”
EHS point guard Riley Masters was sidelined with foul trouble, but with bench depth in the person of Jaylen Wecks, the Outlaws didn’t lose a step.
Wells noted that Wecks played with poise as did Garrett Thorne and Foster Hobbs during their time on the court. Timmy Wells also put out a fine defensive performance with a number of boards to his credit.
“The program really needed this win,” Coach Wells said. “With game management and low turnovers we had the ball more than Elgin, which helped.”
The week left the Outlaws 0-1 in league play and 5-3 on the season. The coach noted that the Outlaws meet Joseph at Quinn Court on Wednesday, Dec. 19.
“We have to be prepared to play a well-coached team like the Eagles,” he said.
The girls managed to steer clear enough of the Bobcats’ paws to walk off the court with a 46-41 victory behind the twin guns of Shelby Moncrief and Lexie Gassett, who scored 24 points between them to keep the win in reach.
The squad improved to a 36 percent shooting percentage as compared to the Elgin outing. Besides the 14 and 10 points of Moncrief and Gassett respectively, Ashlyn Gray dumped in seven points and Karli Bedard six in the effort.
Gray snagged 10 rebounds while Moncrief and Claire Farwell combined for seven steals on the evening.
Coach Mike Crawford said the Outlaws started the game with a large point run. Although the Bobcats tied the game twice in the first and third quarters, they never led the scoring.
The girls had a relatively easy time of it over the weekend, first romping over Bonanza 46-22 on the tournament’s opening night, Friday, Dec. 14. The bench saw plenty of court time in the contest.
“We played great basketball against Bonanza,” Coach Mike Crawford said. “It was by far our most complete game this year.” He added that the ladies practiced hard over the week, and he was happy with every element of their play.
Zari Bathke led the girls with an even dozen points on the board while Claire Falwell added nine points of her own. Moncrief and Gassett had eight points each.
Defensively, Karli Bedard snagged 11 rebounds and blocked a shot while Gray collected 10 boards on the evening.
The following night saw the ladies with an easy win over Wallowa 46-30. At times the Outlaws held leads of at least 20 points with the score 23-8 at the half. Once again, the bench received significant court experience.
“I’ve gotten an opportunity to play my kids some minutes they may not have had otherwise,” Crawford said. “It’s one game at a time, and we’ll keep battling to see what we can do.”
The wins left the ladies 7-1 on the season and ranked 12th in the state. They next play at home versus Weston-McEwen in a league contest on Saturday, Dec. 22.