NEWPORT — It’s no secret, traveling hours on the road can have a negative impact on your team, and for the Newport boys basketball team, they faced that head on.
Traveling for three straight games took a toll on head coach Peter Ellingsen’s boys in a 59-34 loss to Sweet Home, but there isn’t time to sit back and think about the past.
Newport must find its form before it’s too late.
“I was hoping that we would be able to build upon Thursday's win against Sisters. Unfortunately, we did not come off of the bus prepared. We allowed Sweet Home to dictate the tempo,” Ellingsen said. “We weren't able to get into our offense, which caused a lot of frustration for our team.
“On the defensive end, we weren't able to stop Hunter Coulter. It felt like we were tired right from the start of the game. If we want to have a chance at making the state tournament, we need to improve on a lot of things.”
Five Cubs powered the offense, but only Bryan Tapia had more than 10 points. He finished with 18 points, including three long-distance shots.
Fredy Hidalgo and Kaden Bruns finished with three, Markus Everitt had six points and Luke Losier finished with four.
Friday’s loss didn’t end the Cubs season by any means.
There are still many important games left on Newport’s schedule, but the boys have to improve in order to qualify for the state tournament.
“The biggest area that we need to improve on is our team defense. If we can stunt and rotate properly, as well as gang rebound the basketball, we give ourselves a good chance at winning some games,” Ellingsen said on improvements he wants to see moving forward. “We also need to run our offense even when teams hard hedge us. We spend almost every day in practice going over the skill of slipping a screen and reversing the basketball to get ideal shot attempts, but we haven't been able to really show it in a game. I am confident that we will be able to execute more on the offensive end.”
The boys played two strong quarters but had two lackluster ones, as well.
In the first quarter, Newport only found the bottom of the net twice.
Tapia had a jump shot and hit a free throw, and Hidalgo had a single shot as well. It wasn’t an ideal start for the Cubs, but they improved as the game progressed.
The Cubs doubled their first-quarter output with 11 points in the second quarter. Tapia had five and continued to pace Newport, while Losier and Bruns were able to get a basket to go down, as well.
It was a struggle for the Cubs on the offensive end for a majority of the night.
However, in the third quarter, the Cubs showed the offensive spark that they are capable of bringing on a nightly basis. Tapia hit two threes, scoring seven in the third quarter, while Everitt connected on one, as well.
The Cubs were finding shots, but not hitting them at a high enough percentage to stay in the game.
But despite the up and down season so far, Ellingsen has found strong contributions from all of his players. It’s not just about scoring in basketball. Playing defense, working hard and playing team-oriented basketball is just as big as putting the ball through the net.
“There have been a couple of guys that haven't scored a lot this season, but have provided a major impact to the team,” Ellingsen said. “Losier has given us a nice offensive spark the last couple of games. Everitt has also stepped in and has shown great leadership qualities to the varsity team, even though he is just a freshman.
“I continue to look forward to the improvement of Quintin Travis and Weston Pettett. They both provide a nice spark for us when they crash the boards.”