PENDLETON — Coming off of a humbling weekend trip at the Les Schwab Hoopfest Tournament in Bend, the Pendleton boys returned to Warberg Court on Tuesday looking to get back to Buckaroo basketball and snap its three-game losing skid.
Things started sluggishly for the Buckaroos against the Dallas Dragons, as Pendleton missed its first four shots and turned the ball over six times in the first two minutes of the game. It resulted in coach Kyle Tedder burning an early timeout to try and jolt is team, where he could be heard yelling ‘Wake up!’ in the huddle.
The speech worked for the most part and the Buckaroos woke up to earn a 57-47 victory over the Dragons, even though the overall performance wasn’t pretty.
“Not the prettiest of wins,” Tedder joked after the game. “When you turn the ball over 26 times you’re lucky to be in any game, so we’ll take the win definitely. Now, we’re kind of at a turning point here where we have some time in between games to work and improve in some areas.”
On paper, the Dragons (1-8) seemed like the perfect team to help get the Buckaroos (6-6) back on track. The Dragons came into Warberg Court 11 days since its last game, a 72-52 loss to Hermiston on Dec. 22, and had just one win with seven losses. And even though Pendleton dominated the Dragons in points, the Buckaroos could never seem to keep the Dragons away.
Late in the second quarter, Pendleton built up its lead to 13 points and led by 10 at halftime. But just one minute in, the lead was down to five points after two quick baskets by the Dragons.
Later in the fourth Pendleton again built up its lead to 16 points, at 46-30, but the Dragons again made a late charge and cut the deficit to eight with 20 seconds left.
“We had a lot of opportunities to put them away and didn’t,” Tedder said. “That’s where we want to get to, being able to put teams away when we have them on the ropes. But we’ll get there, I’m confident in that.”
Tyler Newsom led the Buckaroos with 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Dakota Sams chipped in 11 points. Ryan Russell led the team with 13 rebounds to go with five points. While the turnover bug plagued Pendleton’s offense for most of the game, the Bucks were very efficient shooting the ball, especially in the paint, once they kept control. Pendleton shot 49 percent as a team, but shot 54 percent inside the 3-point line with 36 of its 57 points coming in the paint.
“Any time we can get numbers like that we’ll be pretty good,” Tedder said. “We haven’t been shooting the ball real well from the perimeter, so getting inside is a big focus right now.”
Now Pendleton plays just two games over the next 14 days, giving the team a lot of time to fine-tune some things for its final non-league games against Baker and La Grande before starting its title defense in the Columbia River Conference.
“As long as we can commit to the things that will make us better, we’ll be fine,” Tedder said, “it’ll just take a little bit of time.”
DHS 5 12 13 17 — 47
PHS 15 13 18 11 — 57
DALLAS — E. Courtney 21, C. Weisensse 12, J. Stewart 6, B. Hicks 3, T. Dimick 2, C. Kiner 2, J. Fennell 1.
PENDLETON — T. Newsom 19, D. Sams 11, S. Jerome 6, D. Jackson 6, R. Russell 5, R. Scott 4, G. Lee 3, W. Camp 2, K. Broncheau 1, M. Gallegos.
3-pointers — DHS 6, PHS 4. Free throws — DHS 7-13, PHS 9-17. Fouls — DHS 16, PHS 12.
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