CORVALLIS — The No. 10 Pendleton Buckaroos met a juggernaut in the OSAA Class 5A boys basketball quarterfinals Wednesday and fell 70-40 to No. 2 Wilsonville at Gill Coliseum.
Wilsonville, the Northwest Oregon Conference champion and Class 5A’s most prolific offensive team, did work on both ends of the floor to take a 23-4 lead after the first quarter, and after that it was pretty much over.
“Credit to Wilsonville, they are probably the best coached team in 5A, or even the state of Oregon,” Bucks coach Zach Dong said. “It’s hard to simulate their defense in practice and be ready for that, but there’s nothing like it when you get out there.”
Pendleton’s high-scoring senior guard Tyler Newsom finished with a game-high 21 points, but none of them came easy. Wilsonville sent defender after defender at him on the perimeter and in the paint and held him in check for the better part of the game.
“As Ty goes, we go. He’s our engine,” Dong said. “Wilsonville did a good job on him.”
Newsom shot 6-for-14 from the field and 7-for-9 from the foul line, and was the only Buck in double figures. Kason Broncheau finished with six points, and Tanner Sweek pulled down seven rebounds.
Pendleton outscored Wilsonville 18-15 in the fourth quarter, but by then the damage had been done. Wilsonville’s swarming man-to-man defense held the Bucks to 3-of-19 shooting in the first half and 13-for-41 for the game. Wilsonville shot 47 percent from the field and outrebounded Pendleton 38-19, 23-12 on the defensive glass.
Wilsonville had four players score in double figures, led by forward Keegan Shivers’ 14. Dakota Reber had 10 points and 12 rebounds and Jack Roche, the NWOC player of the year, finished with 13.
The loss drops the Bucks into Thursday’s consolation round game against No. 6 Crater. Dong said he hasn’t seen a lot of the Comets, only the little bit the coaching staff watched during their 57-39 loss to No. 3 Silverton in another quarterfinal game, but it’s obvious who sticks out — 6-foot-10 sophomore center Nate Bittle.
“Aside from the big guy (Bittle), I think we match up pretty well with them,” Dong said. “The big kid is tough, so we’re going to have to figure out what to do with him and go from there.”
After any big loss, coming back and playing the next day isn’t easy. Dong took responsibility for the loss, and the postgame talk was all about getting back up off the mat.
“I didn’t have them prepared. I take responsibility for that,” Dong said. “After you get knocked down, you have two choices from there. Are you going to lay down and let them beat you up, or stand up and fight back? That was the message. We’ve got one in the morning, and it’s a winnable game for us.”
Pendleton takes on Crater at 10:45 a.m., and the game will be broadcast on the OSAA Radio Network.