By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Neil Efimov was a whole other level for Silverton Friday night against Sprague on the road.
He led the game with a game-high 31 points, hit on seven three-pointers and the Foxes needed a spark in some fashion in their 59-43 victory over the Olympians with Sprague right on their heels after the first quarter.
Feeding off of the energy that everyone had. It felt like they couldn’t miss whenever they got a hand on the ball.
“First off, everyone’s energy was up. We ran the court well, there were a few moments where we were a little slower but we kept running the floor, pushing the ball and we just got it,” Efimov said. “Everyone was doing their part and everything.”
Their fast-start to the game in the first quarter stunned Sprague, Silverton led 16-8 entering the second quarter. The Olys hung around however, managing to keep it to ten and had a few glimpses of getting it to seven, eight, nine after their sluggish start to the game.
Sprague was down 30-20 at halftime and pulled to within eight going to the fourth quarter down 43-35. With a Sophomore and Junior-heavy team, it was a taste of the caliber of ball they hope they’ll get to by the end of the short-season and into the Winter season here in a few months.
“They come out and run hard the whole game,” Sprague’s Dallon Morgan said. “It’s something we’re not quite used to yet, but we’re going to get there. They shot the ball really well tonight and I think that’s where we need to be, play hard the whole time.”
Accounting for their shooters was a challenge they needed to step up to, Morgan said. Ball movement to the open shooter is what has made the Foxes so deadly through the years in 5A, making opponents like Sprague having to account for all five athletes on the court at all times.
“We have to be able to rotate super-fast and that’s what we didn’t do tonight. They had open shots and they made us pay,” Morgan said. “It all comes down to practice. Practice harder, moving harder. (Silverton) wanted it more than us and they went out and got it.”
The Foxes hit on 12 three’s in the game. Efimov had his, Isaac Semerikov had four as he finished with 12 points and Joseph Haugen contributed another.
And as their offense was clicking, the Silverton defense played clutch. Accounting for Morgan, who finished with a team-high 15 points for Sprague.
“Guarding (Morgan), six-nine…guarding him, look at him first and then the others. Shooters are really good, they kind of lit us up a little bit too. We just clogged up the paint a little bit, flew out on defense and got a hand up and we were good,” said Efimov of Morgan.
David Smith finished with nine points for the Olympians and Toby Fleming added another eight as Sprague (3-2) travels to Dallas on Tuesday. The Foxes (5-0) are at home hosting South Salem.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald