Huskies Hold Off Stayton To Open OWC Play

By Jeremy McDonald

jeremymcdonald73@gmail.com

AURORA, Ore.–  The North Marion Boys Basketball team made some noise in their first Oregon West Conference game since the 2017-18 season, taking down Stayton 64-56.

They started their move in the second quarter, leading 38-30 at the half and really turned on the heat in the third quarter as they led as much as 18 with 5:25 left in the frame.

It was 51-33 at that point.  Noteworthy as the Eagles called North Marion’s bluff, eventually making it a 58-50 game by the 5:05 left in the game.  And the Huskies rose to the occasion behind their defense with the Stayton defense clutching themselves as well.

The spread remained around that eight-to-ten spread as neither team could cut into the deficit or expand the lead in the packed, tight gym at North Marion High School.

“Just the togetherness of this team, we just don’t give up.  We’re an exciting group and we’ve been down big in games before and we came back.  It’s just another game for us, we have a whole other half to play and that was our mentality going in and we were able to fight back,” Gavin Berning said.

Staying cool as a cucumber was cruical, especially when the lead was down to seven with 1:50 left in the game.  The Huskies got a shot up after a barrage of pressure by the Stayton defense, the shot missed and rebounded by the Eagles, who took it down court and laid it in to make it a 61-56 game with 50 seconds left.

Stayton rallied from 51-33 down to make it a 61-56 contest with 50 seconds left in the game (Picture By Jeremy McDonald)

The intensity was there.  This is what you’d hope for with league play here now.  Packed crowd, game on the line, playoff feel to the contest.  It’s going to be like this every game in the Oregon West Conference, and once more Friday that it’s one of the primer conference in the State at any Classification.

“It’s awesome because that’s what it’s going to be every single game in this league.  It’s going to be fight, fight, fight until the final minute.  They tried to make a comeback, but we have that fight in us and it”s going to be like that everyday in league,” starts North Marion’s Carter Reilly.  “You got to be able to close out against a good team like Stayton and to be able to do that is amazing and it’s going to get us far every single game against teams in our league.” 

 And in crunch time, the Huskies didn’t faltered as free throws by Cole Hammack followed as Stayton had to foul in hopes to create more possessions for themselves down the stretch.  The sophomore in Hammack and Reilly hit three of four down the stretch to help seal the win.

“We needed to get this first win to kick off league and just trying to keep going,” Hammack said.  “It was a great crowd, great game and great work by our teammates.  We knew the game plan and we just executed well.  We were talking about it at halftime, the game is going to be won in the first four minutes of the third quarter and we knew that we had to come out hot and ready to go.”

Callsen finished with 20 points for the Eagles, Aguilar had 14, Berning added 11 for Stayton, who will host Cascade Tuesday night.  A game like Friday’s was a good eye-opener sure, but it was a good appetizer to the main course of league ahead as they look to bounce back against their rival back home.

“Our league is tough, we got a bunch of good teams.  We got punched in the mouth today, but we got to get back to it and get back to work Monday and get ready for Cascade because they’re not going to be easy,” Berning said.  “Everyone is kind of banged up right now,so we’re going to get a little bit of rest, get back to work and put this game behind us moving forward because that’s all we can do.”

Hammack led North Marion with 21.  Dawson Schrenk added another 20 and Reece Hartenstein had 12, all in the second quarter with the Huskies putting their seven-game winning streak to the test Tuesday when they travel to play Philomath.

Photos By Jeremy McDonald

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