TOLEDO — At the 2020 Toledo Holiday Tournament, the Waldport boys basketball team had its share of highs and lows, but overall, the Irish won their first game 56-55 over the Central Linn Cobras, lost 73-30 to Harrisburg and lost their final game in the consolation bracket 92-24 to the Toledo Boomers.
After dropping six of their last seven games to open the season, the Waldport boys basketball team held on late to defeat the Central Linn Cobras 56-55 in the first round of the Toledo Holiday Tournament, held at Toledo High school.
The Irish were paced by Zak Holsey and his 33 points. The Waldport guard was no match for his Cobra counterpart. Whether it was his strength with the ball, his sharpshooting from the outside or he even his clever shout to the ref that alerted the official to a turnover by the Cobras, Holesly was dominant.
“It’s been a while since we were involved in a close, down-to-the-wire game,” Waldport head coach Michelle Severson said. “I was just excited, and it was super fun to watch the kids have a good ending to the game and watch them strategize there as well.”
Severson did her part, as well, getting her substitutions spot on to keep her boys fresh and engaged, but also with her timeouts late to slow down the Cobras, allowing the Irish to catch their breath late in the game.
Levi Fruechte chipped in 11 points, six of his points coming in the fourth quarter. Fabio Galante scored late in the game when the Irish were looking for a bucket, James McCrumb had two points, as well, and Jason Tramp combined with Graham Jones for eight points.
The Irish open their league season soon, and Toledo’s tournament is just another chance for the Irish to stretch their legs and get into a groove before the most important part of the season comes to a head.
“Our goal is always to play the best that we can play,” Severson said. “We work hard in practice, and during the games we play to get better. That’s the best that I can ask of them.”
Thanks to Holsey, Waldport got off to a hot start. His work in the paint and on the wing allowed the Irish to attack the Cobra’s interior and perimeter defense. He scored 13 of the Irish’s 15 first-quarter points. He hit three long-distance shots and made it to the basket twice.
Fruechte was the only other Waldport scorer in the first quarter, but he saved his moment for the fourth and final quarter.
In the second, Waldport came out swinging, scoring 15 points for the second time in the game. Once again, Holsey had his way with the Cobras, for a total of eight points in the second quarter, but 21 points for the entire game. He led the game the entire morning.
Fruechte added a three-point shot in the second quarter, showing a glimpse into what the Waldport Irish can be — a team willing and capable of lighting up the scoreboard.
So far this season, the team has scored more than 50 points in four different games, including an 81-78 victory over Monroe back on Dec. 17.
But for Severson, who is coaching the varsity boys for the first time this season, defensively the Irish need to improve.
“Well, the focus is always defensively. We are just trying to really put together a full game still,” Severson said. “We have glimpses of greatness, but like a lot of teams we have areas where we struggle, but it’s all a process and we hope we can be victorious.”
In the second half, the Irish and Cobras were still locked in a tight affair. Neither team was going to give in, and it all came down to the final possessions of the game.
Waldport had Holsey, a deep bench and a renewed focus to get them to the finish line, but it was a team effort offensively that got the Irish over the hump.
Holsey could only muster four points, missing good looks he would’ve hit in the first half, but Fruechte, Tramp, Galante had his back as they each got onto the scoreboard in a wild finish.
Waldport found themselves down a point, with a minute left on the clock. No panic, no uneasy passes, only confidence reverberated from the Irish. They knew they were going to win the game, and they showed it.
Down a point 55-54, Holsey called his own number as he attacked the Cobras paint on the Irish final possession. They needed a good shot, they needed a made shot, but Holsey provided two foul shots.
He hit the first shot to tie the game at 55, then hit the second to give Waldport a 56-55 lead with only a fraction of a minute on the clock.
The Irish had to come up with more stops. They did just that, thwarting the Cobras twice, however, Central Linn nearly tied the game on a long-range shot with less than a second left.
Waldport took the victory 56-55.
In games two and three, the Irish were unable to recreate their magic from the opener against Central Linn.
The team was unable to find enough offense in a 73-30 loss to Harrisburg ,and against Toledo, the Irish were unable to match the Boomers firepower on the final day of the tournament, Saturday, Jan. 4.
Waldport now looks towards a promising 2A-4 Sunset Conference league season.