If Tuesday’s loss was going to sting, Friday night’s affair at Stewart W. Robertson Memorial Gymnasium is likely to fester like an in-grown toenail the rest of Roseburg High’s boys basketball season.
Visiting Willamette threw a box-and-one on the Indians and withstood a furious second-half comeback to swipe a 70-59 Southwest Conference victory.
“We had a scouting report, we had an idea of what they were going to run, and I guess it just didn’t flow the way that we wanted it to,” RHS senior wing Cody Johnson said.
Yes, this loss is going to hurt until the Indians figure out how to as one unit.
Johnson and junior guard Collin Warmouth — who the box-and-one was specifically designed to take out of the offense — combined for 29 points in the second half and 41 for the game.
“They ran three different defenses at us, and we have to adjust to each defense,” RHS coach Mike Pardon said. “They did some good things. I think we got the shots we wanted, but we made some adjustments in the second half that really helped us. That’s my fault, they did some things defensively that we were prepared for, we just didn’t adjust well to them.”
For much of the first half Warmouth, the second-leader scorer in the SWC, was a non-factor in the offense. When he gave the ball up, he didn’t get it back and Willamette used that to its advantage, outscoring RHS 21-12 in the second quarter to build a 34-26 lead at the intermission.
The Wolverines (7-8, 1-2 SWC) never trailed in the second half, although Roseburg did tie the game 57-57 with 3:25 remaining.
Two missed shots and the inability to grab a critical defensive rebound allowed Wil-Hi the opportunity to push back in front. Particularly damning for the Tribe was Dylan Reichenberger’s free throw shooting.
The Willamette senior was 2-for-7 at the line in SWC play entering Friday’s game. Against Roseburg, he swished 7 of 8 in the fourth quarter. That was the ball game down the stretch.
“It’s a closer game if we hit a couple shots right there,” Pardon said. “It’s a small window. And there were a couple of defensive rebounds that we needed and we didn’t get.”
Roseburg (9-5, 0-2) entered the league season looking to protect its home court and position itself for a run at the Class 6A state playoffs. The Indians have done anything but, letting a game with Sheldon slip away on Tuesday and then being outscored 13-2 down the stretch Friday to drop their second straight at home.
“These first two games have not gone the way that we planned,” Johnson said. “Hopefully things start clicking in our heads and we start playing better to win these games. It’s always tougher to win on the road, so we’re just going to have to work that much harder in practice to win these games on the road.”
“Everything is harder now, we didn’t win,” Pardon said. “What are you going to do? Try to get better. That’s what athletics is about. We’re going to try to get better and work harder and get ready for our game with South Medford on Tuesday.”
Pardon also expects to see that box-and-one defense again and again and again. While nonleague foes didn’t use it, it’s an obvious ploy for every SWC squad to throw at the Tribe.
“We’re going to see that,” Pardon said. “We’re going to see that the rest of the league season. People haven’t done that and it’s hard to go against unless you’re going against it. We have to find what adjustments work for us and I think we found those in the second half.”
One of the biggest adjustments was getting the ball into Warmouth’s hands over and over and over again on each possession. With him drawing three defenders, he was able to find Johnson for baseline treys that the senior consistently stuck.
“It’s been a while since I’ve shot the ball well and I decided to take it into my own hands and they were leaving me open, shoot it to make it,” Johnson said.
Warmouth finished with 22 points, just over his season average, while Johnson added 19. No one else had more than seven points. Kaden Seely grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
“He did a good job. When you read it and you get the ball to the right people and they knock down the shots — and he hit them — that’s the biggest thing right there,” Pardon said. “We just have to keep getting better and getting more production from other people.”
Roseburg will host South Medford (5-9, 1-2) on Tuesday, then plays at league favorites North Medford and South Eugene in its next two contests before finishing the first half of league play by hosting Grants Pass.
WILLAMETTE (70) — Luke Burke 6 2-4 15, Skeele 4 2-2 13, Cross 2 4-4 9, Bridge-Eiler 3 1-2 7, J. Smith 1 0-0 2, L. Smith 1 0-0 2, Puckett 0 0-0 0, Curtis 2 3-4 8, Culver 1 0-0 2, Reichenberger 1 7-8 9, Arnolds 1 0-0 3. Totals 22 19-24 70.
ROSEBURG (59) — Collin Warmouth 7 7-8 22, Crince 1 4-4 7, Johnson 7 0-0 19, Seely 0 0-0 0, Lake 1 0-0 3, Medak 0 0-0 0, Stone 1 1-3 3, Carson 2 0-0 5. Totals 19 12-15 59.
Willamette 13 21 14 22 — 70
Roseburg 14 12 17 16 — 59
3-Point Goals — Will. 7 (Skeele 3, Cross, Burke, Curtis, Arnold), Rose. 9 (Crince, Johnson 5, Warmouth, Lake, Ellis). Total Fouls — Will. 18, Rose. 19. Fouled Out — None. Technicals — None.
JV Score — Willamette 60-39.