The Bucks’ boys basketball team rang in the new season with an easy 63-35 nonleague victory over the visiting Baker Bulldogs on Wednesday night.
Guard Tyler Newsom led the team in scoring with 13 points. Guards Dakota Sams and Cam Sandford contributed 10 and 9 points, respectively.
“We ran our offense well,” said Bucks head coach Zach Dong. “We could’ve cleaned up our defense more, but we’re running a new system, and they’re still unsure.”
Pendleton was leading 4-2 with 5:36 left in the first quarter when Baker guard Kaden Sand hit back-to-back 3-pointers to pull his team ahead, 8-4. With the score later tied at 10-10, Newsom scored on a dunk that gave his team a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
But the 6-foot, 4-inch Newsom also got into foul trouble and sat out for the meat of the game.
“It was tough with Tyler in trouble,” Sandford said. “But we’re a solid team all-around.”
The Bucks scored 17 points in the second quarter, including a three-pointer from Sandford and four consecutive points from point guard Tanner Sweek. Pendleton led 33-20 at the half.
The Bucks scored 14 points in the third quarter, and only allowed 6. In the fourth quarter, Sandford opened play with another 3-pointer.
“I’m undersized, so it’s hard for me to get into the paint. I rely on those 3-pointers,” said the 5-foot, 8-inch Sandford, who is the Bucks’ shortest player.
The Bucks scored 16 more points in the fourth quarter, while Baker managed 9. Kaden Sand, a 6-foot, 4-inch guard, was Baker’s best offensive weapon, leading the team with 18 points.
Dong says he’s proud of his team, despite practices being a “roller coaster” so far.
“Some days, we’re great, and the others, we’re in a slump,” he said. “But I feel like we’ll be competitive for our conference.”
This year, Pendleton enters the 5A Intermountain Conference, after finishing their Columbia River Conference run last year with a playoff loss to Thurston. Newsom was named the 2017-18 CRC Player of the Year.
“He’s a big, long athletic guard who can create matchup problems with his ability to go by you or shoot over you,” Dong said. “Our goal is a conference championship, and to make it to state. But right now, I’m just enjoying our first win.”
Pendleton will compete at the Wilsonville tournament on Friday.