The Wallowa Cougar boys suffered a 57-33 loss to the Elgin Huskies during an away hoops game Friday, Jan. 10.
“I think Elgin has one heck of a half-court press they run,” Coach Cody Lathrop said. “They were extremely patient. They are definitely the team to watch out for.” Lathrop added the Cougs seemed to handle the press at the start, but it eventually wore on the team and flustered them. “Our guys were a little taken aback by it,” he said.
According to Lathrop, the Huskies’ coach has the same type of vision for his team that the Wallowa coach harbors: To let the defense lead to the offense’s efficiency. In the game, the Huskies forced a large number of turnovers that allowed the offense to capitalize on them.
Lathrop said the Cougars’ defense was tight for the most part. Had the offense been able to gel, it might have allowed for a different game outcome.
“The defense played hard, and they played to the whistle,” Lathrop said.
The coach said that a measured and patient response can break the trap press, and he expects with maturity, the Cougs can master their response.
“We’re working at it bit by bit,” Lathrop said. “They love to compete. and they love going out and working. By the end of this year, we should have a good grasp on what we need to accomplish.”
Tristin Bales played a good game with 16 points in the bucket, half from the free throw line, where he went 8 of 12. The entire team was 15 of 24 from the line. Lathrop said that Bales was among the first to recognize the half-court trap press and it fazed him but little.
The loss left the Tom Cougs with an 0-2 league record and 4-8 overall. They next guard their lair versus Powder Valley on Friday, Jan. 17.