Indians overcome slow start to dominate Tillamook 64-45 to kick off Cowapa League play

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior Lacey Updike led the Indians with 24 points in their 64-45 win over Tillamook. Thanks to a barrage of three-pointers in the second quarter, Updike helped Scappoose to break down the Tillamook zone defense, opening up easy baskets underneath as the game stretched on.It might be a bit of an early call, but it looks as though the Scappoose girls' basketball team has finally found their stride.

The Indians out Tillamook (2-12) by a score of 64-45 on Tuesday evening, earning their third win in succession. It's the longest such streak of the season for the Indians (7-7), who have won five of their last seven and will look to rattle Banks on Friday night.

If there's one problem that still needs solving, though, it's the issue of how to get out of the gate without stumbling. In the last three home wins, including last week's cruise over Molalla, the Indians stumbled their way through the first quarter before packing it in and racing past their opponent.

And 'racing' might be putting it a little lightly. Against Tillamook, it was the same old story. Tied at 26 after the first two quarters, Scappoose picked up the pace in the third and broke the contest wide open. By the time the fourth quarter had arrived, the Indians were suddenly up by 11, and eight minutes later, they completed a second-half in which they outscored the visiting Cheesemakers 38-19 to turn a close battle into a dominant victory.

Early on, just as it has been in so many of the Tribe's games, Scappoose struggled. Tillamook leaned heavily on their star post player, junior Jamie Kottre, who towered over the Indians at 6-foot-one. Her scoring touch in the paint, a few kind bounces and strong rebounding were a source of frustration in the first period, helping the Cheesemakers to net six points before Scappoose scratched the box score.

Thankfully, Scappoose responded to keep things close, but they still trailed by those same six points after the end of the first period. And though the Indians ran away from there on out, the slow starts have been a regular source of frustration for head coach David Spirlin, who has said on occasion that the team needs to be mentally ready for each game and not simply wait until halftime to turn it on.

The light switch, as it seems, came on in the second quarter this time. Senior Lacey Updike finished the first period with three points, all from beyond the arc. Tillamook stubbornly stuck to a zone defense predicated on clogging the paint, and Updike took full advantage, finishing the half red-hot with 14 points, including four three-point field goals.

“It felt good,” she said afterward. “I felt like my teammates were really confident in me to pass it to me, and I felt like if I deal it to them, they'll deal it out to me.”

Confidence has been the difference maker from the struggles at the beginning of the season, according to Spirlin, who has seen not only Updike, but the entire team grow in confidence in the last few months. The hot streak for Updike was as much by design as it was simply taking the opportunities Tillamook laid on the table.

“She's getting open, but in the preseason she wasn't shooting with a lot of confidence,” said Spirlin. “Now she's put in the time in practice and she starting to get a rhythm. You could see it tonight where, if she's open, she shot it. Even if it didn't go in, it was a good shot in the offense because there was nobody guarding her.”

As Tillamook fell further and further behind, they eventually began to abandon the zone, moving to a man-defense to cool the hot shooting from the perimeter. That didn't work either. Just as Updike torched the nets in the first half, fellow senior Abby Kessi torched the paint in the second, scoring nearly all of her 20 points from directly under the basket.

The easy, smart passing style of Spirlin's design starting to take hold, the Indians slowly picked the Cheesemakers apart from – another of Spirlin's stalwart strategies – the inside out. Even on the break, Scappoose looked for the extra pass and the easy layup, many of those extra passes going the way of freshman Alyssa Spang, who had easily one of her best outings with the varsity squad. Spang came in early in the second half and played lock-down defense on Tillamook's point guard, forcing a handful of steals and running the floor to stretch the Indians' advantage.

By the time it was over, Scappoose was comfortably in control.

“Even those early blowouts are helping us now because we know what we need to do to play well against teams and take care of business,” said Spirlin. “I can see us getting better each time we play.”


Scappoose 64, Tillamook 45

SCAP 9 17 19 19 – 64

TILL 15 11 8 11 – 45

Scappoose 64: Kessi 20, Tinning 2, Catlow 4, Spang 8, Updike 24, Vardanega, Bailey, Sykes 4, Wight, Kopra 2

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