With Fridays win at Sandy, the Mustangs earn their first outright league title in over two decades

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by: PARKER LEE - Milwaukie 6-9 senior post Henry Morris (34) tells Sandy offensive star Justin Adams not on my watch in last weeks boys basketball victory at Sandy.The Milwaukie Mustangs did themselves proud last week, dispatching with Sandy (67-56) and Parkrose (96-59), and earning their first outright league title in boys basketball since 1991.

The pair of wins put the Mustangs at 13-1 in the Northwest Oregon Conference (17-6 overall) with the conference season complete. Sandy (18-6, 11-3), which finished second in the conference, could have won a co-championship with the Mustangs had the Pioneers beaten the Mustangs in last Friday’s game at Sandy.

It’s the third straight NWOC championship for the Mustangs, who tied Wilsonville for the championship in 2011 and 2012.

“We’ve made a lot of progress throughout this season,” said Milwaukie coach Kyle Bracy. “We’re hitting our stride heading into the playoffs. We’ve got to continue to play well if we want to continue. But when our guys are at the top of their game, I give us a shot against most any team out there.”

It took the Mustangs a half to get going in last Friday’s showdown with the Pioneers. Sandy was up 29-26 at the halftime break.

“We had four starters with two fouls in the first half and they sat most of the second quarter,” Bracy said. “[Sandy] packed it in with their zone, and without those starters, we had trouble making shots over the zone.”

Things changed when the starters returned in the third quarter. Shots that wouldn’t drop in the first half began to drop, and the Mustangs began to take charge.

Tre’Shann Stone sparked a 14-2 Milwaukie run to start the third quarter with seven points. C.J. Hubbard hit a big three from the corner as time expired at the end of the third quarter, putting the Mustangs up by six heading into the final period.

“It’s really tough to chase a team like that because they are so athletic,” Sandy coach Jason Maki said. “When we were ahead or tied, they were a little more tentative. When we got behind, they knew they could attack.... They are definitely a top team.”

Milwaukie 6-9 post Henry Morris played a pivotal role in the second-half turnaround. He took on Sandy star Justin Adams on defense and all but shut Adams down.

Morris had 12 points and 13 rebounds on the night.

“I thought Henry played his best game ever against Parkrose, and he topped that on Friday,” Bracy said.

The Mustang coach noted that Morris got a slow start to the season, missing five games because of an injury.

“And when he came back, then he got sick,” Bracy said. “Now he’s finally back near 100 percent, and he’s playing great.”

Morris scored 19 points, claimed nine rebounds and rejected seven shots in the game with the Broncos.

Stone scored 26 points to lead the Mustangs at Sandy. Jazz Johnson (14 points) and Hubbard (10 points) joined Stone and Morris in double digits in scoring.

Johnson had a career-night, scoring a game-high 26 points and serving up a team-high six assists in last week’s 96-59 rout of Parkrose. The 5-11 sophomore point guard was a hot-handed 9-of-12 from the field — with three 3-pointers, and he made all five of his free throw attempts.

Hubbard also had a big game, scoring 20 points and stealing the ball seven times.

Stone had 10 points and nine rebounds, Aubrey Daschel-Lloyd came through with six steals and five assists.

The Mustangs were in charge from the opening tip-off, building a 29-9 advantage in the first quarter.

The 96 points was a season high, topping a Jan. 25 game at Parkrose, which the Mustangs won 95-74.

Ranked eighth in the final OSAA power rankings, the Mustangs draw a bye from the play-in round of the Class 5A state playoffs. They’ll host a playoff game on Friday, with the winner of that game advancing to the eight-team Class 5A State Tournament.

“Barring upsets [in the Feb. 26 play-in round], it looks like it’s going to by Marist [on Friday],” Bracy said. “They’ve got a 6-5 kid that can play. He can score inside and he can shoot the 3. And they’ve got a couple of guards who are pretty good. If we play them, it’s going to be a tough game.”

Marist (11-11, 6-4) is ranked 12th, and the Spartans finished league play tied for second place — behind top-ranked Churchill (20-4, 10-0) — in the Midwestern Conference.

Hard luck

to the end

The hard luck continued for Rex Putnam last week, as the Kingsmen dropped a couple of close, losing to Wilsonville (50-47) and Liberty (56-44).

The Kingsmen had a tough time containing Liberty post Aaron Holman on Feb. 19, as the 6-4 senior scored a game-high 23 points in a 56-44 Falcon victory over Putnam.

The Falcons built a 27-20 lead in the first half and the Kingsmen were fighting an uphill battle the rest of the way.

Nursing a 6-point lead to start the fourth quarter, the Falcons hit four 3-pointers in the final period to put the game on ice.

Throstur Kristensson and Bryant Brown scored 13 and 11 points respectively to lead the Kingsmen in the losing effort.

Wilsonville 6-1 senior wing Ryan Walsh hit a contested 3-pointer just inside the final buzzer to gain the Wildcats their 50-47 victory over Putnam.

Devin Hager led the Kingsmen attack with 18 points.

Putnam finished the season with a 3-11 record in the NWOC and an overall record of 3-19.

Putnam assistant coach Preston Martin commented on the Wilsonville game and on the season:

“The team played hard on senior night. We were really proud of how hard they played, even though we did not have as good a season as we had hoped....

“We’ll miss our seniors — Kolleh Mitchell, Devin Hager, Bryant Brown, Nolan McCarthy, Kenny Helmes and Throstur Kristensson. They were a great group of kids that played hard to the end. Mitchell and Hager really took on a leadership role the last half of the year for us, and in this game.”

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