Glads fire blanks, bow out
Sweet Home comes to town and pulls off a 72-45 upset
A highly successful season had a bitter ending for Gladstone High School's boys basketball team.
After battling to a tie with second-ranked La Salle for first place in the Tri-Valley Conference standings and a fourth-in-the-state-ranking, Gladstone players and fans stood shellshocked and heartbroken Saturday night, as they got dealt a humbling defeat by 33rd-ranked Sweet Home, a team that entered Saturday's state play-in game with an 8-12 win-loss record.
The Huskies shot the lights out from downtown, hitting nine 3-pointers, while the Gladiators came out firing blanks, in a 72-45 losing effort.
The Huskies also made 24-of-35 free throws, while the Gladiators went 5-for-9 from the line.
It's a mystery to me, Gladstone coach Ted Yates said, in trying to explain why the Huskies were awarded so many free throws. We didn't shoot a free throw until the fourth quarter.
The Huskies built a 14-6 lead in the first quarter and they were up by seven points heading into the fourth quarter.
They came out smoking and hit their shots, said Yates. And their guards handled our press pretty well. They came out and put us on our heels and we struggled to make shots.
The Gladiators were a cool 17-of-60 (28 percent) from the field on the night.
We haven't been able to make baskets all year, Yates said, in frustration. Our kids are athletes, not just basketball players.
Yates noted that no fewer than 10 of his varsity basketball players play multiple sports.
Austin Galvin, the Gladiators' quarterback in football, scored 11 points against the Huskies, but he was the only Gladiator player to hit double digits in scoring.
Ryan Fowler was tough close to the basket, corralling 10 rebounds and scoring eight points.
Playmaker Handsome Smith had five assists.
The Huskies were led by 6-0 senior Grant Kauffman (20 points), 5-9 junior Hunter Jutte (19 points) and 5-9 senior Bryce Daniels (16 points), who combined to hit eight 3-point baskets.
It was the seventh win in a row after nine straight losses for Sweet Home, and the victory earned the Huskies a Saturday, March 8, state playoff game at top-ranked Philomath (19-3), with the winner advancing to the Class 4A State Tournament.
It was only the fourth loss in 23 games this season for Gladstone.
The Gladiators were on top of their defensive game in a Feb. 25 Tri-Valley Conference league game at North Marion, as they finished up the Tri-Valley Conference league boys basketball season with a 42-33 victory.
With the win, the Gladiators (19-3, 9-1) finished tied with La Salle (19-3, 9-1) in the Tri-Valley League standings. It was the ninth straight league win for the Gladiators.
North Marion scored only two field goals in the first half of the Feb. 25 game, and the Gladiators were up 23-10 at the halftime break. The halftime lead would have been even greater, except the Gladiators missed a late second-quarter field goal, and North Marion made two free throws just inside the halftime horn.
We held Kyle Williamson, one of the best point guards in the league, scoreless, Yates said. Handsome Smith and Trevor Browning did a great job defending him, with help in our zone from [Sean] Williams and [R.J.] Penn.
Smith and Ryun Gibson headed up the defensive effort, with eight steals between them.
The Gladiators held the Huskies to 29 percent shooting (11-of-37).
Smith (13 points, 3 assists) and Williams (9 points) led a balanced Gladiator offense. Williams was 4-of-5 from the field.
The score would have been more one-sided, except the Gladiators missed 8-of-15 free throws.