NORTH BEND — Dayton retired to the bakery at halftime Thursday night looking for the half-loaf it needed to survive its quarterfinal against Clatskanie in the OSAA / OnPoint Community Credit Union 3A boys basketball tournament.
Then the Pirates came back and bashed the Tigers over the head with it for a decisive 52-35 victory.
The third-seeded Pirates sleepwalked through the first half and were lucky to come away with a 19-18 lead. Coach Ron Hop had seen the phenomenon before.
“We played two really good games before this,” he said. “So we had some expectations and set the bar pretty high.
“Sometimes that first game doesn’t go the way you like to. We’ve got four guys who were here last year, but we also have four who haven’t.”
The bakery, in this case, was the downstairs locker room at North Bend High School. Hop didn’t need to remind the Pirates what they needed to do.
“Everyone agreed that we needed to step it up,” said Braeden Nowlin, the 5-foot-9 trigger man at point guard. “We weren’t getting into our lanes, we weren’t rebounding and running, we weren’t doing much right.”
Within the first three minutes of the third quarter, the Pirates weren’t doing much wrong.
The Tigers got a jumper from Jonathan Moravec to close to within 25-22 of the Pirates; then Dayton downshifted and took off.
It was pretty to watch. Nowlin threw a perfectly timed half-court pass on the break to Jaysen Howard, who caught it in the air, flipped the layup in and got the foul for the three-point play.
Nowlin sneaked over to the three-point line on an overload and dropped a wide-open bomb. Payton Garrison slipped inside the Tiger zone at just the right time for a wide-open jumper.
Finally, Howard got loose at the end of a break, and with one second left in the period, threw it downward. The slam also completed an 11-4 run, gave the Pirates an 11-point lead and set a pace the Tigers couldn’t match.
“That first half, we weren’t doing the things we’re used to doing,” he said. “Coming to the ball, throwing it away. I want the kids to play fast, but they know they’re supposed to play smart, too.”
Howard’s tip-in with 4:47 left in the game gave the Pirates (23-5) their biggest lead at 44-28.
Much of what the Pirates did in the second half was based on the one physical characteristic that separates them from a lot of teams — speed. When Dayton hit the open court, the Tigers just couldn’t keep up.
It was a matter of instinct, not design.
“We’re not thinking about anything,” Nowlin said. “We’re just running.”
If there’s one thing the Pirates did consistently better throughout the game was defense. Clatskanie’s pet sets just didn’t work against the Dayton zone.
“Any time you hold a team that good to, what, 35 points,” Hop said, “you’ve played a good defensive game.”
Nowlin led the Pirates with 14 points, while Lukas Findley and Howard had 13 each. Cooper Blodgett was the only double-figure scorer for the Tigers (14-9) with 13.
De La Salle North Catholic 58, Sutherlin 45: The defending champion Knights (24-4) scored the last 11 points of the first quarter, then did it with defense the rest of the way.
The Knights held the Bulldogs to four points in the first quarter, 13 points in the first half, and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Sutherlin shot just 35.6 from the floor
Junior guard George Sadi launched 20 shots, hit 10 of them, and finished with 27 points to lead both teams. Kadeem Nelson added 17 to the cause. J.R. Bailey and Mason Gill had 15 point each for the Bulldogs (21-7).
Pleasant Hill 52, Nyssa 30: The fourth-seeded Billies (22-50) scored 12 of the first 15 points of the game, held the Bulldogs to single digits in each of the first three quarters and rolled into the semifinals.
Guard Max Smith put on a show for Pleasant Hill with 19 points and six assists. Logan Pruitt had a double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds. Stephen Parmenter added 14.
Wyatt Jensen was the only double-figure scorer for the Bulldogs (18-9) with 10.
Amity 60, Santiam Christian 59: The 10th-seeded Warriors built a 34-19 lead at the half, blew most of it in the third quarter, then the rest of it in the fourth quarter.
But they broke away from a 52-52 tie on a three-pointer by Tyler Parr with 1:59 left in the game and hung on for the upset win over the second-seeded Eagles
Amity led 57-54 when Josh Wart blocked a short Zeke Gilbert shot with 1:05 left, then two Keenan Graham free throws with 8.5 seconds left gave Amity (18-8) an insurmountable 60-56 lead.
Parr led all scorers with 25 points for Amity. West Streeter added 11 while Michael Duncan and Wart had 10 each. Ben Galceran led the Eagles (23-4) with 15 points.