by Jethro Swain
Last Tuesday, January 12, was one of, if not, the most exciting Boys Varsity games that I’ve been to since my freshman year.
Since the 2013-14 season of Hiawatha, Zach, Ryan, and Harrison’s senior year, it’s safe to say the attendance at both Girls and Guys basketball games has been on the decline. Sometimes as low as 3 or 4 fans have showed up to games, and the cheering and heckling is minimal. However, Tuesday was a different atmosphere than normal.
There were about 15 student fans, with Simon M. and Cal S. leading the charge of a student section that was a ruckus for Portland Adventist. The fans even discovered an insurgent in former member of the OES Class of 2017 Wil J. IV. who was secretly believed to be rooting for PA because his cousin was on the team.
As a response the student section cheered even louder to defeat the PA crowd and it’s bush league tactics, like sending in Wil to infiltrate our fandom.
The OES boys started the game down 18-2 after 4 minutes, with PA hitting every one of their shots, but rallied to make it a game against the second best team in the league. Emerson L. was hitting his silky mid-range jumper, Ian, “E-Money-Bagz” H. was draining 3’s, Zack H. had three rebounds in one possession, and Alex “The Swedish Hammer” O. rocked the headband and made all of his lay-ups.
The game was tied at the end of the third quarter and the crowd was so loud that Sully had to come over and tell us to monitor our cheers because the PA players were starting to break down and cry, particularly their star player #21 Trent T. Portland Adventist pulled away in the fourth and won the game by 10, hitting every shot just like they had started the game.
With that loss the Boys Varsity team falls to 2-5 in league play, and 7th place in the standings. If the season were to end now they wouldn’t make league playoffs, which would be disappointing for the whole team because 6 out of the total 9 teams have a chance, in the league playoffs, to make the state tournament.
I talked to Emerson and Alex about their season so far, and it was clear they believed the team wasn’t living up to their potential. Emerson told me that “this team is really strong this year. We have a good backcourt and a good starting five and I really feel that if we play well we can beat a lot of good teams.”
One game that stood out to them was the loss to Clatskanie a few weeks ago. “You usually can’t blame the refs for the outcome a game, but in this case you can,” said Alex. OES was up 1 with a minute left, and they had a foul to give. Zack fouled one of the Clatskanie players, and was called for an intentional foul, which meant that Clatskanie got two free throws and the ball back. The game played out and OES lost because of the insane call.
The loss was big for the team because Clatskanie is one place ahead of them in the league standings, and OES would be sitting in 6th place if they had won that game.
“I think we have a good chance at making a run, we’re shooting for a high seed, maybe a four, by the time league playoffs come around and then we’ll knock off some big teams and take it all the way,” Emerson told me on the team’s goals.
I asked Alex about Emerson as a player and whether first team all league was within reach for Emerson, “It’s definitely a possibility, there’s a lot of good players in the league but Emerson has a good chance.” First team all league would be a large honor in a league that has as many good players as the Lewis and Clark league does.
“The fans last Tuesday were rowdy and we really need a strong fanbase like that if we want to make a title run. The fans energized us and if we could get a turnout like that every night that would be huge,” said Emerson.
It’s clear that the team has high expectations, and as a student body, we need to do all we can to support them and help them reach their goal of making the state tournament. With a strong turnout of fans in the student section the team can compete with the best teams in the league.
THE NEXT HOME GAME IS NEXT THURSDAY THE 21ST AGAINST CLATSKANIE AT THE GYM, GET WARMED UP WITH A JV GAME AND THEN EVERYONE BE THERE TO SUPPORT GIRLS AT 6:00 AND GUYS AT 7:30 IN WHAT WILL BE TWO HUGE GAMES FOR BOTH TEAMS. IT’S WORTH COMING I GUARANTEE YOU’LL HAVE A GOOD TIME, I’LL BE THERE AND SO WILL BIG D, SIMON, AND CAL PROBABLY.