Two Gorge-area teams competed in OSAA Class 1A boys basketball first-round, state playoff games Wednesday and one advanced to the Feb. 25 second round.
The No. 6-ranked South Wasco County High Redsides (25-2) recorded a come-from-behind overtime win at home 58-54 over the Days Creek High Wolves (13-14) at South Wasco High in Maupin. The Sherman County High Huskies (14-13) suffered a season-ending 95-65 loss to the No. 2 ranked Nixyaawii High Golden Eagles (26-2) at Nixyaawii High School.
The Redsides, guided by Coach Jim Hull, advanced to play a second-round matchup Saturday tentatively schedule for 2 p.m. at home against the No. 11 Union High Bobcats (23-5). Saturday’s winner qualifies for the state tournament quarterfinals March 1-4 in Baker City. A Redsides’ win Saturday would mark their 40th straight home win overlapping the past four seasons.
“We survived another close game that was tough matchup,” said Hull. “Sometimes, like we did today, we struggle to score, and we only had two three-pointers,” said Hull. “We’ve learned and we scrap to make something happen and we played good defense down the stretch. We got some steals and turned those into transition points late in the game. Luckily, we’re able to have Ian Ongers and Joey Holloway help lead our offense and they both made some big shots near the end of the game. I’m happy with what we accomplished and now we’ll play Union and they’re a good team with some pretty good players.”
The Redsides fell behind 12-9 after the first quarter and they were down 26-20 at halftime. South Wasco, which has Class 1A’s second-ranked offense (75.4 points per game average), turned things around in the second half, led by Big Sky League Player-of-the-Year Ian Ongers (32 points).
The Redsides outscored the Wolves 15-6 in the third to take a 35-32 lead. The game was tied 50-50 at the conclusion of regulation play, but South Wasco outscored Days Creek 8-4 in overtime to pull out the victory.
Joey Holloway (17 points), James Best (four points, nine assists), Storm McCoy (two points, six rebounds, seven steals) and George Barnett (three points) contributed points for the Redsides.
Sherman, guided by Coach Gary Lewis, allowed the highest point total for any game this year in the loss to Nixyaawii. Lewis concluded a seven-year coaching career at Sherman, and it marked his final game; he is retiring. It also marked the final game of their Husky basketball careers of seniors Cade von Borstel, Kole Martin, Josiah Carlson, Ed Rubio and Logan Barrett.
“They (Eagles) are a really good team, and they have a very solid offense (ranked No. 1 at 75.7 points per game average),” said Lewis. “We did pretty good offensively, but we just couldn’t stop them on defense. Unfortunately, it was easily our worst defensive performance all season. However, they (Eagles) have a lot of offensive weapons. They can drive, they can shoot and they’re a very athletic team. We had a good year though with a good group of kids who really accomplished a lot. We exceeded the goals that we had at the beginning of the season. I’m just real proud of the effort that these kids put in all year in helping us reach the state playoffs.”