The Eagle Point basketball teams each went into their games against the Mazama High Vikings, boasting successful finishes at recent multi-day tournaments. Both the varsity Eagles, and the varsity Lady Eagles took first place in the Hometown Hardware Holiday Tournament, over South Umpqua, Myrtle Point, and Glide High schools. The Eagles finished fourth at the Wilsonville Invitational; while the Lady Eagles claimed a third place finish, at the Southern Oregon Subaru Christmas Classic.
At the EPHS home court on Wednesday, Jan. 2., the Lady Eagles suffered a 44 – 65 loss to Mazama, but the men’s team beat the Vikings by a score of 63 – 42.
The first half started in a good way for the Lady Eagles. After winning the tipoff, points from Casie Johnson, Sydney May, and a three-pointer from Adriene Wood put them ahead in the early minutes. They maintained a strong enough offense to keep the Lady Vikings at a reachable 4-point lead, until the beginning of the third quarter.
Paul Bell, head coach for the Lady Eagles, listed positives in the first two quarters. “Our first half was good. The girls came out, executed what we tried to do, did things well from the free throw line.”
But, Mazama opened up a lead at the start of the second half; and, here the execution faltered. The Lady Eagles seemed to lose their momentum, and soon the spread was too much to overcome. High-scorers for the Lady Eagles were Wood, and Johnson, both of whom dropped in 15 points apiece. Nine of Wood’s total points came from outside threes, and she also went two-for-two at the foul line. May got both of her attempted free throws as well, and scored 9 points in total.
Seeing how Mazama is only the second team to beat the Lady Eagles so far this season, coach Bell remained unshaken when looking forward to the rest of the week’s competition. “We’re not going to change much,” Bell said. “We’ve just got to get better at doing what we do.”
Adriene Wood and Cesar Chavez accomplished something in common this evening. Both closed out the third quarter, in their respective games, by nailing three-pointers at the buzzer. While Wood’s was a welcome sight, few things can put a crowd on their feet like Chavez’s swish from behind the half-court line, with zero left on the clock. It was impressive.
Head coach for the Eagles, Bryan Wood, explained that even though he appreciated the fancy buzzer-beater from one of his top players, his primary concern was the team’s performance as a whole.
“That was a great shot,” Wood said. “But, I’m more impressed with everybody’s defensive effort.”
The Eagles had no trouble controlling the speed and direction of this game, and the hard-fought defense was a major factor in the win. First points of the game happened shortly after tipoff, when Jorge Quintero picked the ball and broke away for an easy two. Points continued to collect on the Eagles’ side in much the same way for most of the game. Somebody would get a hand on the ball, give it to Chavez or Quintero, and a basket was soon to follow.
Not a single loose ball was treated lightly. Kyle Zerger, Justin Hartman, and David Barber were always in the mix to recover each one. Official rebound records were unavailable. But, by an unofficial count, Zerger led the Eagles in this department.
The scoreboard showed the Eagles ahead by fifteen at the close of the first quarter, and they kept at least a twenty-point lead in each of the remaining quarters. Chavez contributed a total 21 points, including two three-pointers. Quintero scored 20 points, with a triplet of threes from outside, and a three-for-five percentage at the foul line. Hartman brought in 6 points. Zerger made two-of-four attempted foul shots, and scored 4 points altogether.
Coach Wood gave a final comment on his intentions for challengers in the near future. “Our goal, our mindset, is to go out and run our stuff, and force our defense on their offense.”
And so, Eagle Point appears to be in good shape as they head into their upcoming home games, with teams from Weed and Lakeview.