Molalla overcomes a double-digit deficit in the first half to beat the Estacada boys

It looked like Estacada’s boys had bested Molalla early in their first league game of the season on Tuesday. Then, in a fourth quarter comeback, Molalla cleaned up and got the lead.

Estacada built a 12-4 lead at the end of the first quarter and quickly extended the margin on a 3-pointer by Willie Blankenship to start the second. The Rangers took a 13-point lead into the halftime locker room.

But Estacada hit a wall after the break.

Austin Alexander sank a two-point basket, which Tyler Gengler followed up with a bucket. Carson Wolfe dropped in a basket and got points at the foul line. The Indians closed Estacada’s lead to 35-27 by the end of the third.

Molalla came out in the fourth with confidence and determination, as Tyler Gengler nabbed a steal in the opening seconds and drove down court for the layup. Jonathon Gengler, Tyler’s younger brother, then sank two from the foul line, and what had looked like a sure win for Estacada in the first half began to wobble.

From the sideline, Coach Tyler Kelleher guided the Indians, encouraging them to slow down, take time setting up their shots, and control the ball with confidence.

Tyler Gengler did just that, cashing in on a 3 that tied the game at 39-39.

The Rangers broke the tie, with Mitch Nation sinking a foul shot, but Estacada didn’t hold the lead for long. Reed Aylett put the Indians up by one point with a two-point basket.

A 3-pointer by Tyler Gengler expanded the Indians margin to 44-40.

Estacada slugged right back with a two pointer, but after a foul put the lead back to three points, the Rangers missed on back-to-back attempts from beyond the arc.

Blankenship and Nation paced the Rangers with 10 points apiece.

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