Sailors show improvement despite loss to Powers

Mapleton senior Dominic Wells (above) scored a double-double against Powers — Ned Hickson/Siuslaw News

MHS: 35  PHS: 50


The Sailors came out strong Thursday night at home against Powers, battling the Cruisers in a tug of war that didn’t slip away from Mapleton until midway through the third period.

“I was pleased with our defensive effort the entire game,” said Eric Wolgamott, now in his first year as head coach. “They did everything I asked them to do on the defensive end of the ball. They were aggressive and put the pressure on Powers all night long.”

Though the Cruisers went on a 6-2 run early in the game, Mapleton came back to tie things up at 6-6 with shooting from freshman JJ Neece and sophomore Nate Neece at the high post.

Powers countered with a 3-pointer, but a steal from Nate Neece and feed to junior Evan Moso kept Mapleton within 1 point until the final 10 seconds, when Powers managed a steal and fastbreak lay-up for a 12-8 lead at the buzzer.

The Sailors were able to hold Powers to just 9 points in the second quarter — or 20 points for the entire first half — thanks to their aggressive and high-pressure defense.

But offensively, though the Sailors were able to get get looks at the basket, scoring came in a series of hits and misses.

“I was happy with our patience on the offensive side, and we were able to rotate the ball well and not give up as many turnovers,” said Wolgamott. “We were getting open shots but just couldn’t sink them.”

Freshman Trysten Waggoner got his first varsity start Thursday night, providing the Sailors with solid ball movement and well-executed initiation of the offense.

“He has a calm demeanor for a freshman and did a good job for us,” said Wolgamott.

Down 15-20 entering the third quarter, the Sailors’ aggressive defense resulted in foul troubles, sending Powers to the charity line for 8 points during a 15-9 run that included a pair of 3-pointers.

Junior post Gabe Simington rotated in and provided good rebounding that translated into more possessions for Mapleton, along with senior Dominic Wells, who had a double-double in spite of being out sick with the flu all week.

Freethrows for the Cruisers was a deciding factor in the final period as Powers won it going away, 50-35.

Wells had 10 points and 10 rebounds; Nate Neece had 8 points and 8 boards, along with 3 steals to lead the Sailors.

“We just couldn’t muster enough offense to counter their outside shooting,” said Wolgamott. “Our full-court press caused turnovers throughout the game, but we just couldn’t quite capitalize on those opportunities.”

The Sailors will return to the hardwood on Friday, Dec. 29, when they host Yoncalla.

Tip-off is at 4:30 p.m.

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