By Jeremy McDonald
SHERIDAN, Ore.– Kennedy had a plan for Sheridan’s shooters: Give them nothing easy.
They were inspired by their loss Friday to Chemawa and though they gave up seven early, first half fouls in their 63-44 win over the Spartans, the Trojans smothered Sheridan’s shooters and relied on their shooters in Luke Hall and Bruce Beyer as they built a 25-13 lead entering halftime.
This felt like Kennedy was hitting their mid-season stride in their seventh game of the Tri-River Conference game with their 19-7 run to end the first half. They seemed like their 70-68 overtime to the Braves were their eye-opener they needed to re-ignite their fire with the first loop through league wrapping up this week.
“We felt like we had to come out, we lost a close one against Chemawa. We didn’t feel like we played as aggressively as we needed too (Friday), so we came out here and we saw that they were number-five in the state and we wanted to prove that we were better,” said Beyer, who had nine points in the game. “We think that we’re as good as anybody, so that’s what we did.”
Beyers had three three-pointers in the game, two coming in the second quarter. Hall finished 17 for Kennedy.
Chris Savoldi scored the first four points of the second half to get Sheridan to within eight 25-17. But, that would be as close as the Spartans would get as Kennedy turned on the burners once more and pushed their lead to 41-21 entering the fourth quarter after Savoldi’s four point swing at the start of the frame.
There was a weird feeling that this wasn’t the same Spartans squad that they, or their fans, grew accustomed too during their 12-2 start to the season or even the same team they saw Friday versus Western Christian.
The defense paid their dues, but on the offensive side the rock just wasn’t falling for Sheridan through the twine and you got a sense that it wore down the confidence of the Spartans by the second half. Like the Trojans with Chemawa, Monday’s game could possibly be their big eye-opener to remind them that they are human as well.
“Just everyone, everyone just got complacent since we’ve won a lot of games early on that now we’re the top dog. But that didn’t show tonight,” said Savoldi, who had 25 points in the defeat. “It boils me up…Kennedy’s a good team, but how do we lose by 25, 30 to Kennedy but hold a nine-point loss to Western? It drives me nuts but the kids will pick it up, I’m not too worried about it. It stinks but we need to focus up on another tough game.”
Both teams have a tough challenge to close out the first loop of league once more. The Trojans travel to face Western Christian while Sheridan travels out to Mill City to play Santiam.