Jan. 25, 2023 (Mapleton) - After losing seven of their last eight games, the Mapleton boys basketball team arrived in Crow on Jan. 17 with the knowledge they’d need to turn things around quick. The Mountain West League sends four teams to the OSAA State Championships and, before the game against the Cougars, the Sailors were on the outside looking in.
The game went back and forth as Mapleton did not appear bothered by the hostile crowd, with a 17-17 tie to end the third quarter.
The teams traded baskets to start the final period, then Cougar center Edgar Martinez hit a 3-point shot to give the home team a 22-19 lead. Mapleton junior Bryan Burnett immediately answered with a 3-pointer of his own to tie it at 22.
After a stellar defensive stop, the Sailors nabbed a steal — which junior Keevyn Walker took to the basket for a score and 24-22 Mapleton lead.
Coach Eric Wolgamott called a timeout and set up his defense.
“We put Don Stewart on their best player,” said Wolgamott. “He did a great job being right there whenever #11 (Crow’s Martinez) caught the ball, not letting him drive and get that shot up.”
The Sailors stopped the Cougars on the ensuing possession to take home the victory.
Sophomore Dom Stewart dominated the backboard, pulling down numerous offensive rebounds, some of which he put back for scores. He led the Sailors with 8 points.
Walker was next in scoring for Mapleton with 6 points, followed by senior Tristan Stewart with 5.
Martinez had a game high 13 points for the Cougars.
After one day off, the Sailors traveled to the Eagles’ Nest in Eddyville — a place that has presented a challenge for the Sailors the last few years.
“I had not won at Eddyville since I started coaching at Mapleton,” said Wolgamott.
This year was different from the past. The Sailors took a lead early and withstood the runs of the home team.
“We got up a little bit over 20 points and we were kind of able to keep that,” recalled Wolgamott. “Eddyville made a few charges, had a few runs, but never really got within 15 points. We were still able to run what we wanted to run, execute at our pace. We did a good job.”
Walker was the leading scorer for MHS with 23 points. Tristan Stewart was next with 10.
Wolgamott also highlighted the play of two other Sailors.
We had Bryan [Burnett] take on Eddyville’s best player,” said Wolgamott. “He did a phenomenal job. The rest of the team zoned while he manned, and I have never seen him play defense like that before.”
A particular play by freshman Jacob Burchell also impressed the coach.
“Jacob had the ball wide open on the wing,” recalled Wolgamott. He could have shot, and no one would have been upset. Instead, he made that extra pass when the defense started to charge out on him. He made a beautiful entry pass … a bounce pass download to Dom that created a wide-open lay-in. Decision making like that by a freshman — I really want to praise him for that.”
With the two wins, the Sailors (5-3 league, 6-8 overall) are in prime position for a postseason berth. As of press deadlines they sit in fourth place with a 1.5-game lead over fifth-place Siletz Valley.
The Sailors will play the remainder of their league schedule at home, starting when they hosted McKenzie on Tuesday (after press deadlines.) Next, Triangle Lake comes to town on Thursday, Jan. 26.
Boys game starts at 5:30 p.m., followed by the girls at 7 p.m.