The Indians can't take care of the ball, or put a stop to the scoring skills of Lion seniors Corey West and Tanner Long.

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Senior post Corey West goes up for two of his game-high 21 points during the first half of St. Helens' 62-49 victory over visiting Scappoose on Thursday evening. For the second straight year, the Lions walk away with the proverbial seven-mile trophy. Behind solid defense and big games from senior guard Tanner Long and senior forward Corey West, St. Helens (1-0) frustrated visiting rival Scappoose (0-2) into 28 turnovers, making for easy pickings on the offensive end. Long and West combined for 39 points as the Lions were able to hold on to their lead, and cruised to a 62-49 victory.

The senior duo did all the scoring early on, putting up all 17 of St. Helens' 17 first-quarter points. Long didn't score in the second quarter, but a trey in the third and a team-high five points in the fourth quarter were enough to keep Scappoose at bay.

Midway through the third quarter, the Indians found themselves down by nearly 20 points, struggling to stop the inside presence of West, who scored eight of his game-high 21 points just after the halftime break. That's just when junior guard Jacob Wendelschafer started to heat up.

Scappoose hadn't been able to get anything anything rolling in the quarter, hitting just three field goals and watching as St. Helens extended their lead. Wendelschafer was the last to get into the party, finally hitting for just the eighth point of the quarter, but a few moment later he scored again, and with only a few seconds left in the period, the Lions fumbled the ball out of bounds.

Wendelschafer took the inbounds pass across the half court line, but stumbled, only nabbing the ball with enough time for a desperation three-pointer at the third-quarter buzzer... but it went in.

“I was hoping,” said Tribe head coach Rahim Tufts, “that shot would give us some momentum.”

by: JOHN WILLIAM HOWARD - Tribe senior Taylor Loss gets his shot swatted on his way to the basket. Scappoose had a hard time dealing with the pressure from St. Helens, and couldn't manage much offense in the 62-49 loss. It didn't. Though Scappoose was able to claw within eleven points, they weren't ever able to knock on the door. Junior post Chase Johnson had big buckets back to back, part of his 12 points on the night, but the Indians weren't able to make a run. St. Helens guard Gage Bumgardner scored a late bucket to cement the final score, and the Lions were able to hold on to the ball as the buzzer sounded.

Afterward, a red-faced, but gleeful Long was pleased with the win, and not just because of his stat-sheet filler of a game. The 18 points paled in comparison to being able to beat out rival – but good friend – Taylor Loss.

Earlier in the day, the pair went back and fourth on twitter, Loss poking at Long and asking whether the Lions would be ready, given all their time off. Given the cyber-sparring, the victory had some extra spice for Long.

“He was my best friend when he went to St. Helens and playing against hims now creates such a competition,” said Long. “Against Taylor, that just motivated me to keep playing, keep playing hard, cause I knew he was a good player for us and I didn't want him to think he was better since he went to Scappoose.”

Long smiled and looked at the scoreboard on the wall above him.

“Tonight's score showed that,” he said.

It's all in good fun, just a hard-nosed battle between buddies and an exciting way to start the season for the Lions, but St. Helens head coach Jerry Allen was glad to get the contest in the books.

“The kids live so close, they want to play against each other,” said Allen. “And you don't get to execute very much when you play against a rival for the first game, so I'm glad that one's done. I'm glad we got that one out of the way.”

Allen said the rivalry and the rowdiness of the fans helps to get the team ready for playing in pressure situations, and that he was pleased with the effort from West and Long.

“Corey, I've been talking to him about stepping up and being a leader, and he did that,” said Allen. “Tanner, I've been talking to him about shot selection and making good decisions with the ball. There are still some things he needs to work on … We did some good things and we did some really foolish things as well, but over all I'm happy with the way that he played.”

Scappoose head coach Rahim Tufts wasn't so jubilant. Soft spoken and hesitant after leaving the locker room, Tufts apologized for being slightly emotional midway through answering post game questions.

“They were just getting in our grill, and we were trying to dance too much with the ball,” he said. “We should make one move and go, and we're not. When we got trapped, We just did not handle it well.”

Tufts lamented over the mistake-riddled first half, where the Indians gave up 17 turnovers and struggled to string points together. When they did things right and played tough, he said, they were able to get layups.

“I think we should be further along,” said Tufts. “I know we got five days off in a row, but I was just upset with our decision making and our toughness. And that's just effort. That's not execution, just effort.”

Scappoose won't have any time to dwell on the loss, as they pack their things and travel to Wilsonville for another tough test tomorrow evening. Because they'll have to skip practice, Tufts will only have his words and a quick shoot around before the game to make an impact on the team.

“Hopefully, this is a learning experience and they realize 'ok, I can't do what I did last night,'” Tufts said. “It's a mental thing. It's so much more mental than physical …There's nothing to be afraid of, it's just basketball, but we're playing scared.”

St. Helens will be on the road as well, traveling to the Dalles on Friday evening and looking to start the year 2-0. The Lions will return home to host Franklin on Dec. 20 at 7:15 p.m.


St. Helens 62, Scappoose 49

SCP – 9 13 13 14 – 49

SHL – 17 14 18 13 – 62

Scappoose – Wendelschafer 15, Johnson 12, Davis 6, Marcantonio 6, McNabb 5, Scruggs 4, Ford 2, Loss 1

St. Helens – West 21, Long 18, Bumgardner 7, Enyart 5, Jewett 4, Poorrman 3, Galvin 2

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