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Final defensive stop lands Pioneers a big win

Justin Adams scores a game-high 22 points in Sandys 39-38 win at Wilsonville on Friday


by: THE POST: PARKER LEE - Sandys Justin Adams flies above a crowd of Wilsonville defenders for two points in the lane during Fridays win.

WILSONVILLE — The Sandy boys basketball team had hustled around the court for nearly 32 minutes, but in order to pick up a signature league win over Wilsonville, the Pioneers would need seven seconds of full effort.

“The coaches told us we had the talent,” Sandy senior Justin Adams said. “At the end, they said the win was right there for us, we just had to take it.”

The Pioneers were clinging to a delicate 39-38 lead after Wilsonville’s Ryan Walsh made the first of two free throws. Sandy coach Jason Maki called a timeout before the second attempt to go over two possible outcomes – a make that would tie the game, or a miss and a Pioneer rebound.

Walsh put up the shot and it was short. The ball caromed off the front of the rim and got tipped in the direction of the Wildcats’ bench. Players from each school dove for the ball, but no one secured it before it rolled out of bounds with :04 left. Both teams pleaded for possession and after a long pause, the official awarded the ball to Wilsonville.

This was one scenario Maki and the Pioneers hadn’t planned for.

Sandy had come up with many defensive stops, but it needed one more.

The Wilsonville inbounds pass went to Dylan Livesay well behind the arc. He had no one to pass to and nowhere to go. In desperation, he heaved the ball high in the air towards the hoop. It never had a chance and bounced away as time expired.

The Pioneers’ defense came through again, this time to win the game.

“I told them all night that we are more physical, we are experienced, we have more energy and we are going to win this game,” Maki said.

The Sandy offense did not play nearly as well as the defense, but it did just enough. To be more accurate, Adams did just enough.

In the second half, the Pioneers didn’t try to fool anyone and did all they could to get the ball to Adams down low on every play. The Wildcats knew it was coming, but they still couldn’t stop it and Adams had a hand in every Pioneer point in the final 16 minutes. He scored 14 of Sandy’s 19 second-half points and was the assist-man on the other five points.

Adams finished the game with 22 points, 14 rebounds, four blocks and three assists.

Adams and the Pioneers know this game wasn’t for a championship, and they still have a great deal of work to do, but they now know they are good enough to beat anyone in the Northwest Oregon Conference.

“Our kids have high goals for themselves,” Maki said. “We want to be good enough to play in big games so that the community of Sandy can come out and see what these guys can do.”

Sandy (9-3) continues its NWOC journey with a battle for first place at home Friday against Sherwood (7-4). The Pioneers, Bowmen and Milwaukie (6-5) all finished the first week unbeaten in league.