SISTERS — Zach Anderson jumped out to the 3-point line to block a Philomath shot with 17 seconds remaining in Tuesday night’s game.
It was the last of a series of strong defensive plays for Sisters as the Outlaws held the Warriors to a season low for points in a 45-41 Oregon West Conference victory.
“We pride ourselves on that end of the court,” Sisters coach Rand Runco said of his team’s defense. “We think we can do that every night and bring that every night. I thought we made some execution errors early but we did a few things better. We ground. We knew their personnel pretty well. I thought our kids bought into the game plan completely. It was a good battle.”
The Outlaws faced Philomath just a month ago, falling to the Warriors by seven points in the South Coast Les Schwab Tournament at Marshfield High School.
“We led a lot of that first game,” Runco said. “They’re a good team. They’ve got everything. They’re very physical and I thought we played about 29 minutes the first time we played them, and I felt like this time we played 32. That was really the goal. We were going to make mistakes but complete the game.”
Ryan Waddell tied the game for Sisters at 8-8 on a 3-pointer with 3:47 remaining in the first quarter. A Jack Berg putback gave Sisters a 10-8 lead on the next possession and the Outlaws never trailed again.
A 10-1 run at the end of the second quarter and into the third turned a narrow 21-20 Sisters’ lead to 31-21 at the 3:05 mark.
Philomath got within a point, 40-39, with 2:50 remaining in the game. Sisters held the Warriors to just two free throws in the rest of the contest.
“We really made an effort to take away the paint as much as we could,” Runco said. “They still got there too much but I thought that we did a better job of taking away their drive. We noticed that a third of their points came in transition so we really focused on getting back and staying in front of them.”
Offensively, Noah Richards scored 16 points to lead Sisters. Waddell added 11 points.
“We like to value every possession a lot,” Waddell said. “Our motto (on defense) is one contested shot and after that shot we get the board or we make it tough on them.”
Philomath (1-3 OWC, 9-6 overall) entered Tuesday’s game No. 7 in OSAA’s 4A boys basketball power rankings.
No. 15 Sisters (3-1, 10-6) plays at No. 5 Stayton Friday.
“In our league, every night is like this,” Runco said. “This league is so tight. Taking care of home is really important to keep ourselves in the top of the pack.”
— Reporter: 541-383-0307, email@example.com