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Milwaukie and Sandy are tied for first in the NWOC

The Mustangs lose to Wilsonville, but bounce back with a win over the seventh-ranked Sandy Pioneers


by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Milwaukie sophomore Jazz Johnson (32) goes on the attack in last weeks game with Wilsonville.Fresh off an humbling loss to Wilsonville, Milwaukie’s seventh-ranked boys basketball team was all business on Friday, as the Mustangs made their free throws down the stretch and won a 66-58 barnburner from seventh-ranked Sandy.

Just three days earlier the Mustangs had fallen behind early and trailed all the way in a 57-46 loss to then ninth-ranked Wilsonville.

“Our guys were pretty devastated by the loss to to Wilsonville,” said Milwaukie coach Kyle Bracy. “They wanted to show [against Sandy] that they are still a good basketball team....

“They still want to win league, but they know it won’t be easy. Sandy’s a great team, Wilsonville’s a great team, Sherwood’s a great team. St. Helens and Parkrose have been playing well. Parkrose almost upset Sandy. It’s a tough, tough league and anyone can beat anyone on a given night. The league champion could very easily have three losses.”

With Friday’s win over Sandy, Milwaukie (11-6 overall) and Sandy (14-4 overall) finished last week tied for first place in the NWOC standings, both with 7-1 records in conference play. Sherwood (10-7, 5-3) and Wilsonville (13-5, 5-3) were tied for third place.

For Sandy, Friday’s loss ended a win string at nine games. The Pioneers’ only other losses in state this season were at the hands of 6A teams Lakeridge and Barlow in early December.

“Sandy has experience and they have size,” Bracy said. “They have 10 seniors, many of whom played a lot last year. They’re tough.”

Bracy’s Mustangs jumped to an early lead in Friday’s home game with the Pioneers, building a 19-12 lead in the first quarter and a 34-27 advantage at halftime.

“Our plan was to speed up the game, force turnovers and get some easy buckets, and we did that early,” Bracy said.

The Pioneers didn’t give up without a fight. Rallying around the play of 5-11 senior wing Jacob Groom, they can roaring back, closing to within 45-44 by the end of the third period. Groom finished with a game-high 22 points on the night, hitting five 3-pointers.

Groom gained the Pioneers their first lead of the game late in the third period, and the fourth quarter was a seesaw affair, with Milwaukie sophomore point guard Jazz Johnson putting the Mustangs on his shoulders down the stretch. Johnson scored 11 of his team-high 17 points in the fourth quarter, hitting a key 3-pointer and going a perfect 8-for-8 at the charity stripe.

“He’s our best free throw shooter, so when we got the lead, we tried to get the ball in Jazz’ hands,” Bracy said. “He was 8-for-8 in the fourth quarter and 10-for-10 from the line for the game.”

Milwaukie junior guard Tre’Shann Stone (15 points) hit a huge basket with 1:30 to play that put the Mustangs in the driver’s seat, banking in a tough shoot in traffic over the guard of Sandy 6-7 post Justin Adams (18 points).

Senior wings Kendrick Bourne (13 points) and Trevontae Anderson (10 points) also scored in double figures for the Mustangs.

Mustangs bite

the bullet

The Milwaukie Mustangs got a reality check on Jan. 29, when they dropped their first Northwest Oregon Conference boys basketball game of the season to Wilsonville 57-46.

It was the Mustangs’ first loss in league after six straight victories, and the Mustangs (then 6-1) slipped into second place in the NWOC — behind Sandy (7-0) — with the loss.

Wilsonville went up 10-0 to start the game and the Wildcats led the rest of the way.

The Mustangs appeared lethargic early-on, turning the ball over in their half-court offense, while Wilsonville forged a lead with a patient offense.

Milwaukie turned the ball over four times in the first three minutes of the game and the Mustangs went scoreless until Jazz Johnson found the basket on a driving lay-up six minutes into the game.

Milwaukie trailed by as many as 13 points in the third quarter and by as many as 14 points early in the fourth. The closest the Mustangs got in the final period was within six points, at 49-43, with 1:27 to play.

The Mustangs attempted to make several runs, but each time they got in their own way, hurting their own cause with a missed dunk, two technical fouls, and missed free throws.

“Defense and intensity [were missing tonight],” Johnson said. “Defense and intensity breed offense, and we just didn’t have it tonight.”

Johnson added, “I think we may have overlooked Wilsonville because Parkrose beat them. We can’t let that happen again. We’ve got to work harder and take it one game at a time. We’ve got to work hard every game if we want to get to the playoffs and win when we get there.”

“This [win] means a lot,” said Wilsonville senior captain Ryan Walsh. “Milwaukie’s a very talented team and, if we can play with them, we can play with a lot of other talented teams.”

“Taking care of the basketball, blocking out and rebounding, and being patient on offense, those were the keys [to beating Milwaukie],” Wilsonville co-captain Dylan Livesay said. “We have a ton of good athletes, and they were flying around a lot tonight.”

Livesay, a 6-4 senior wing, was the Wildcats’ leading scorer, tallying 20 points. He hit two 3-pointers and he was a perfect 6-for-6 from the charity stripe in the fourth quarter.

Wilsonville 5-11 junior wing Zach Malvar (11 points) was the only other Wildcat in double figures in scoring.

Johnson tallied a game-high 25 points and made four assists, but he was the only Mustang to score in double figures.

Kendrick Bourne hauled down 10 rebounds in the losing effort.

The Mustangs were a lukewarm 19-for-55 (.345) from the field and they connected on only 6-of-15 (.400) free throw attempts.

The Wildcats were 19-of-49 (.387) from the field and 16-of-20 (.800) from the charity stripe.

It was the fourth win in seven conference games for the Wildcats, who dropped a recent game to Parkrose, 63-60.

“Wilsonville played great,” Bracy said. “They were very patient and they did a good job spreading us out. We didn’t shoot the ball well at all. I think our kids got a little impatient and forced things.... Wilsonville has the best half-court defense in the league.”

Milwaukie and Wilsonville were ranked 10th and 11th in the state respectively heading into the Jan. 29 game. Milwaukie defeated Wilsonville 57-47 when the two teams met at Wilsonville in their NWOC opener. The two teams tied for the NWOC league championship in 2011 and 2012, and Milwaukie defeated Wilsonville 59-41 in the semifinals of last year’s Class 5A State Tournament.



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