SUTHERLIN — The Sutherlin boys basketball team capped off a successful opening weekend of play on Saturday, beating South Umpqua 67-31 at the Dog Pound to capture the fourth annual Bill Spelgatti Invitational.
The Bulldogs (3-0), who dropped down from Class 4A to 3A this year, won their three games in the tournament by a combined 76 points.
“We’re more athletic this year and have more guys who are willing to get after it, dive after a ball and stuff,” junior wing Mason Gill said. “We’re hoping to be one of the better defensive teams in the state — that’s our goal.”
J.R. Bailey, a 6-foot-7 senior post, led Sutherlin with a career-high 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Payton Hope chipped in 13 points, sophomore Josh Davis contributed 11 points and seven rebounds, and Gill scored nine points.
Jake Merrifield made three assists in the victory.
“I was very happy (with the weekend),” Sutherlin coach Willis New said. “Tonight, at times, no, I wasn’t happy. That’s more about our intensity level and trying to keep it at a high level. Overall, we did a nice job. There were spots where we played extremely well ... those are things we want to take away and build on.”
The Lancers (0-3) hung around until Sutherlin scored 18 unanswered points to surge ahead 33-11 late in the second quarter.
South Umpqua didn’t fold, though, opening the third period with eight straight points to cut the deficit to 11. That prompted New to call a timeout and replace his starters with the second group.
“It was a wake-up call,” Gill admitted. “We weren’t executing well.”
“South Umpqua came to battle,” New said. “They did a nice job, they came running back at us. I was a little irritated with our first group and so the second group went in and they picked up and got after it.”
The Bulldogs built their advantage back up to 20 by the end of the quarter and outscored the Lancers 23-7 over the last eight minutes.
“They’re incredibly well-coached and they’re deep,” S.U. coach Brett Nixon said. “Coach New has got quite an arsenal of weapons there. They’ll definitely do damage (in the Far West League).”
New was able to play his reserves extensively in the contest. In addition to Davis, sophomore Kolbi Stinnett — the son of former Sutherlin High standout and ex-Sutherlin and Roseburg High head coach Craig Stinnett — had eight points.
“I thought (our reserves) went out and did a great job,” New said. “With South Umpqua working hard and playing hard, that was a nice opportunity for them to get some experience.”
Azpyn Roberts scored nine points for the Lancers before fouling out. Zack Wilson had eight points and Matt Lee six.
“I thought we made some progress,” Nixon said. “Especially in the first two games, there were a lot of problems we needed to work on. We started putting it together against Sutherlin, playing some good defense and executing our offense.
“The score may not reflect what I wanted, but this definitely showed me we can do some good things.”
The Lancers lost Josh Deister to an ankle injury during the contest.
SOUTH UMPQUA (31) — Azpyn Roberts 9, Z. Wilson 8, Lee 6, E. Wilson 3, Thatcher 2, Lamm 2, Deister 1, Jaynes, Chung. Totals 10 5-13 31.
SUTHERLIN (67) — J.R. Bailey 15, Hope 13, Davis 11, Gill 9, Stinnett 8, Carr 4, Merrifield 4, Bodine 3, Horn, Marlin. Totals 22 17-24 67.
S. Umpqua 9 5 10 7 —31
Sutherlin 15 18 11 23 —67
3-Point Goals — S.U. 6 (Z. Wilson 2, Lee 2, Roberts 1, E. Wilson 1), Suth. 6 (Hope 2, Stinnett 2, Gill 1, Bodine 1). Total Fouls — S.U. 18, Suth. 16. Fouled Out — Roberts.
JV Score — Sutherlin 68, South Umpqua 11.