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Boys basketball: Indians down Hillsboro, continue torrid start

Scappoose gets 17 points from Chase Johnson to beat Hillsboro 57-51 and move to 5-0

Photo Credit: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - The Scappoose student sections hold up 'Ws' while point guard Jacob Wendelschafer stands at the free throw line. It was a festive atmopshere,  but wild as the Indians withstood a physical first quarter.By the time the game was over, just about everyone in the gym was out of breath. The sweater-bedecked students were hoarse, the opposition was wheezing and Tribe basketball coach Rahim Tufts had to wipe nervous sweat from his brow.

But the Indians, who had just held tough and knocked off Hillsboro 57-51 for their fifth straight win, didn't feel a thing.

“We just have a mature group and great senior leadership,” Tufts said. “Guys don't get rattled, and so they just try to stay the course. They were calmer than I was.”

Scappoose (5-0) tied their 2007 mark of five straight wins to start the season behind another huge night from senior Chase Johnson: 17 points, 11 of which came in the decisive second quarter.

Things got off to a rough-and-tumble start in the early parts of the game, as the officiating crew backed off and let both teams play physical. Scappoose, thanks to a tough defensive effort in the first period, led 10-4 after the first eight minutes. Then the offense caught fire behind Johnson's rebounding efforts to take a 33-14 edge to the locker room at halftime.

In the third quarter, Hillsboro finally found a rhythm. They'd hit just one shot in the first quarter and two in the second, but bombed away from distance as the second half continued, hitting three crucial treys to keep themselves within striking distance after three quarters.

The Indians went ice cold in the final period, missing on all of their attempts from the field but managing 17 trips to the foul line while Hillsboro continued tossing up shots from beyond the arc. The cold shooting from the Spartans in the first half was a thing of the distant past, something Tufts knew he would see eventually.

“We held them to 14 points in the first half, and they're a really good shooting team so I didn't have expectations that was going to happen again,” Tufts said. “I knew they were going to go on a run. Teams that shoot so well and so many threes are dangerous because they can go in spurts, so I knew it was going to happen at some point. We had to weather the storm, and rebounding I think was the key to that.”

In the end, Scappoose did just enough to pull through, thanks to another solid second-half showing from Robert Lohman, who finished with eight points and was three-of-four from the line in the fourth quarter.

It was the performance from Johnson, though, which gave the Indians enough of a cushion to handle all of the Spartans' spit and vinegar. Johnson scored 26 on the road to beat North Marion in overtime, led Scappoose past Salem Academy with 23 points and was a major piece in the Indians reaching their fifth straight win.

“Our guys are doing an awesome job of finding him,” Tufts said after the win over Salem Academy. “We went on a 14-0 run in the second quarter, and he may have had all 14. We were talking about it after the game. It was a team run, it wasn't a Chase run. Guys are finding him in positions where he can score and we get stops. It really doesn't matter who’s getting the points, it's a team effort.”

After both the win over Salem Academy and Wednesday’s win over Hillsboro, Tufts spoke of focusing on one game, one quarter, one possession and one moment at a time. While a goal of theirs over the next few weeks is to put four quarters together, Tufts said he would be worried about peaking too soon if they'd played four complete periods in mid-December. There is still plenty of room to improve, especially by the time league play rolls around.

“There were stretches where we looked really, really good, and there were stretches where we looked bad,” Tufts said on Monday. “I said in a time out — and I say all the time — we don't want to be good, we want to be great. And kids are buying into that. They want to be great. They want to be pushed, they want to be coached.”

The Indians are also looking forward to the return of Jake Ford, who broke his collar bone during football season. Ford said he might suit up and lightly shake off a bit of rust in Friday's game, but wouldn't have his next doctor’s visit until Monday when the final evaluation would be made.

Tufts is ready for the wait to be over.

“He just adds a whole different element athletically and leadership-wise, and he's a lock-down defender,” Tufts said, putting a heavy emphasis on the last phrase. “We can put him on positions one through four and he's gonna cause havoc, so I'm excited to watch him play.”

Ford will join a defense which has held teams under 46 points in three of their five games and has held four of five teams under their average. The defense, according to Tufts, has been a major key to their early success. At times, he said, defense is all the team talks about.

“The kids are just excited to play basketball, and they really like each other,” Tufts said. “I love this group, they're my second family. They're just excited to get out there and see what happens.”

Scappoose had a day off before making the road trip to play Junction City on Friday evening at 7 p.m.


Scappoose 57, Hillsboro 51

HILLS 4 10 21 16 — 51

SCAP 10 23 20 6 — 57


Hillsboro: Hindley 11, M. Jones 4, Groh 10, J. Jones 4, E. Nelson 7, Dean 3, RJ. Nelson 3

Scappoose: Wendelschafer 10, Lohman 8, McNabb 14, Donaldson 3, Marcantonio 5, Johnson 17

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