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Indians begin 4A state basketball playoffs Saturday

Team takes a lot of confidence to North Bend
by: John Brewington PLAYING BIG—Scappoose’s Joe Nelson came up huge during the Indians’ play-in win over North Marion.

The Scappoose Indians have realized their goals of winning the Cowapa League championship, and advancing to the 4A state playoffs.

They have a new goal of winning their Saturday game with North Bend and advancing to the final eight-team bracket at Oregon State's Gil Coliseum in Corvallis.

'We're excited to play in North Bend,' Scappoose coach Rahim Tufts said. 'This is a business trip. North Bend has a really good team, great defense and are guard oriented.'

The two teams meet at 1 p.m. Saturday in North Bend.

Far West champ North Bend has a 23-2 record, losing only to nearby 5A Marshfield (15-8, ranked 11th) in their season opener and later to Oregon West Conference runner-up Newport (21-3, ranked 4th). They beat Marshfield in a rematch, 54-47, in late December. The Bulldogs have won 18 straight, including two non-recorded wins against Mexican teams over Christmas break.

North Bend beat Klamath Union 63-48 in the play-in round.

The Indians (20-6, ranked 11th) are duly impressed, but feel they can play with anyone in the state right now. The Indians are 11-1 since league started and into Saturday's play-in win over North Marion. They beat No. 5-ranked Seaside twice in the last two weeks, after losing to them earlier by one, 51-50. They lost to No. 9-ranked Roosevelt by just five, and had the lead late against No. 1-ranked Central, only to lose by three.

The Indians are ready to play, the coach indicated.

'We're having a lot of fun,' Tufts said, 'working extremely hard, but enjoying it.'

Tufts, who is in his first year coaching the Indians, said the team has achieved everything they've set out to do so far.

'We had a goal setting activity for every kid throughout the program, varsity, jayvees, and jayvee IIs. We wanted to win league, we wanted to be close and gel as a team, and we wanted to get to the state tournament. Everyone had individual goals, but there was consistency on what we wanted to achieve as a team. Now we want to get to Gil Coliseum.'

To do that, they have to win this Saturday.

Tufts says North Bend is a lot like Scappoose. They have one player 6-feet, 4-inches, and another 6-3. They are guard oriented.

'We finished with a lot of confidence. We concentrated on creating and finishing close games. We're excited to still be playing,' he noted.

The Indians will leave Friday and spend the night in North Bend. They'll head back after the game. They're hoping for a fun bus ride home.