By Jeremy McDonald
SCAPPOOSE, Ore.– A lot has happen to the young upstart Boys Basketball team at North Marion High School since their opener versus Tillamook on December 1:
Following that nine-point loss on opening night, the Huskies defeated Valley Catholic last week and battled a Scappoose-foe that they know all too well from the 2015 State Title game to squeeze out a 69-62 win to go 2-1 on the season.
Senior Tanner Scanlan admitted on that night versus the Cheesemakers that his team is young and needs some time, and after their win Monday night, he’s liking what he is seeing from the team to this point.
“A ton,” Scanlan said of the improvement of his team between Game one and three. “We’ve grown up so fast, I mean especially with the younger guys making great decisions on where the ball needs to be and just making smart plays all over the place.
“I’ve been really happy with how they’ve grown up and how they got used to the speed of the game.”
Scanlan would prove to be an important factor in the second half with 13 of his 16 points coming in the second frame, but it was a different person who got the ball rolling from the tip.
Standing six-foot-eight, junior Trevor Ensign used every inch and athleticism to get the momentum in favor of North as they built an 11-point lead entering the second quarter with nine points coming from Ensign.
“I was just feeling good,” Ensign said. “I was playing good and my teammates were there to take that feeling and we just kind of put it together and managed to make it work and keep it up.”
But, Ensign would miss a majority of the second quarter with a gash on his head, and the Indians took full advantage of the hole left by Ensign as they turned that deficit into a four-point lead in the third.
By this point, Ensign came back into the game with a head band covering the gash, similar to Rick Hamilton with the mask when he broke his nose with the Detroit Pistons, and found his groove once more, contributing four more points as him and Hunter Martin set up Scanlan and company on the perimeter as they battled Scappoose down to the wire.
Literally, to the wire.
Coaches preach free throws wins games, and when the game enter it’s twilight, it came down to that as Scanlan hit two.
“Extremely,” Scanlan said of the free throws. “I mean that’s what we work on every day in practice…We all have to hit ‘Pressure Free Throws’ before we end practice so what we do in practice translates into games so tonight it really paid off.”
The Huskies hit eight-of-ten free throws down the stretch, five-for-five coming from Martin as they hang on to win the game to piece together a two-game winning streak entering their home tournament Thursday evening in Aurora.
“It’s always hard to string some of these wins together,” said Ensign.“But during practice, we’ve come together, we work hard and we put in a lot of effort on-and-off the court to become a more mental and physical basketball player.”
As for the junior, he was going on his way to do something just as hard: Stitches for the gash he got in the second quarter.
“I mean it’s a little sore, I’m going to get stitches pretty soon. But I’ll be alright,” he said with a smile.
Maybe he’ll channel his inner Rick Hamilton when he heals up and continue to wear the headband after his performance Monday. We’ll see!
HUSKIE SCORERS- Scanlan-16. Ensign-13. Martin-12.Henry, Grant-10. Henry, Griffin-8. Synder-6. Lemon-4
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