By Jeremy McDonald
MOLALLA, Ore.– Energy was high for Western Mennonite Monday night on the road versus Molalla.
So high in a matter of fact, the Pioneers found themselves up 20-0 as Payton Richardson had half those points by himself barely two-and-a-half minutes into the game as Western Mennonite led 26-6 and 43-17 by halftime.
Their defense, didn’t allow the Indians to get their first field goal until the 4:15 mark of the opening quarter from a three-pointer.
“In practice, we always running. Coaches always have energy, heart,” said Richardson who finished with 17 points in the win. “Our assistant coach, he brings all the energy everyday, in classes and in practice. So we take their energy onto the court.”18
“We’re all best friends, so we have a lot of fun playing basketball. Every game is another opportunity to go out and have some fun,” adds Johnny Williams who added another 16 in the game. That’s where we get our energy, from each other.”
With wins of 61-41, 93-42, 91-68 and the closest win of the season of the year being at Creswell last Tuesday (49-34), the bench also saw equal opportunities to play as they did Monday; flying around and having fun as much as the starters were during the first quarter.
Cade Nofziger added another 11 points to Jayce Roth’s six off the bench with four Pioneers in double-figures with Alex Nicoli’s 13 representing the fourth and final double-figures.
And as the 2A, roughly 125-student body Western Mennonite defeated the 4A, 551-student body of Molalla 81-33, they didn’t forget what the seniors before them that helped them lead them to a third-place finish in Pendleton back in February on the heels of their third-place finish in 2016 as they look for yet another push for the 2A State Title this season.
“It all started last year and the year before,” said Williams from the lessons from last year to start this season. “We had good seniors last year and Simeon Hess is one of them, he really instilled that hard work and we all saw him do it,” “We’ll just build from last year, we’re pretty much the same team besides losing him and a couple other guys.
“So we’ll build off from last year and we’re doing pretty good right now, so it’s really good.”
The Pioneers will look to match last season’s 6-0 start Wednesday at home versus Toledo, tip-off is at 6:45pm.
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Photos By Jeremy McDonald