By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.– Regis didn’t back away from West Salem in the Capitol City Classic opening round Friday night.
The Rams didn’t care that the Titans were 6A and they were 2A, they didn’t care that they were the defending Tournament Champions, Regis was ready to show that they were ready for the challenge and show why they finished fourth in 2A last season.
West Salem built a 12-9 lead, the Rams tied it up and pulled ahead of the Titans in the second quarter. Holding leads of 21-18 and 27-24 before West Salem started to find their groove. Building a 31-27 lead before the small school squad from Stayton knotted it up at 31.
Not bad for a school with a little more than a hundred kids going up against a school of over 1,000.
“It was really good, I think that first half just showed that even if we’re a small school against a big school, we can still stay up with them and keep up with them,” said Regis’ Diego Aguilar. “We had a lot more energy (in the first half), a lot better defense. We had a few mistakes, but when the mistakes increased in the second half, that kind of killed us.”
West Salem started their separation going into the halftime break from the Stayton-based school. Using a 5-0 run to close out the first half from that point gave the Titans momentum going into the third quarter as West Salem pushed their lead 44-32 three minutes into the second half. Taking advantage of the opportunities that the Rams were giving them across the board as they led 55-39 by the end of the third quarter. Using that momentum to help give the squad their first win of the year following dropping their first four to start the season.
“Regis was really scrappy and was driving on us early, I wasn’t there mentally in the first half and we got it together at halftime. We finally put together as a team and had a great third quarter. We got it together, got the bench players in and they filled their role,” the Titans Jackson Leach said. “(The win) was great, it gives us a ton of momentum going into the rest of the season, we’ve played a couple of great teams early in the season. Great experience for us, battling with them. It’s hard without Trent (Ferguson), but it’s great to build up the momentum going on for the rest of the tournament.”
Leach and Phillip Goodrich each led the Titans with 15 points. Leach led the team with seven rebounds and he and Matthew Luke each had four assists in the win as the defending CCC Tournament Champions await the winner of Silverton-Wilsonville, who play Saturday, to play on Monday.
For Regis, Aguilar and Isaiah Koehnke each went for 22 points, will look to regroup and respond on Monday as they’ll face the loser of Wilsonville-Silverton in the consolation bracket on Monday afternoon.
“We just got to keep our heads up if a few plays don’t go our way. I think a few of us, myself included, got down on ourselves and that just started the madness. We just keep our heads up and keep moving,” Aguilar said. “I think it’ll be good, we’ll come in pissed off a little bit that we lost this game tonight. Keep it in the back of our heads and we really want to get the win.”
Photos By Jeremy McDonald