By Jeremy McDonald
TIGARD, Ore.– Dayton turned up the heat right off the bat the second game of the season when they traveled to play Westside Christian Thursday.
It seemed as if the Pirates were already in mid-season form when they jumped out to a 20-9 first half lead, but that was before the Eagles brought up the chefs special of heat and pressure. Forcing a sound Dayton team into turnovers and pushed up court on a blazing pace as they quickly turned the 11-point deficit into a 36-30 lead going into the fourth.
Using their momentum to propel them to stay ahead of the Pirates squad who wasn’t going to go down without a fight. Making it a good one going to the fourth between the two juggernaut 3A programs.
Working more together as a team was what helped the Eagles get ahead in the Throwdown Thursday battle. Knowing that it’s just the start of a three-game tough stretch for the Westside Christian squad with Banks and Santiam Christian coming up next..
“Fighting together as a team. All of the teamwork we talked about in the locker room. We weren’t working together that first half and that’s what we need to work on,” the Eagles’ Jonah Jones said of the comeback. “It’s a big win, it shows us where we are and what we need to work on. We’ll see Banks on Saturday, it’ll be fun. A lot of teamwork and communication (to work on) mainly on defense. We don’t really call out helpside as you see them drive by.”
The early season fatigue began to sink in during the fourth quarter for Dayton, the wear-and-tear of the aggressive warfare allowed Westside to began to clamp down up 43-36 with 3:43 left in the contest. Knowing they’re starting a four-game stretch that only rivals the postseason, the Pirates know they can only learn during these early season battles to help raise their game and their ceiling as there’s a twinkle of hope there’ll be a rematch at some point down the road between these two 3A Titans.
“It’s great because it tests us on how good we can be and how much better we can be. Just slow the ball down, don’t turn the ball over and just keep cool. It’s good to challenge us because we need that, so that can raise our ceiling and it’ll be good. (Coach Ron Hop) knows how good we can be, we’re a good team and we can be a great team.”
Dayton will host De La Salle North Catholic Saturday, Salem Academy Monday and Oregon Episcopal next Thursday.
Hodges had nine points for Dayton with Michael Freeborn leading the Pirates with 12. Jones had nine points as well for Westside Christian with Colby Ackerman leading the Eagles with 11 points in the win.
Photos By Jeremy McDonald