Pats use balance, depth to defeat Jeeps



LINCOLN CITY — Northeast Dubois coach Terry Friedman had a simple framework for his team going into Saturday night’s game against Heritage Hills: go right at the bigger team from the start and live with whatever happens.

“We came out in the first quarter and knocked them in the mouth,” he said. “That’s what we said we were going to do and we did that.”

However, the Patriots were able to take that initial flurry, and once they settled in they used their size, speed, and depth to overwhelm the Jeeps on the way to a 78-39 victory in Lincoln City.

Heritage Hills coach Nate Hawkins was happy to see his team overcome a slow start and use their effort on defense to steady themselves so they could get into a smooth rhythm as the game went on.

“We didn’t start the way that we wanted to. We came out just kind of going through the motions a little bit,” he said. “But our kids made the adjustments they needed to take care of (it). We cleaned up our defense and we were able to turn them over a little bit and get some easy buckets. I was very proud of them.”

The Patriots (2-0) went to the full-court press early hoping to harass and bully the smaller Jeeps (2-1) before they had a chance to set up their offense. But the paint was open for attack, and when the Jeeps were able to shake off their defenders they used multiple cuts and passes to make their way into the paint. Northeast Dubois senior guard Logan Dodd was particularly effective, putting up six points in the first quarter.

But the lane was just as open for the Patriots who were able to get good opportunities as the rack, but couldn’t get the ball to fall graciously on a lot of their initial shots. The layups did start to fall with some consistency a little past the midpoint of the first quarter, and the game turned into a night at the racetrack with both teams trading layups. Heritage Hills was able to come out with the slight 15-12 edge going into the second quarter.

The game became more perimeter oriented in the second frame. Senior guard Carson Leibering hit an early three in the midst of an 11-4 run for the Pats and the Jeeps started taking their shots from long range to keep up. Meanwhile junior guard Murray Becher and sophomore forward Blake Sisley started to heat up and combined for 12 points in the quarter.

Sisley had a stand out play where he was able to get a putback dunk after a missed layup attempt which put Heritage Hills up 28-16 and sent a jolt through the fans in attendance. The Pats closed the second with Scherry stroking a three which was followed by a steal for Becher which led to an easy fastbreak basket. Dodd was able to hit a three for the Jeeps as time expired, but Heritage Hills outscored Northeast Dubois 22-9 and took a 37-21 lead into the locker room at halftime.

The Pats came out with urgency in the third as they didn’t want to lose the momentum they had built in the second quarter. Scherry was able to get a steal early and turned it into a baseline jumper on the other end. Next, he jumped the passing lane once again and found Becher in transition for the breakaway layup.

Dodd and junior guard Reece Bauer were doing what they could to spark some offense for the Jeeps, but the Pats were putting up walls every time they drove inside and denied the Jeeps second chance opportunities with their rebounding. On the other end, Becher used his slashing skills to find eight more points and junior guard Cole Sigler took advantage of a couple open looks to nail back-to-back threes for the Pats during a 12-4 run. Sisley was able to get it going from all over the floor, hitting a long jump shot on one play, and putting down another dunk later on to cap a 20-8 Heritage Hills run.

The Patriots were up 61-31 going into the fourth and built on that lead with a 9-0 run to start things off. Scherry once again put his mark on the game with consecutive big plays for Big Blue, first with a three-pointer then another steal in transition which he threw down for a dunk on the other end to cap the run. Sophomore small forward Lane Knies was able to put in a jumper to stop the bleeding for the Jeeps, but the damage was done. Both teams pulled their starters with a little over four minutes left and the Patriots went on to finish the game, 78-39.

Becher led all scorers with 20 points, Scherry had 16, Sisley finished with 15, and Sigler added 11.

“We played really well together as a team,” said Becher. “We spread it out, shared the ball well and really rebounded the ball well.”

“It was another quality team win,” added Sisley. “Everyone did their role. It started off a bit slow, we got a feel for it and got it together.”

Dodd had 11 points to lead the Jeeps while Bauer finished with 10.

“We played to the best of our abilities,” said Dodd. “Heritage Hills is a really good team, we knew that coming in. We were trying to just hang with them and we did pretty good that first quarter. After that it went downhill, but we came out and stuck with them for awhile.”

Friedman was proud of the effort he saw from his boys and chalked up the game as one of those losses that you acknowledge, but quickly put it behind you as the season marches on. It’s early yet and the team will get better.

“We came out and controlled the first quarter and did what we wanted to do, we just weren’t able to sustain it tonight,” he said. “You got a short-term memory, you have to put this behind you. Look at some of the tape and see some of the things we really need to work on. You credit Heritage Hills for being a well-coached team. They had a great night.”

Hawkins said in the beginning of the season that the Patriots bench would be one of their biggest weapons during the season and the team demonstrated that element on Saturday night, outscoring the Jeeps bench 18-10.

“Their goal is to come in and make a positive impact for this basketball team,” he said. “I feel really good about where our bench is at, to be able to trust your bench and go to guys and not drop off a whole lot is huge.”

Hawkins wants to tune up the team’s helpside defense, but his biggest concern lays with the team’s mental focus the start of the game. He wants to keep slow starts from becoming a habit for the team and wants to see them put it on their opponents early instead of just waiting to finish strong.

“We’ve got to be better early,” he said, “We’ve got to follow along with scouting reports. Our mindset needs to be a little bit better, we want to be great for four quarters.”

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